Project connects two distant generations

B y Jaime Thomas

In the nearly eight decades since Helen Macura was Molly O’Brien’s age, life around Granville has changed a bit.

The pharmacy served the best hot chocolate, for example, and there was a movie theater right in the village. Macura was one of 13 children of a Czechoslovakian couple, and she sometimes earned money as a teenager by washing other families’ after-dinner dishes.

Fourteen-year-old O’Brien learned these little slices-of-life and more about Macura, who turns 91 Monday, while completing a project last spring.

Under the direction of Ann O’Brien, her eighth-grade teacher, O’Brien chose to interview an elder to compile an oral history.

“We were supposed to do an oral history of someone much older than us. I thought it would be a good story, and I thought she’d know a lot about Granville,” O’Brien said. She’d never before met Macura, who is very involved in the community. After they spoke, O’Brien put together her project, for which she got a perfect 100.

Macura thought O’Brien did a fantastic, detailed job.

“When I read it, I was surprised she had covered the story so thoroughly,” she said.” I thought that she did a remarkable job for someone that age.”

She said she was honored and “very flattered” that O’Brien chose to learn about her, rather than someone of more means.

“Granville is full of prominent people, and I come from a humble background,” she said. Though O’Brien’s book offers facts about Macura’s life, it also includes her observations on how the community has changed over time.

“She valued her education and enjoyed going to school each and every day. Helen said that children back in her day had fun with what they had and didn’t complain. She said that Granville was a very family oriented village. Helen said that it isn’t like this anymore, how there isn’t much trust and how nobody knows each other anymore like they used to,” O’Brien wrote.

She worked her way through Macura’s childhood getting banana splits at Bernardos, her work sewing cots for soldiers in WWII, her accomplished nursing career and her present day involvement with a number of organizations.

O’Brien said through her book she learned a lot about Granville during Helen’s time, and took the project further than any she’s previously done.

“Sometimes we take things in life for granted, and it’s important to learn things about the past. I thought it was interesting to learn how Granville was so small and close knit and everybody knew everybody,” she said.

Macura thought the idea behind the project was important for similar reasons.

“It’s not the generation today that made this country what it is; it was the generations of the past,” she said.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekender – 08/28/15

Lakes Classifieds – 08/28/15

Lakes Region Freepress – 08/28/15

Northshire Freepress – 08/28/15

Classifieds 08/27/15

Washington County Fair in full swing

407624_345593242132090_322483287_n

By Linda Ellingsworth There’s still plenty of time to experience the excitement of the Washington County Fair. A celebration of […]

Coin drops hurt by bridge work

Bridge

By Dan King Those who volunteer their time to serve the people of Whitehall say their coin drop operations have […]

Working together: town, village fixing waterline

DSC_1921

By Dan King For the past week and a half the town and village of Whitehall have been working together […]

Washington County Board opposes Common Core

Schulz 2

By Dan King The third time was indeed a charm for Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff and activist Bob Schulz. Haff […]

Townwide sale next weekend

Lawn sale 006

By Dan King Bargain seekers will converge on Whitehall Labor Day Weekend, as they seek the best deals around. The […]

Three vying for public safety position

By Christina Scanlon Washington County supervisors have narrowed the field to three candidates for county public safety director and will […]

Recycled teens applauded

By Christina Scanlon Nine honorary members of the Mettowee Valley Senior Citizens were honored last week at a luncheon filled […]