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Legacies Project Oral History: David Northcross

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 9:56am

When: 2020

David Northcross was born in 1937 and grew up in north central Detroit. His grandfather David C. Northcross Sr. established the first Black-owned hospital in Detroit, Mercy General Hospital, in 1917. His grandmother, father, and aunt also worked at the hospital. Interested in pursuing a different path, David Northcross graduated from Michigan State University and joined the Marine Corps. He was one of three or four other Black officers at Camp Pendleton in California. After a few years, he and his wife Shirley moved back to Detroit and Northcross started his lifelong career as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

David Northcross was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:08.23] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Doing very good, very well.
  • [00:00:12.28] SPEAKER 1: Now we-- can we be-- now we can begin the first part of our interview beginning with some of the things you can recall about their family history. We will start with your family name and history. By this, we mean any story about your last or family name or family tradition in choosing first or middle name.
  • [00:00:38.27] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Say that again.
  • [00:00:40.82] SPEAKER 1: Now we can begin the first part of our interview beginning with some of the names you can recall about your family history. We will start with family name history. By this, we mean any story about your last or family name or family tradition in choosing first or middle names. Do you know any stories about their family name?
  • [00:01:08.12] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My family name is Northcross, and my grandfather was from Alabama. And they lived in Alabama, and maybe would have stayed there, but it became a problem because it was not a healthy place for blacks, and he was a physician, and he decided that maybe he would be better off leaving the South and coming north.
  • [00:01:52.37] And so they did, and he opened a hospital in Detroit, and actually, it was one of the first hospitals-- black-owned hospitals or black-established hospitals possibly in the whole country-- I don't know about that, but certainly it was for Detroit. It was the first black-owned, black-run hospital in Detroit. It was called Mercy General Hospital.
  • [00:02:25.57] SPEAKER 1: Are there--
  • [00:02:27.20] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Do you want me to go on or just--
  • [00:02:29.24] SPEAKER 1: You can go ahead.
  • [00:02:32.03] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, he also was a businessman, my grandfather, and he started a business-- a hotel business, ran a hotel in the-- just off of the downtown part of Detroit. And unfortunately, he ran into an occasion where one of the people that stayed in his hotel hid in the hotel and wouldn't pay his bill, and my grandfather went over there to try to collect the bill and was stabbed by the guy and killed. And unfortunately, this was a very unfortunate circumstance.
  • [00:03:28.82] My grandmother at that-- after that occurred, my grandmother decided that she would go back to medical school. And she did, she went back to medical school and she took medicine and became a physician also, and ran the hospital since my grandfather was-- had been killed. My dad decided to be a physician also, and he wound up going to medical school also.
  • [00:04:18.86] SPEAKER 1: Are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:04:21.80] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Naming?
  • [00:04:22.91] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:04:25.61] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yes. Well, my grandfather and my father and myself had the name David Northcross, and we had the middle name of Carneen, which is an unusual name that you don't hear often or maybe you don't hear it being used at all, but it's C-A-R-N-E-E-N, Carneen. And like I said, my grandfather, that was his middle name, my dad's middle name, and mine.
  • [00:05:07.70] SPEAKER 1: What stories have come down to you about your parents and grandparents, more distant ancestors-- or more distant ancestors?
  • [00:05:19.66] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Actually, I don't recall very many stories about the family before my grandfather. Everything seemed to start with my grandfather living in Alabama, deciding that that was not a good place to live, and coming to Michigan. So I don't know of anybody in the family before him, really. My grandmother went on to become a physician, and my dad. I had-- my uncle was a businessman. That's my dad's brother.
  • [00:06:11.42] My dad's sister worked in the hospital. She worked in-- Mercy General was the name of the hospital. And so she did things around the hospital to help-- business things around the hospital, like pay the employees and things like that.
  • [00:06:40.98] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any courtship stories? How did your parents, grandparents, or other relatives come to meet and marry?
  • [00:06:51.36] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I really don't know of any stories about how my grandfather might have met or my or my father-- now my father was married to my mother and decided to divorce. And so they split up. My dad met my stepmother, whose name was Ophelia, and she was from-- also from Alabama, although not at the same time my grandfather was. And-- but I don't know of how he met my mother or how he met Ophelia Burnette, who was my stepmother.
  • [00:07:50.43] SPEAKER 1: Did your family ever migrate to the United States?
  • [00:07:58.36] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I suppose at some point they did. I presume they did it as they were sent as slaves, I presume, but I don't know how it took place. Like I said, I just-- everything started with my grandfather, and no one-- or maybe one of my sisters has been able to research or-- research the periods prior to my grandfather, but if they have, then nobody's told me about it.
  • [00:08:48.92] SPEAKER 1: The summer camp at the YMCA was made possible in part by a great grant from the foundation that is interested in people's relationships to natural bodies of water, such as ocean, lakes, rivers, and streams. So throughout our interview, I will be asking some questions about how you have interacted with water at each stage of your life. Since right now we are talking about your family history, I will ask you about what you know about how many of your family or ancestors related to water.
  • [00:09:28.57] Does your parents or grandparents or anyone in your family history make a living working in water?
  • [00:09:40.60] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't believe-- like I said, I don't go back any further than my grandfather and he was a physician. And so I don't know of any family member that was involved with water. Now our family had an involvement with water. My grandmother decided to buy a farm, and on the farm was a large lake. And so we all interacted with the lake by swimming, we became capable swimmers, and we had horses and things like that.
  • [00:10:37.81] So we did have an involvement with water, but it was from the standpoint of, well, we all swam, everybody swam and enjoyed the water. And I fish now, I like to fish, enjoy fishing. So that's a water involvement. I don't know if that answers the question exactly.
  • [00:11:05.38] SPEAKER 1: That answers the question just fine.
  • [00:11:07.43] DAVID NORTHCROSS: OK.
  • [00:11:08.81] SPEAKER 1: Did anyone in your family have stories involving water that were handed down to you-- that were handed down to you?
  • [00:11:16.92] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No. Not that-- not that I recall.
  • [00:11:29.55] SPEAKER 1: That completes the section of questions about your family history. Thank you. This part of the interview is from your childhood up until you began attending school. Even if these questions jog memories about other times in your life, please only respond with memories from this earliest part of your life.
  • [00:12:00.09] DAVID NORTHCROSS: OK. I'll try.
  • [00:12:03.28] SPEAKER 1: OK. Where did she grow up and what are you strongest-- what is your strongest memory of that place?
  • [00:12:14.24] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Like for example, what time period-- I mean, like what age period are you looking for?
  • [00:12:24.56] SPEAKER 1: Possibly in your younger years.
  • [00:12:27.86] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Under 10 years old or--
  • [00:12:29.60] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:12:33.06] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I-- my mother and dad separated and divorced, and I lived with my mother for awhile. For some reason I don't know what may have caused it, but she decided that maybe we would be better off with my grandparents-- her mother and her stepfather.
  • [00:13:06.11] And so my early years were basically raised by my grandmother and my grandfather, and my mother on occasion, but I didn't always see her, but I saw sometimes but not all the time.
  • [00:13:29.00] SPEAKER 1: Did you ever play any sports when you were that age?
  • [00:13:36.71] DAVID NORTHCROSS: In those years, I think everybody played sports to some extent. I lived down the street from-- I had two friends, Don and Clark and Frank C. Brooks, who still lives in Detroit. And we were always active doing something and doing some sporting event. We played baseball.
  • [00:14:13.38] Now, when you go past many ball fields, there's nobody out there playing baseball, that you see an empty field. Well, when I came up, every field was used, and it was-- there was always a lot of kids out there on the field doing things, playing ball or doing some activity, some physical activity.
  • [00:14:48.35] And as I got a little bit older, one of the things we did was we played on our front lawn of the school, we played football. And that probably was an influence that caused me to play football in high school and also to play football in college.
  • [00:15:13.63] SPEAKER 1: How did your family come to live here?
  • [00:15:17.73] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Oh, we lived in the north central part of Detroit. A little bit-- a couple-- a block or two off of-- off of Woodward Avenue. It was, at that time, a middle class type of environment. I mean, we had food and we had some money, I guess, but not a lot of money or-- but we were never hungry. So I don't know if I answered the question.
  • [00:16:04.74] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:16:05.71] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yeah, OK.
  • [00:16:08.13] SPEAKER 1: What was your house like?
  • [00:16:10.89] DAVID NORTHCROSS: We lived in a two-family flat. We had an upstairs neighbor. We had two bedrooms. And I had friends, oh, next door down the street. And so that was-- here again, I'm not sure I am answering the question correctly.
  • [00:16:44.72] SPEAKER 1: Feel comfortable to answer however you feel like.
  • [00:16:47.44] DAVID NORTHCROSS: OK. How-- would just repeat the question?
  • [00:16:51.09] SPEAKER 1: What was your house like?
  • [00:16:53.91] DAVID NORTHCROSS: It was a two-family flat, and it was in a middle class neighborhood. Most people were middle class. I mean, I don't think that many people were hungry or that type of thing, so most people had-- but there was probably-- oh, down the street there was a couple of doctors who were well-off, but most of the people on the block were middle class types of people.
  • [00:17:29.82] SPEAKER 1: How many people lived in the house with you when you were growing up, and what was their relationship to you?
  • [00:17:38.61] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I had-- I have a brother who is five years younger than myself, and he lived with me. I spent-- as I mentioned, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and grandfather, and so that would be four. So it was basically four people in the house most of the time.
  • [00:18:08.52] SPEAKER 1: What language or what languages were spoken in or around your household?
  • [00:18:15.70] DAVID NORTHCROSS: English. And nothing, no other language or parts of any other language.
  • [00:18:33.37] SPEAKER 1: What was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:18:38.50] DAVID NORTHCROSS: How do you mean what were they like?
  • [00:18:41.60] SPEAKER 1: What was their characteristic?
  • [00:18:46.42] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My grandfather worked at one of the Ford plants. My grandmother-- actually, one of the things that she did was to play the numbers all the time, and actually, she-- there was a time when she did what they call "pickup," if you might have known what that meant. But it meant that you had clients, and you would go around and you would pick up their money and you would take it back and give it to somebody higher than you.
  • [00:19:24.63] And so she did that. And so she had a gambling instinct to hit the number or to make some quick money with numbers. And maybe that's why I almost never-- or very rarely did I have any inclination to gamble. Maybe because of my relationship with my grandmother and grandfather who gambled frequently. And I never did. Well, I can't say I never did, but I frequently did not have any interest in gambling. Unless you want to say that I chose a field where there was risk, and that is the financial field, stocks and bonds. And there's risk in stocks and bonds and those kinds of things. And so I might say that I didn't have any interest in gambling, but maybe I had more than I realize because there is gambling in what I did for a living.
  • [00:20:51.31] SPEAKER 1: What sort of work did your father do and mother do?
  • [00:20:57.46] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My mother was a nurse. She worked for a doctor. She married the doctor and worked for him. My dad was a physician, and let's see, who else was-- my grandmother, like I said, she picked up numbers. And let's see, who else was involved? My uncle was a businessman. He helped run some of the family businesses, like my grandfather, I may have mentioned-- or maybe I didn't mention, but my grandfather had started a hotel in addition to his hospital, he ran a hospital, he ran a hotel. And my uncle helped run these businesses. And my dad worked in these businesses as a physician.
  • [00:22:11.30] SPEAKER 1: What is your earliest memory?
  • [00:22:19.09] DAVID NORTHCROSS: What was my earliest memory? I would say that my earliest memory would be playing with Donnie and Junior who lived down the street. Across the street was the Gasgo family and played with them. Frank C. Brooks lived a few houses down the street. And so I think that I recall playing with these kids frequently. And then-- and this would be in the age of five, six, seven years old, eight to nine years old.
  • [00:23:06.65] SPEAKER 1: Since then, have you still interact with these people?
  • [00:23:10.60] DAVID NORTHCROSS: That's a good question. Donnie and Junior moved and I haven't seen them in years and years. Frank C. Brooks lives in Detroit as a physician, as a doctor, and I see Frank frequent-- not frequently, but to some extent, I see him frequently. And let's see, who else? Well, that's pretty much it.
  • [00:23:47.46] SPEAKER 1: Was a typical day like for you in your preschool years?
  • [00:24:01.17] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't remember having to work a lot or do a lot of housework or do a lot of work. But as a kid, maybe five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years old, I remember playing games and playing sports. This is what we did with most of our time.
  • [00:24:26.76] SPEAKER 1: What did you do for fun?
  • [00:24:29.73] DAVID NORTHCROSS: For fun? Pretty much the same thing. Like I said, we played sports, and we played games, and we played Cowboys and Indians and things like that. And pretty much-- that was pretty much it. I don't recall other things as much.
  • [00:25:01.11] SPEAKER 1: Did you have a favorite? If so, who made it in?
  • [00:25:09.71] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I didn't quite understand the question.
  • [00:25:12.50] SPEAKER 1: Did you have a favorite item such as a toy, game, book or magazine, or other entertainment? If so, what was it or who made it?
  • [00:25:25.19] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't think so, but I-- I mean, I had-- for Christmas I would receive a lot of toys. I can remember having a toy train and things like that. But I don't remember any special type toy or special type thing that I had an involvement with.
  • [00:25:58.16] SPEAKER 1: Now was there anything special in the house that you lived in, such as items that your mother and father had?
  • [00:26:07.31] DAVID NORTHCROSS: We received-- or bought a television fairly early. In fact, it was-- I can remember as a kid that somewhere in my early years, the television came out. And it became popular for families as soon as they could afford it, everybody had a television.
  • [00:26:37.13] We had a Zenith television. We got one fairly early-- I mean, I think there were some other families that might have had one a little sooner than we did, but we bought a Zenith. And it had a round screen, which was a little bit unusual, because most of the screens were oblong. But we had a round screen, a Zenith TV. And of course, it at that time, you started to spend more and more time watching TV obviously. Yeah.
  • [00:27:19.87] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from your earlier childhood years?
  • [00:27:30.46] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yeah, I had one thing that was fairly big in my life. Because my-- I had to two parts in my family. One part of my family was not wealthy at all and very-- I don't want to use-- I don't know if the correct word is ordinary, but they were just average type families. And then I had the other part of my family where my dad was a physician, so he was fairly well off. My grandfather had been a physician, my grandmother was a physician, so they were all fairly well off.
  • [00:28:18.98] And they bought a farm. And the farm was about 50 miles from Detroit. So you could get there-- it was an open county, and you could get there, it took about 50 minutes or maybe a little less than an hour to get there. So we went there all the time. So I spent a lot of time at our family farm, which is unusual because most people don't have a farm. And so I was very fortunate to have a farm, and I would spend all my summers with my grandmother at the farm.
  • [00:29:03.44] And I would fish, I would swim, and do all types of things that you might do on a farm. We had horses. I would-- I could frequently ride horses and things like that. So-- it was-- that part of my life was kind of unusually good from the standpoint of most people don't have a chance to ride horses, for example. But I did, so that, I was good.
  • [00:29:37.43] SPEAKER 1: Now how did your family come by getting a farm or do you remember any special items in the farm?
  • [00:29:45.62] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, the farm was great. I mean, the farm was-- got a great big white house, and we had one bedroom on the-- on the main floor that my dad used, and then we had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bedrooms upstairs, which I would have one-- my brother and I would have one. And so that was great having-- having the ability to have a farm and to be able to-- also, I didn't-- I never was old enough to work on a farm, but I can see other people working in-- I learned, for example, I-- my wife likes me to-- 2, 3, 4, 5 bedrooms upstairs, which I would have one-- my brother and I would have one.
  • [00:31:02.84] And so that was great having-- having the ability to have a farm and to be able to-- also, I didn't-- I never was old enough to work on a farm, but I could see other people working in-- I learned, for example, I-- my wife likes me to go out and to hoe the garden. And I know I have a feel for hoeing the garden. I can feel it then, it must have been something that was in me that I learned as a young boy, how to use a hoe and how to pull up weeds using the hoe.
  • [00:32:00.12] And it's something that apparently I never forgot. It's still with me. I can feel it. When I pick up a hoe, I can feel how I want to use it in order to make it work properly.
  • [00:32:16.14] SPEAKER 1: Now I'm going to ask you some questions about your relationship with natural bodies of water during your earliest years. What is your earliest memory of bodies the water such as oceans, lakes, or rivers?
  • [00:32:35.60] DAVID NORTHCROSS: The lake we had on our farm. I can remember, I-- like I said, I learned how to swim, although I probably knew how to maybe swim already, but it had made me a better swimmer. I learned how to fish, and I enjoyed-- my whole life I've enjoyed fishing. And-- what was-- what was the rest of your question?
  • [00:33:11.00] SPEAKER 1: Such as lakes or rivers or oceans?
  • [00:33:17.69] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't think I ever had much involvement with an ocean as a kid. Maybe. Another thing that we did is I learned how to operate a motor boat, for example. Here's something that most kids don't have motorboats, but we had a motor boat in the family. And I could use it on occasion to go fishing or just to drive around and-- oh, and also eventually we learned how to use it with pulling our kids on a ski-- on ski.
  • [00:34:05.43] SPEAKER 1: Do you remember anything such as the body of water when you were traveling as a child?
  • [00:34:12.63] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Oh, let's see. I only traveled a few-- I don't remember. Most of my vacations were related to the farm. So I don't remember occasions when we had, for example, vacations where I-- vacations where I might, for example, have gone into an ocean. Or maybe even I don't recall going to any of the Great Lakes around Michigan, because we had like our own lake, and that's where we went. When it was time to go on a vacation or to go someplace, that's where we went. We went to our own lake and did whatever we were going to do around the water.
  • [00:35:10.34] So I don't think I ever saw an ocean at that time until I was much older or somewhat older. And I may have seen the Detroit River, because being close to the Detroit River, so I'm sure I must have seen and had some activity with the Detroit River. But here again, we didn't go to the Detroit River or go to Belle Isle much, we went to the-- our farm. Every weekend, that's where we went.
  • [00:35:49.70] SPEAKER 1: Does your family engage in activities involving water when you were a child? When you were a child?
  • [00:36:00.71] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Only the water at the farm. I don't-- I don't recall, like I said, any involvement with an ocean or with a great lake or those kinds of places.
  • [00:36:22.62] SPEAKER 1: Now I noticed you mentioned the lake at the farm. Did you have any dealings with it or associated any feelings with it?
  • [00:36:34.10] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Loved it. Yeah, my whole life. My brother and I both loved it. I mean, it was-- what we would do if we had time, and we would go off to the lake. We would go out there and-- my brother never fish very much, but I would fish and he would swim, and as we got older, they would, like I said, ride on water skis and things like that.
  • [00:37:13.46] SPEAKER 1: This completes the session of questions about your early childhood. Thank you.
  • [00:37:19.97] DAVID NORTHCROSS: You're welcome.
  • [00:37:28.45] SPEAKER 1: In this part of the interview, we will talk about your time back to a young person from about the age that kids usually start school in the United States up until you begin your professional career or work. Did you go to pre-school? Where? What do you remember about it?
  • [00:37:57.76] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't remember much about pre-school, although I think I did-- I think I went to some kind of nursery school, but I'm not certain. I remember going to kindergarten or starting around kindergarten-- I don't recall much prior to that as far as school goes. But I went to kindergarten and I went to Dwyer, which is one of the schools in Detroit, a grade school in Detroit, Dwyer.
  • [00:38:41.30] And I walked to school daily. And then I recall that Franklin C. Brooks, who I've mentioned, lived down the street from me and was a friend of the-- my friend and a friend of the family. Frank went to school in Highland Park, and if somehow my family decided that maybe this would be a good idea for me, and so I started to go to school in Highland Park also. And so I went to school with Franklin, and pretty much that's what I mostly remember about my early period.
  • [00:39:36.22] I did pretty good in school. Not exceptional or anything, but I did OK, and I worked I think reasonably hard on trying to be a halfway decent student.
  • [00:39:55.36] SPEAKER 1: Now the School of Highland Park, that was your high school, right?
  • [00:39:58.87] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Great school. No, well, it was at my grade school, and it lasted through high school. Once I went there and I was like maybe in the eighth grade-- oh no, I would say sixth grade-- fifth or sixth grade, and then right on through high school.
  • [00:40:21.01] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to school or for [INAUDIBLE] training beyond high school? Where? What did you remember about it?
  • [00:40:28.93] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I did not go any training beyond high school other than college. I went to college immediately after high school.
  • [00:40:44.87] SPEAKER 1: Where?
  • [00:40:46.19] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Michigan State.
  • [00:40:47.96] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:40:52.02] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I was a football player, so I was excited about going there to play football. And I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do. One of the things that somebody listening to me would be curious about is, why didn't you become a doctor? And so they would-- they would want to-- could not maybe understand why I never went into medicine.
  • [00:41:36.30] And the reason I think I didn't go into medicine is that-- I don't know, it just-- it never appealed to me. I used to work at the hospital, and so I was familiar with what entailed being a physician, but it just never was the kind of thing that I could say, this is what I really wanted to do.
  • [00:42:06.55] So when I got to college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. And this is not unusual, I think many people go to college and they really aren't sure exactly what they want to major in and what they want to do for the rest of their life. And so I didn't-- I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do. Eventually I decided I wanted to go into economics, and so I did. I went into economics. I chose that as my major.
  • [00:42:49.26] SPEAKER 1: I noticed yesterday in your interview you said-- or your wife said-- explained that you did a fraternity. Could you explain a little bit more about that?
  • [00:43:00.10] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Sure. I-- frequently when you go to college, frequently whatever fraternity your dad has been involved in, it's not unusual that the son would be involved in the same area, and as far as where you worked and also as far as joining a fraternity, for example.
  • [00:43:33.48] So my dad had been an Alpha, and so I had-- I hadn't really-- it wasn't a big thing when I first started, joining a fraternity. It wasn't big to me, but eventually I did join the fraternity, and was very glad I did. And it was a-- a major part of my college involvement was being an Alpha and being involved with the fraternity and being involved with the brothers who were made up the fraternity. Did I answer the question?
  • [00:44:26.54] SPEAKER 1: Yes. Did you play any sports or join any other activities outside of school which you have already answered? I thank you for it. What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
  • [00:44:46.51] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Could you explain that a little again? I'm not sure I understood it.
  • [00:44:51.38] SPEAKER 1: Is your experience any different from today? Your school experience any different from today?
  • [00:45:00.28] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Oh, from today's experience?
  • [00:45:02.14] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:45:07.19] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't think so. I mean, school is-- if I could go back to school, would I do anything any different? Yes, I would be a much, much better student. So I would work harder if I could, you know I mean? Obviously. I'm not going to go back, but-- so that's-- if I was-- do anything any different or if I could do something, I would work harder at being a better student. I don't know-- here again, I'm not sure I answered the question. Could you-- if you could--
  • [00:45:55.62] SPEAKER 1: --comfortable--
  • [00:45:56.43] DAVID NORTHCROSS: If you could repeat it, I'll try to--
  • [00:46:00.10] SPEAKER 1: I think you're pretty much--
  • [00:46:01.32] DAVID NORTHCROSS: OK.
  • [00:46:03.03] SPEAKER 1: Please describe the popular music during your school years.
  • [00:46:18.16] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't-- the popular music was-- I don't recall it that strongly, and I don't think it was a big thing. I mean, everybody was doing the same thing dance-wise and music-wise and the popularity-wise. So I'm-- I don't think I would answer the question a different than anybody else who was in school during those same years.
  • [00:47:01.38] SPEAKER 1: Now did they have any popular clothing that you remember?
  • [00:47:11.26] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Popular clothing, let's see. No-- you know, I don't recall-- when you go to college, there's so many important things, much more important, and I don't think I remember clothing being important. I mean, nobody had a lot of clothes and nobody had anything finer than the next guy.
  • [00:47:50.46] So I don't put a lot of emphasis on the importance of clothing during that period-- during my college years. I wore casual clothes most of the time. I had a couple-- one suit, maybe two suits, but mostly probably just one suit. And so it wasn't a big thing.
  • [00:48:22.98] SPEAKER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used then that aren't commonly used today?
  • [00:48:34.30] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yeah, there were, but I don't really-- I don't really recall them. Here again, it's a part of school. Maybe my wife can recall some of them. But it was a part of school that wasn't very important. I mean, I didn't talk in any particular fashion. Was very ordinary if you see what I'm trying to say. It's just-- it wasn't important to me.
  • [00:49:16.83] SPEAKER 2: OK. I think we need to change things now. I'm sorry.
  • [00:49:40.62] SPEAKER 1: --United States until you began your professional career or work life. What was a typical day like for you in this time period?
  • [00:49:58.02] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, you get to get up in the morning and get ready for school and go to school in the wintertime or in the school period. In the summers, playing some kind of sports activity or going-- oh, spending time at the farm, which we had in my family.
  • [00:50:29.70] I would also like to make a comment-- I don't think I made a comment yesterday on my siblings. And some might think they didn't play a big role in my life, but they did. My dad and my mother were divorced, and both of them remarried, and both of them had kids. My mother had two kids, a boy-- a girl who was younger than me, obviously, and a boy, John. And the girl's-- my sister's name was Joan. And they were both younger than me. Maybe by quite a bit, actually, because I was the oldest, and they would have been maybe five to 10 years younger than I was.
  • [00:51:33.15] My dad, he remarried, and I had two half-sisters, Gail and Gloria, who were twins. And then I had Derek was my half-brother. And I had a half-sister-- it'll come to me, but I-- for the moment it leaves me, but it'll come back to me-- it'll come to me.
  • [00:52:17.61] But anyway, I-- because I was older by a good deal, older than they were, I never, in some respects, had a lot of involvement with them, because I was on my way to college, and once I started going to college, I didn't see him very often. I had a brother, Mike, who was my only full brother, and we did-- and you asked me about the early years between, let's say, five years old-- or from the time I was born until maybe I was off to college, I did spend all that time with my brother Mike.
  • [00:53:06.12] And so I got to know him obviously better than many of my other brothers and sisters who I just didn't-- I wasn't around him enough to get to know them as much as I would have liked.
  • [00:53:23.38] SPEAKER 1: Now that was one of the reasons why your mother and father got back together?
  • [00:53:29.08] DAVID NORTHCROSS: They didn't get back together.
  • [00:53:30.42] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:53:31.45] DAVID NORTHCROSS: They remarried-- when I said remarried, I meant they remarried other people.
  • [00:53:37.67] SPEAKER 1: Oh, OK. What did you do for fun?
  • [00:53:44.09] DAVID NORTHCROSS: What did I do for fun? I had-- as a youngster, I had kids my age that lived on my block in the northern part of the-- north-- central part of Detroit. And we did what kids do, we played games and things like that.
  • [00:54:15.13] SPEAKER 1: Where there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from this time?
  • [00:54:21.85] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, we just had the normal family traditions with Christmas and the holiday times. My-- I lived with my grandmother and grandfather, and we did spend a lot-- we did spend time doing things like going to Belle Isle. If it was a hot day, we would go to Belle Isle and kind of cool off and enjoy being not in the house, but outside.
  • [00:54:57.22] SPEAKER 1: Is your family having special sayings or expressions during this time?
  • [00:55:04.34] DAVID NORTHCROSS: None that I can think of. If it comes to me, I'll bring it to your attention, but I don't recall anything of that time.
  • [00:55:16.17] SPEAKER 1: Were there any changes in your family life during your school years?
  • [00:55:24.37] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Only one major. My dad, when I-- for some reason when I was a senior in high school, I had spent all of that previous period with my grandmother and grandfather. And when I became a senior in high school, all of a sudden I moved in with my dad.
  • [00:55:50.22] And it would have-- I've had my two twin sisters, my half-brother, and myself and my brother Michael, we all lived together with my dad, and that lasted about one year. And then it was over and I went to college.
  • [00:56:24.26] SPEAKER 1: Where there any-- were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from any other time?
  • [00:56:38.76] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, the family traditions, we got together as a family and had picnics and things of that type. But there were no traditions that were real strong that I remember. There may have been and I've just forgotten them.
  • [00:57:08.04] SPEAKER 1: Which holidays did your family celebrate? How are holiday traditions celebrated in your family? Has your family celebrated its own traditions and celebrations?
  • [00:57:20.37] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No, we pretty much celebrated traditional holidays, the Christmas, the 4th of July, and those types of holidays. So we did the same. We would have a picnic or we would barbecue in the backyard or something of that type.
  • [00:57:43.77] SPEAKER 1: Was there anything particular for Christmas you remember getting that you cherished for your childhood?
  • [00:57:51.81] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I can remember being pleased when I came down and saw my first bicycle. So that was a big time for me. Also, a train, I remember getting a train, so-- but other than that, I just-- my grandmother and grandfather and my mother-- I had a lot of people who contributed. My mother, my grandfather, my grandmother, my dad, his mother, which would have been my paternal grandmother, they all contributed so that I had a lot of people who contributed something. So I always had a fairly decent Christmas holiday. And they were fairly-- they were quite generous.
  • [00:58:58.74] SPEAKER 1: What special food traditions did your family have?
  • [00:59:03.72] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My grandmother, who I lived with during my younger years, she was a great cook. And we had some fried foods, and we had a potato usually as part of the meal. I know that we had rice. I know my wife-- she must not have had rice very much because she doesn't like rice, but today, I love rice and I look forward to having it as frequently as possible.
  • [00:59:49.75] And-- so those are the kind of things we had. Pork chops and hamburgers and all of the conventional normal foods that were part of the black tradition of the middle class black family.
  • [01:00:12.51] SPEAKER 1: Were any recipe preserved and passed now from generation to generation?
  • [01:00:19.11] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I'm sure they were from my grandmother to my sister and mother, but not to me, I was never involved much in cooking.
  • [01:00:32.61] SPEAKER 1: Did they have any special story connected to them?
  • [01:00:38.81] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No. None that I'm aware of.
  • [01:00:48.61] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at this time? And how did-- personally affect your life and your family? When thinking back well your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at this time, and how did they personally affect your family?
  • [01:01:20.28] DAVID NORTHCROSS: The biggest thing that I-- and the first thing that I remember was the Second World War. It was a big thing and everybody was involved, and it had a great effect on one's life. Not mine, because I was a kid at that time, I was maybe six or seven years old.
  • [01:01:44.82] But my uncles all-- I had two uncles, my mother's brothers who both went into the Army, went into the service. And then there was the Korean War, which occurred in the early '50s-- late 40s, early '50s. And here again, I was too young to have been involved in that. And I don't think anybody in my family went-- was drafted for the Korean War. But everybody-- the whole country was involved and was aware that there was fighting going on and that people were dying and that kind of thing.
  • [01:02:42.17] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your working adult life, what important-- excuse me. Now I'm going to ask you some questions about your relationship with natural bodies of water during your working years. Does your family engage in any activities involving water during your working years?
  • [01:03:05.98] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Do you mean water like an ocean or a river?
  • [01:03:13.48] SPEAKER 1: Actually, it wouldn't matter what type of water.
  • [01:03:15.73] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Or drinking water?
  • [01:03:17.20] SPEAKER 1: Yes, drinking water is fine.
  • [01:03:21.24] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No, I don't know-- remember anything about drinking water. That was routine, everybody had drinking water. But we had a farm and we had a lake-- good-sized lake and not real, real big like Lake Huron or something like that, but we had a nice-sized lake. And so I was lucky enough to be able to go there and swim and fish and get involved in those types of things.
  • [01:04:02.50] People in Detroit have some involvement with the Detroit River since it is close to Detroit, and from time to time, you would have a picnic at Belle Isle or have some involvement with the Detroit River. You might fish and-- fish in the Detroit River, so those are involvements that someone might have with the rivers and lakes that I'm familiar with.
  • [01:04:36.60] SPEAKER 1: Have you ever came in and do you remember your mother or father washing dishes?
  • [01:04:47.41] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I remember myself washing dishes. I washed dishes. That was one thing as I was maybe eight or 10-year-old I had to do. But yes, the day I recall my-- my father never wash dishes. When I lived with him and I was older, I would wash dishes and he would never wash dishes.
  • [01:05:19.70] SPEAKER 1: Did you engage in any activity involving water doing your working years?
  • [01:05:28.64] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I've always been comfortable around water because I can always swim. So you could be comfortable. So I was always comfortable around water. But there was no unusual things that I did with water. I liked to fish and I caught a few fish. And I like to swim and do things like that.
  • [01:05:59.85] SPEAKER 1: Did you associate any feelings with water?
  • [01:06:05.06] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No. Let me put this this way-- nothing unusual. It was just water.
  • [01:06:15.83] SPEAKER 1: This completes your--
  • [01:06:17.58] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I might say that my wife wanted me to tell a story about-- I don't know if you want me to.
  • [01:06:28.98] SPEAKER 1: Oh, you can go ahead, I'm sorry.
  • [01:06:32.55] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, is that going to interfere with anything?
  • [01:06:35.07] SPEAKER 3: No, it's not.
  • [01:06:36.51] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My wife-- and it is a little bit about water. It is a little bit about water, and it's kind of a funny story. But when I was-- I used to go up to-- my grandmother would take me up to the farm every summer. And the only problem with it is that it was sometimes there was nobody around there but me and my brother, and so we didn't have much to do.
  • [01:07:05.04] At one point, she decided to hire somebody to help her run the farm because it was a pretty big farm and she couldn't do it by herself, she was starting to get older at that time. So she hired a Mexican family. She had a garage behind the house, and above the garage was a small apartment. And she hired a Mexican family to come and live over the garage and to help her run the farm.
  • [01:07:44.64] And I can remember one time we were in-- they had a pickup truck. And we got in the pickup truck and we put in the back of it a-- the-- I was trying to think of the word. But let's just say it was a-- sometimes I might get caught like that, it's hard for me to regain my thought pattern. But it was a grass-cutter, a grass-- or a mower. And he put them mower in the back of the truck, and there were about-- there was me and my brother, and there were maybe three younger Mexicans who were in the back of the truck.
  • [01:08:52.87] And as I sat in the back of the truck, I noticed that down the middle of the truck came a stream of water. And I looked at it and I couldn't figure out what it was, and so I took my finger and I put it in the stream and I tasted it to see what it could have been. I figured it was gasoline.
  • [01:09:22.36] And so I said, well, we don't want to have gasoline in the truck, so-- but it didn't taste like gasoline. All of a sudden I look up, and the kids-- the other kids are all laughing. And they're just cracking up. And they're talking in Spanish, so I don't really know what they're saying. All I know is that they're laughing at something.
  • [01:09:49.40] And so then I looked, I said, well where did that stream come from? And I looked, and there was a little three-year-old kid in the back of the truck, and the stream came out of the middle of his pants and had run down, and I had stuck my finger in there to taste, and everybody just thought that was the funniest thing they'd ever seen. But anyway, so that was just one of my stories.
  • [01:10:23.00] SPEAKER 1: Now is there anything else from yesterday you haven't shared that you would like to share?
  • [01:10:31.50] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No. I wanted to talk about my siblings because they were an important part of my life. My half-brothers and sisters. I only have one full brother and I had half-brothers and sisters. But they were all part of the family and all an important part of my life. So I just wanted to make sure that I mentioned them.
  • [01:11:02.05] SPEAKER 1: This completes the first session-- section of questions about their working years and your childhood. Thank you.
  • [01:11:09.45] DAVID NORTHCROSS: You're welcome.
  • [01:11:18.40] SPEAKER 1: This set of question covers a fairly long period of your life, from this time you entered the labor force-- excuse me. This set of questions covers a fair-- covers a fairly long period of your life from the time you entered the labor force or starting a family up to present time.
  • [01:11:52.86] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Say that again? I didn't-- I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand.
  • [01:11:57.53] SPEAKER 1: This set of questions cover a fairly long period of your life, from the time you entered the labor force or started a family up to present time-- to the present time.
  • [01:12:16.27] DAVID NORTHCROSS: When I got out of college-- you mean you'd like to hear about that period as I got older?
  • [01:12:26.41] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:12:29.35] DAVID NORTHCROSS: As I got-- when I left college, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do. I went in the Marine Corps and spent three or four years-- three-and-a-half years in the Marine Corps. And I don't know if it's fortunate, but it was during a time when there was no war. The Korean-- the Vietnamese war had not started, the Korean War had completed about 10 years prior to that time.
  • [01:13:10.43] So I decided that I would go into the Marine Corps, and my wife and I drove out to-- well, I spent maybe about three or four months in the eastern part of the country near Washington, DC, and I was taught how to be a Marine Corps officer. And it was-- that was sort of unusual because in my class, there was one-- maybe three or four other black officers. And so it was unusual because up until that time, there were only a few, if any-- I mean, you could count on one hand the number of black officers that there were in the country.
  • [01:14:18.25] And in my class, there was three or four of us out of maybe 500 officer candidates. And so we had a great time. It was sort of like being in college. You were still young and you still-- you could do a lot of things and you partied, and you just had a good time, similar to being in college.
  • [01:14:52.94] And then when I had finished training, I was given the-- assigned to California. Right below LA, there's Camp Pendleton, which is a Marine Corps base. And so my wife and I went out there. And like I said, it was like being in college, except we once-- we thought we might go to war, but it turned out we didn't have to go. But we had a good time.
  • [01:15:38.27] We came back to Michigan, and I thought that maybe I would like to go into the finance business. And it was also something new and different because there were very few blacks who were in that business. I mean, there was very few blacks that had ever had the opportunity to be in that business. So it worked out. I wrote back to the people in Detroit, told them I was interested, and they said come-- we'll talk to you, come on out when you're in Detroit. And so when we got back to Detroit, I went downtown and talked to them and they hired me.
  • [01:16:35.55] So that worked out very well. And for 30 years, I worked at Merrill Lynch in the finance business and had a great career.
  • [01:16:59.22] SPEAKER 1: How did you first get started with this tradition, skill, or job? Was it-- what got-- what got your interest?
  • [01:17:08.72] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, the procedure that was used is that once you are hired, you would go to New York and you would spend six months in New York. So my wife and I went to New York for six months, had a great time in New York, and they trained me about how the finance business worked. And so things just worked out fine. I was just very lucky.
  • [01:17:55.05] SPEAKER 1: Describe the steps of the process involved in your job from start to finish. What raw materials are used, where did-- where do you use your materials, supplies, or ingredients, how are they prepared, how are they changed over time, how and why?
  • [01:18:16.27] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, the procedure-- it's basically a sales job. And so it's not-- you don't have to do anything physical. You don't have to work hard or sweat, but you have to be able to think and to be able to work with people. And so that's what you have to do. You have to-- I had clients. Maybe for all the time I was in the business, I might have had 500 clients. Maybe not quite that many, maybe 200-- I'm not sure. But I would have a number of people who I was their broker, and they would call me on the telephone. If they had a question about finance, about money, then they would call me.
  • [01:19:31.53] Or if I had something I thought they might be interested in, I would call them. And we used basically the telephone. We were a telephone business, although people could come into the office, they would come into the office and they would visit you, and you became like friends with the people because you had an involvement with them for maybe quite a long time. I had clients that started with me, and maybe six, seven, eight, 10 years later, they were still my clients. And I knew them. And they had confidence in me, and I liked them, and--
  • [01:20:20.51] SPEAKER 1: Do you still know these people?
  • [01:20:23.45] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yes. I'm surprised, I don't see-- in fact, I just saw a doctor the other day that I hadn't seen in maybe-- like-- I've been retired for 10 years, so maybe-- I haven't seen him for 15 years, maybe. And they were my clients for maybe 20 years. And so-- and then I just saw one walking in church the other day. But that's basically how we operated.
  • [01:21:07.22] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like doing the work that you used of your adult life?
  • [01:21:13.97] DAVID NORTHCROSS: We started around 8 o'clock, you could get there. One of the things is that you were like self-employed. You were hired by the company, but you could do what you wanted to do as long as it's legal, obviously. And so you could do what you thought was best for your clients. And I would-- my-- I would tell my clients, I think this is something that you ought to be interested in or involved in, and if they agreed with me, that they would do it.
  • [01:22:03.33] Would you-- you can ask that question also again, I'm not sure I got it fully.
  • [01:22:17.47] SPEAKER 1: What specific training or skills were needed for your job? What tools are involved, how and where are they used?
  • [01:22:27.36] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, one of the tools, as I mentioned, was a telephone. We did a lot of our business on the telephone. It would be helpful to be able to communicate with people. You had to have people have confidence in you, because if they don't have confidence in you, they're not going to take their money and do something with it if they don't think that you know what you're talking about. Not that you don't-- not but you're right all the time, they don't expect you to be right all the time. But they do expect that to know what you're talking about and that you believe that they would benefit-- that they would benefit from what you propose. So that was pretty much the way we operated.
  • [01:23:27.62] SPEAKER 1: From this--
  • [01:23:28.46] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No-- excuse me. I said that-- we had computers that we had to use, and we had the phones that we obviously had to use. And on the computers, the clients would have their portfolios, and you could see their portfolios and help them by being able to understand and to know what the computer was saying.
  • [01:24:12.82] SPEAKER 1: From this experience, what could you tell the other kids that are pursuing this field, what would be some good advice?
  • [01:24:24.58] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Oh, that's a good question. I think it's-- one of the things is that sales is a good area to work in. If you're good at sales, if you're good at meeting people-- I was fair in meeting people, I don't know if I was good at it, but if you're good at meeting people, talking to people, communicating with people. So it's a kind of-- it's a people business.
  • [01:25:01.00] And you don't know how much money you're going to make. It's not like you know that if you go to an auto maker or auto company and you work on the line, you can be pretty sure how much money you're going to make at the end of the year. You're going to start out or you know how much you make an hour, and if you work a certain number of hours, you know how much money you'll have at the end of the year.
  • [01:25:33.65] Well, you don't know in sales how things are going to go. Are you going to be successful, are you going to have a good year, is it going to be a good year, is it going to be a bad year? Many times it's a good year. So when it is, you make more money, and that's pretty much it.
  • [01:26:01.26] SPEAKER 1: Compared to the economy in your time and compared to the economy in this time, what would you say is the difference?
  • [01:26:13.40] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I don't know if there was any difference. Certainly we-- if you're talking about right today and the economy today, obviously it's very, very bad period, and could be as bad as the '30s-- or '20s and '30s when we had a bad depression. Probably the worst financial period in the country's history was back in the late '20s and early '30s.
  • [01:26:53.25] And so now we are in a period that is maybe not as bad as that, but it's certainly a bad period where a lot of people are losing their jobs, and it's a period where people are losing houses and people are losing jobs. And so that-- from that standpoint, it's similar to-- now at other times, the markets-- and this is a discussion-- the markets go up and down. And they have good periods and they have periods that aren't so good.
  • [01:27:49.28] Now we're in a period where it's has fallen much more than normal. But other than that, things are similar. The markets go up in the good times, they go down, and they go back up at a later time when things are good again.
  • [01:28:12.90] SPEAKER 1: Do you remember anything specific from the Great Depression or anything that you have told?
  • [01:28:20.28] DAVID NORTHCROSS: The Great Depression was a little bit before my time, so I never experienced it directly. Everybody knew it because it was the thing that caused people to do things. Everybody remembered, boy, we just went through this terrible thing, this Depression, and we've got to make sure that we don't do it again.
  • [01:28:50.11] And so they would-- everybody would always had this fear that somewhere out there was this terrible thing that's going to happen economically that's going to affect everybody and things are going to be really bad. Well, we had the period in the '30s, and then we had a period in the 2000s. So they don't happen all the time, but there's always some up and down. Good and bad times.
  • [01:29:28.89] SPEAKER 1: What technology changes occurred during your working years?
  • [01:29:37.70] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I think the use of the computer was maybe one of the big changes in technology. Let's see, what else we-- the telephone obviously wasn't that-- there had been telephones, obviously. But I would think the computer would be the main thing.
  • [01:30:24.65] SPEAKER 1: What is the biggest difference in your main field of employment from the time you started until now?
  • [01:30:31.85] DAVID NORTHCROSS: The main difference?
  • [01:30:32.53] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:30:36.38] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't know that there was any major difference. I started in the early '60s, and I retired around 2000. And there are little differences in the business, but basically it's very similar. It's-- I would think the difference would be small. I mean, there would be a lot of little differences, but not-- basically-- it's basically the same as it was.
  • [01:31:18.10] I mean, we still use the telephone, you still talk to clients, you do all of these things the same that you did in 1960 when i started. You still had to talk to people, you had to communicate, you had to have them have confidence in you. So basically the same thing.
  • [01:31:40.27] SPEAKER 2: From the applications you used that depend on the computer and applications you use now, which one would be more relevant for you to use?
  • [01:32:02.28] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't know that there would be any big major difference. I don't think there would be a major difference. I think it would be similar.
  • [01:32:24.39] SPEAKER 1: How do you judge excellence within your field? What makes our respected-- respected in that field?
  • [01:32:35.01] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I hate to-- I hate to use one thing, is money. How much money you make. So that-- I don't want say unfortunately, but that is something that people use to judge success. And particularly in a business field or in a field where there is a client relationship between a client and a salesman.
  • [01:33:24.30] SPEAKER 1: What did value most about what you do for a living and why?
  • [01:33:31.36] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, of course I don't do it any more, but--
  • [01:33:34.61] SPEAKER 1: Or what you did?
  • [01:33:37.03] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I think-- I think it's-- I would be proud that I helped people. That most of my clients had some degree of success. They made money, they had some-- not make money, because I don't mean that they made money because sometimes they didn't, but they were basically financially successful. They had a degree of success in what they were doing. They wanted to find places that they could put their money safely and have it safe, and when they need it, they can call upon it and I was able to in many cases-- I don't know about every case, but in many cases, I was able to give them that, an ability to feel that their money was in a good place to be.
  • [01:34:54.15] SPEAKER 1: Tell me about any moves you made or your working years and retirement before your decision to move to your current residence.
  • [01:35:04.89] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I have not moved my current residence. I am in-- I live in the same place, basically. And I think I moved maybe when I first started to work at Merrill Lynch. So one of the things that my wife and I do is we go to Florida every year. And we, by accident, sort of found a place down in Florida that we love and we like and we love, and that we go to every year. We've been going now, I think, maybe one year where we haven't gone in the last 10, 12 years. And the reason we then go is I think of my-- I had an illness. Or my-- Shirley had an illness, and so we didn't go.
  • [01:36:23.47] But other than that-- did I answer the question?
  • [01:36:29.46] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:36:29.81] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Did I address the question?
  • [01:36:33.08] SPEAKER 1: How did you come to live in your current residence?
  • [01:36:42.02] DAVID NORTHCROSS: When I left the Marine Corps and came back to Detroit, I stayed with my mother and-- Shirley and I stayed with my mother for a short period of time. And one of my friends was moving. He was going to move, and so he had a house, and we wound up buying this house. He was my best-- he was my best friend. And he was moving, and his house was going to be for sale, so we decided to buy it.
  • [01:37:23.71] SPEAKER 1: Now do you still know this person?
  • [01:37:26.19] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yes. He's still my best friend.
  • [01:37:31.95] SPEAKER 1: How do you feel about your current living station?
  • [01:37:39.89] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I'm not sure what you mean.
  • [01:37:42.86] SPEAKER 1: What was-- what would be your feelings on it? Does it make you comfortable? Is there anything you would like to change about it? Or has changed about it?
  • [01:37:57.14] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I'm retired, and retirement has been everything I thought it would be and more. I don't know if you plan to retire. Most-- many people don't plan to retire. So I had no plan to retire, but the business-- little things start to get on your nerves and little things start to bother you and you start to think, well, maybe I ought to consider doing something else or going someplace else, and maybe I ought to think about retiring.
  • [01:38:43.64] I was 62 years old. And so I said, well, I can afford it, I think-- I think I can afford it. And so that's what I'll consider doing. And so I did it. And Shirley was already retired, she had been retired for two years. And we retired, and it was great. We've enjoyed it immensely and we just can't get enough of it.
  • [01:39:33.06] SPEAKER 1: This set of questions cover your retirement years to the present time. How did your family life change from you when-- and your or spouse retired and all of the-- and all the children left home?
  • [01:39:56.10] DAVID NORTHCROSS: The-- I don't know. I just-- it's just been-- when I retired, you don't know-- you're fearful to a certain extent because you're going into something new, and it's going to be different. And you're fearful about money. Am I going to have enough money, am I going to be able to go through this long period where I get-- bring in less money than I did when I was working? So you're concerned about how you're going to get along during the-- doing this new thing.
  • [01:40:43.80] And then you find out that basically things work out OK. You do have enough money to get by. You do enjoy yourself, you've found something to do with your time. I mean, a lot of people don't retire because they're fearful that they're going to be bored. And so you go out and you find out, well, I'm not really bored. I find something to do, something to keep me busy, and I enjoy it.
  • [01:41:24.27] SPEAKER 1: What is a typical day like in your current life?
  • [01:41:31.50] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I used to play a little more golf. And so my day would include going to the golf course. I go now only about once a week. I help my wife around the house. We clean and normal things that you still have to do when you have a home and you have to keep up your home. So we do those types of things.
  • [01:42:13.54] And basically I play bridge once a week. And when I go to Florida, I play golf almost every day. And-- which is really nice. I'm very fortunate to be able to do that. So those are the things I do. I do a little cooking and helping. I help around the kitchen because I help clean up, but I don't cook a lot. I cook a little bit, and use the barbecue, the grill a little bit, but that's all. So that's pretty much-- I read and those types of things.
  • [01:43:26.40] SPEAKER 1: What is your favorite book or novel?
  • [01:43:31.54] DAVID NORTHCROSS: My favorite book of all time?
  • [01:43:33.04] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:43:34.45] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Mutiny on the Bounty. I don't know, it's just a story. It's an adventure story that just fascinated me.
  • [01:43:50.68] SPEAKER 1: What does your family enjoy doing together now?
  • [01:43:57.73] DAVID NORTHCROSS: We celebrate birthdays. We celebrate holidays. And that's pretty much it. There-- my boys are pretty much involved with their own families. And now I help-- I helped to a certain degree. For example, I've got two granddaughters. I pick them up every day at school. And so I help. My son has two kids. I'll pick them up occasionally, but basically I've got two girls that I pick up from school on a daily basis. So that's part of what I do. And pretty much that's it.
  • [01:45:02.47] SPEAKER 1: What are your personal favorite things to do for fun?
  • [01:45:14.12] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I like to play cards, I play bridge. And every Friday we have a bridge club that gets together and-- Friday afternoon. So that's fun for me. I mean, it doesn't sound like fun, but it-- but it is fun for me. And basically, like I said, I play golf. That's fun. That's enjoyment for me.
  • [01:45:57.59] SPEAKER 1: So would Tiger Woods would be one of your favorite golf players?
  • [01:46:04.18] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Yeah. It's hard not to be a Tiger fan because he's such a great, great, great athlete. And of course, everybody wishes they could be like Tiger, but it's-- golf is-- it's actually a hard game, it's a difficult game. And I work-- I used to golf. I don't do as much anymore, but I used to practice all the time and planning on getting better and getting better. You do get better, but it's hard to be as good as you would-- as you think that you would like to be.
  • [01:46:51.52] SPEAKER 1: Is there anything that you wish in your earlier years that you would have did a little bit more?
  • [01:47:07.97] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No. I've had friends, and my friendships have been-- I still have really excellent friendships with people that I really like and good people and I enjoy being around. So I would be a better student if I could. If I was doing things over again, I would try to be a better student, I think. I would work harder at making sure that I was a better student.
  • [01:47:53.24] SPEAKER 1: Are there any special days, events, or family traditions you especially enjoy at this time in your life?
  • [01:48:05.08] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Family traditions? Well, our traditions are just the normal conditions-- normal traditions. We celebrate holidays, we celebrate family birthdays, we all get together and have a party and have a cake and ice cream and that type thing.
  • [01:48:33.57] SPEAKER 1: OK, right now we're going to take a pause for a minute and change our tape.
  • [01:48:39.77] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I believe so.
  • [01:48:44.90] SPEAKER 1: What thinking your life after retirement or your kids left home to present-- to the present, what important social or historical events were taking place, and how did they personally affect you and your family?
  • [01:49:12.41] DAVID NORTHCROSS: What personal events were taking place? Actually, the economy during most of my later years-- and even after I retired, the economy has been very good until recently when it's turned quite poor. But other than that, the economy has been good. And I enjoy the family. I enjoy being around my kids. And maybe as much, I enjoy being around grandkids. There's some kind of relationship between grandfathers and grandmothers and kids-- and granddaughters and grandsons.
  • [01:50:10.78] So we enjoy family type things. And basically many things, we just went up to Mackinaw Island, took our grandkids up there, a couple of them-- not all of them, but a couple of our grandkids up to Mackinaw Island. So we like to-- we enjoy doing things with the grandkids.
  • [01:50:47.25] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your entire life, what important social-historical events had the greatest impact?
  • [01:51:01.72] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I meant-- I was trying to say that when the economy is good, you don't think about bad things. I mean, you think about good things and you notice good things. And so we've been in a period where things have basically been pretty good. For example, from 1980 through 2000, you had 20 great years. And so I wouldn't-- I wouldn't worry about anything, everything was pretty good. I was work-- those were my last years of working until I retired. And so it was a good period.
  • [01:51:49.84] And there was nothing there really-- I mean, there were-- there weren't bad things maybe-- wars or the Viet-- the-- the recent war, but that's been a short-term thing.
  • [01:52:18.36] SPEAKER 1: What family keepsakes do you possess?
  • [01:52:29.26] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't know that there were a lot of things that were ever passed down to me, so I have-- we have some pictures that I really like and enjoy, and we have them up on the wall. But I don't remember anything being sort of passed down, like my dad, who died last year, I don't recall many things being passed down through the family. And I don't remember like furniture or things like that.
  • [01:53:15.77] Now I know that we are working on our will and we hope to pass things down and maybe it'll be a start of something for the family, but up to this point, I think we've only had a small amount of that kind of thing.
  • [01:53:39.84] SPEAKER 1: Thinking back over your entire life, what are you most proud of?
  • [01:53:49.58] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Well, I think I'm proud of the type of person I am. I think I'm a decent person that has tried to do the best he can. And I am proud of our family, I think we've done a lot. I think the family has done well, and I enjoy seeing the family continue to do well. I enjoy my wife, and we enjoy being together, and that type of thing.
  • [01:54:46.71] SPEAKER 1: What would you say has changed the most from the time-- the time you were my age to now?
  • [01:55:04.05] DAVID NORTHCROSS: I don't know-- when you ask questions, sometimes I think that there should be an answer, but maybe I don't know the answer. But I don't know the things that I-- that there is anything like that that I can pass on-- pass on. I think-- I think work hard and-- which would certainly be something that most people-- most young people should try to do, is to work hard and to try to have as good a life as you can.
  • [01:56:01.85] SPEAKER 1: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven't asked about?
  • [01:56:11.02] DAVID NORTHCROSS: No.
  • [01:56:15.65] SPEAKER 1: That completes the last section of questions. Thank you.
  • [01:56:20.66] DAVID NORTHCROSS: Thank you.