In going to my second oral history review, I again was unsure what to expect. The interview was being held at Helen Kemp’s house, a place I had never been before. I had no idea what my surroundings were going to be, if the lighting would be okay, if there would be enough room where she wanted to interview for both of us and the camera, and about a billion other, many of them, silly, worries and concerns.
However, what I found, was nothing problematic at all. Helen Kemp was a delightful person to work with, and she was super prepared for me to come, she had a plan for where we could do it, she just needed help rotating the arm chair she wanted to sit in (understandable at 96 years of age). She was warm and friendly and ready to get started right away. It was a delightful hour.
I had met her briefly before in the past, but getting to spend so much more time with her was amazing, she is such a wealth of information and knowledge, she has done practically everything, she played basketball in high school (and was the captain), attended Westminster Choir College where she later worked, she founded an organization aimed at creating music for children’s choirs, and my personal favorite was part of a Westminster Choir that not only got to record for the Disney Movie for Fantasia, but also go to eat at his house! I was blown away by the multitude of things she had accomplished in her life, and she was so full in her explanations that it made finding new questions and discussing other topics just seem to flow.
Unlike my first interview where I felt confined to a topic, I felt with the freedom came an ability to go off and discover new avenues of conversation that might not have been part of my prepared topics, all while staying within a flow instead of hoping around (although we did a bit of that, as sometimes she would reference 2-3 things I wanted to talk about in one answer and I would have to hop back to that answer to spring board into the next topic.
When all was said and the taping was done, I found that the hour had simply flown by (and I had almost made her really late for dinner! Although she did not seem to mind). I am sure we could have spend several more hours delving into all of the amazing things she has done, and all of the people whose lives she has touched across the nation. The best part for me is that even today she is in contact with people helping them out, and giving suggestions through email and Facebook.