Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oral History

Farrell Nielsen and Coleen A. Nielsen Oral History Project
Interview with Farrell and Coleen Nielsen
Date of Interview: November 14th, 2010; Brigham City, Utah
Interviewer: Michael Dalton
Transcriber: Michael Dalton

Dalton: If you could each say your name; spell it, and your ages? And where we are right now?

C. Nielsen: I’m grandma Nielsen, actually. Coleen A. Nielsen. I was born in 1933 so I’m 77 years old, yes I guess I’m 77 and we’re here in Brigham city, this is where we’ve lived in this house for 51 years.

F. Nielsen: I’m Farrell Nielsen. I was born in Weston, Idaho. I’m 78 years, I’ll be 79 next month. And we’ve lived here in Brigham City, you said 53 years?

C. Nielsen: 51. Well, we’ve lived in this house for 51. OK, you need to spell your name and I didn’t spell mine.

Dalton: Go ahead.

F. Nielsen: F-A-R-R-E-L-L N-I-E-L-S-E-N

C. Nielsen: And my mother spelled me Coleen with only one L in it C-O-L-E-E-N.

Dalton: Just like my sister.

C. Nielsen: And Nielsen is always hard to spell N-I-E-L-S-E-N

Dalton: Perfect, thank you. Now, we’ll start with maybe your first experience with media. I don’t know what that would be, would it be maybe radio for both of you? What’s maybe the first time you can remember listening to the radio?

F. Nielsen: I can remember when I was a boy, I was a small boy we had a Philco Radio. It was an upright, up there in Weston, Idaho, and I liked to listen to the Lone Ranger and Jack Armstrong and that, and it was that period of media.

F. Nielsen: I remember we always used to go down to Grandpa Shrives. He was a step grandfather to me, and we’d go down there and listen to Jack Armstrong-not Jack Armstrong, the big fighter, who was it.

C. Nielsen: Joe Louis.

F. Nielsen: Joe Louis! And Billy Conn. We listened to them on the radio.

C. Nielsen: And it was exciting to listen to boxing on radio, if you can believe it. We grew up in the same era.

F. Nielsen: And that was our entertainment.

C. Nielsen: Our entertainment was radio.

F. Nielsen: And the movie houses.

C. Nielsen: Saturday morning was “Let’s Pretend” And it was fairy tales that they…

Dalton: So that was a radio program?

F. Nielsen: It was a radio program called “Let’s Pretend” and we’d turn that on and we’d just be glued. Glued to the station. And that was our entertainment. Other than that we were outside doing other things.

F. Nielsen: What are or were some of your favorite radio programs? You said “Let’s Pretend,” do you have—

C. Nielsen: Yeah “Let’s Pretend”.

F. Nielsen: The Lone Ranger and then it got into… all be darned if I-

Dalton: Don’t stress about it.

C. Nielsen: Well about the time we got married we’d watch things like Inner Sanctum.

F. Nielsen: Listened to.

C. Nielsen: Yeah, we’d listen to these on the radio. And, you know your imagination is much better then it is just watching something. When some of these really scary—we probably should’ve—

F. Nielsen: Radio programs—I remember when we were in the army and we were down in Presidio going to the movies there on the army base we sat out in the car—

C. Nielsen: Waiting for it to start.

F. Nielsen: Waiting for it to get to the time of the movie and it was Inner Sanctum and when it got time to go into the movie we could hardly get out of the car! *Laughs*

C. Nielsen: We could barely get out of the car to go in we were so scared. This is something on radio, because you have to use your own imagination. Where when you turn on the television it does that for you.

Dalton: Do you listen to any radio now? Any programs specifically?

C. Nielsen: Yes, mostly in the car. Most in the car and we’ve notice that it’s more News news news. When I was a little girl there were the soap operas on the radio that my mother liked and I listen too, “Our Gal Sunday”… let’s see. I was gonna say another one and now I’ve forgotten it.

F. Nielsen: Dick Tracy.

C. Nielsen: But it was a continuing thing. And you could hardly wait til the next day to hear how their tragedy was going to turn out to be.

Dalton: They were continuing stories kinda like some sitcoms today?

C. Nielsen: Yes it’s like the soap operas on television now. That we don’t watch. We don’t get into that.

Dalton: Do you listen to news only or do you listen to music?

C. Nielsen: We don’t—

F. Nielsen: Most of our news that we watch is on television. But about the time we moved down—well, we had a little television in my hometown some people had TV in that last two years of my high school. But since we moved here we’ve had television and that’s been our medium. Television certainly has transformed a lot, it used to be show that would entertain on challenges and stuff like that.

C. Nielsen: $64,000 questions and, you know—

F. Nielsen: Yeah. But, ma…what’s some of the television shows—oh Lawrence Welk was one that Coleen’s dad, that was the only show on television as far as he’s concerned, Lawrence Welk, it was good to entertain but TV has come a lot further since then. But I find that TV has… a lot of television today gets too destructive. It’s just the day we’re living in.

Dalton: What are some of your earliest memories of maybe television now? What shows did you watch as kids? Or maybe—

F. Nielsen: Red Skelton show. That was one I really liked to see. He was a good entertainer. And of course I’ve always liked sports. Use to be a lot of baseball but it’s more football now.

C. Nielsen: We only watch baseball when it gets to the World Series. By the time it gets to the end then we get involved with the last two teams to make it.

C. Nielsen: I’m trying to think what… we didn’t get a television until, well we’d been married how many years, 4-5 years, we didn’t have one when Farrell was finishing college. We got one after we moved into this house. A while after cuz—

F. Nielsen: We didn’t have one up in Weston? I thought we got one there. Maybe not.

C. Nielsen: See we’re old enough that things are not quite as sharp as they used to be…. Some things really stick out in your mind and some things—

Dalton: Well maybe let’s move to that then. What are some of the big events that maybe you remember with media. Mine for example, I remember listening to the radio on my favorite music station and I hear that terrorists have attacked us on 9/11.

F. Nielsen: I remember that, I remember that and I can event step back to radio. I was down at my step grandfather Shrives house on a Sunday. I was playing out in the backyard with my half uncle Lamar and grandmother stepped out on the back porch and says, “Come in here you guys come here the Japs [sic] have attacked Pearl Harbor!” And I turned to Lamar and I said, “Where’s Pearl Harbor?” He didn’t know. “What’s Pearl Harbor?” That was my-I’ll never forget that. And then all the news of the war, listening Roosevelt’s fireside chats. All during the war. That was the only medium we had to get the news of the war. Television wasn’t there at that time. The radio just brought us all the news that we wanted to hear.

C. Nielsen: I guess we had television by the time that John Kennedy was assassinated. That was…that’s one of those events that sticks out in your mind too. And we may have heard it on radio—we used to have the radio on a lot in the mornings. Just to get the weather, just to get what’s going on. How warm to dress the children before they left to go to school. What other big events…

Dalton: I was thinking those would probably be the biggest.

C. Nielsen: Those were.

Dalton: So for the JFK one can you remember if you first heard it on the radio or on the TV.

C. Nielsen: I think it was on radio. I really—and I think we did turn it on to the television and they were slow. Radio is quick; it came on their first. We had a stereo right there was the piano is and we used to use that a lot. We used to put records on their and play, but that was the radio we used an awful. Cuz the television was down in the basement so we didn’t see that as much.

Dalton: I kinda skipped because I don’t know if you’ll have anything super exciting or memorable but newspapers are dying now but it was big and it was very important to journalism for a long time. Do you have any memories reading the newspaper? And specific ones or did you guys read the newspaper?

F. Nielsen: We’ve always had a newspaper.

C. Nielsen: Always had a newspaper.

F. Nielsen: Always had a daily newspaper.

C. Nielsen: I don’t know if we’re as good as your dad is with daily newspapers but yes we’ve always had the newspaper that comes from Ogden that tells all this area’s news. And uh, I mean that’s one of the first things we do in the morning is bring the newspaper in and read specific headlines and things and…TV get you just a little bit about something. A newspaper gives you details. We’ve enjoyed reading the newspaper to get more details on certain subjects. And at our age we check the obituaries every day because we’re losing friends all the time. And so that- that is one thing we do check a lot. Read the front page and have you check the obituaries yet.

Dalton: Um, now we have Internet and the age of computers. Have much of that do you use and how has that affected your life involving media?

F. Nielsen: The Internet.

Dalton: Yeah the Internet and the age of computer.

C. Nielsen: Well I bought our first computer because grandpa was doing income taxes by hand. And so he decided to add another 30 or 40 more people and I just said we’ve got to have a computer. He didn’t want to go out and buy it so I did. And I’d keep making phone calls to Bruce and to Douglas. How many megabytes – I mean I didn’t know what I was talking about but I’d go in the stores to the sales people. Megahertz, megabytes, RAMs, all that kinda stuff and then I’d go home and I’d make phone calls. So Farrell used the computer but it was not online. We didn’t actually go online until after we came hoe from our mission. And when—

Dalton: What year was that?

C. Nielsen: We left in 99 so we came home March of 2001. And by then people were e-mailing back and forth. And so we were going to be left out if we didn’t go online and get e-mail.

F. Nielsen: The use of computers out at Thiokol. Really started appearing on the people’s desk about 5 years before I retired. And I had one when I retired but I didn’t use it very much. The people working underneath me, they used them more regular than I did. Now everybody is using them. And I used them quite a bit in my income tax really saved a lot of effort, a lot of work.

C. Nielsen: But the Internet itself, you don’t get on it too often.

F. Nielsen: Uh uh.

C. Nielsen: I get on the Internet some. I do the e-mailing and you know I check on things. And I’ve gotten airline tickets on there and ordered a few things. I’ve done genealogy.

F. Nielsen: We do little search on there on places to go with our timeshares and things like that, booking.

C. Nielsen: It would be hard probably to be without it entirely. But we’re not the generation that grew up with a computer and so it’s a little more difficult for us to understand it.

Dalton: That makes plenty of sense. Now this question I don’t know how it’s gonna go over but at least for me this new technology of, you know, facebook, e-mailing, texting—all of that is important for courting. How was media or was it involved at all in your courtship?

C. Nielsen: No.

F. Nielsen: Man the only thing that—we came from the time, going back to my grandparents place, they had a television that you had to crank to get a connection! And you were on a party line! Five different people on the line. And one ring was one person, two rings was another family. And we never even had a phone in our house for a long. When I was in high school we did but before we didn’t have a telephone. We didn’t have a bathroom until World-War II was over.

C. Nielsen: The tin-tub is what we had a bath in when we were growing up. I was 12 when we moved into our new home and had a bathroom. But we didn’t have a television in our house until I bought it. When I was about a junior in high school I got a job in a bakery. Selling donuts and bread and all these kinds of things; I was just the clerk. And I remember wanting a phone so badly because if I wanted to phone someone I had to walk a block, a real big block to the farm next to us and use the Eam’s family telephone. And it was one of those party lines and sometimes you couldn’t get on for a little while after you got there. And I finally saved my money and went to the phone company and got a phone installed in our house. And I remember paying for it for, probably when I was a junior and maybe even a senior. Then it was up to my folks to take over after that. But a phone was a big thing back then too.

Dalton: So you two didn’t much talking on the phone in your courting?

C. Nielsen: No, no. Um, Farrell was in high school in Weston. Westside high school and I was in the Preston high school. And so—

F. Nielsen: Preston, Idaho, Weston, Idaho.

C. Nielsen: And so Farrell and some of his friends would come up and date some of the girls up there. Farrell dated one of my friends so I knew who he was when we were about what? Juniors.

F. Nielsen: Juniors.

C. Nielsen: Juniors in high school. But I didn’t date Farrell until after he came home from his mission. I had a friend that I dated a little bit and was leaving on a mission. And he had a girlfriend named Kaleen and mine’s Coleen. Little difference in spelling but, no we didn’t do an awful lot talking on the—I guess you know we’d call and we made dates but we didn’t chat for a long time on the phone. Did we?

F. Nielsen: No.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I'm sure, just like my vacations of yesteryear, I'll get bored and wish school was back in very quickly. But right now:


Monday, May 31, 2010

I suck at teh interwebs

I just realized that you can see my last memorial day post on the front page of this blog. That's how little I update. I'm no good at this thing. I did team write a blog-post at Divine Comedy's page and it's kindof almost funny, so yay for me.

School is half kicking my trash right now, but in a few weeks when spring semester is over I'll have so much free time I won't know what to do with myself. So lucky for you two people that read my blog, you'll have more stuff to read.

Happy Memorial Day. In our of it, read this wikipedia page. It's about John William Finn, the first medal of honor recipient during WWII. He got it for doing what Cuba Gooding Jr. did in Pearl Harbor, except he did it while getting shot. He passed away this last Thursday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


So my good friend Ayumi showed me a blog called jennyology. Whoever writes it (I'm assuming a "Jenny" of some sort) created some amazing valentines based on Lost (and a couple from 24). For example, she made both of these:
Brilliant. I'm a fan. In fact, I'm such a fan that I decided to make a few more, based off other shows. Mine aren't nearly as good, but maybe you'll find one you like. I don't expect you to know what they're all from.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

And the Chocolate Rain guys sings a Christmas classic:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I just don't get this new fangled interbox machine.

I consider myself pretty hip and cool on the interwebs. I know about the youtubes and the viral videos and such.

But I do not get twitter.

And yes, I'm in advertising. I've attended quite a few forums and presentations on how twitter and other micro-blogging can help a brand. You want to know my take? It's extremely overhyped. Unless you're product fills a very specific, heretofore empty niche market, it isn't that helpful.

And that's just businesses.

For normal people, WTF? It's even worse than a facebook status message, because facebook lets you use more than 160 characters (and gives you an excuse to write in the third person). No, I'll tell you what twitter is. But I'll give you a couple hints first.

"eating breakfast."
"I'm mowing my lawn."
"Brother just set the couch on fire. brb."

Guessed it yet? This one will do it for you.
"I'm away from my computer right now."

That's right! Twitter has been around for a long time, in the form of an AIM away message.


Yes, and if you're an Iranian getting the crap beat out of you by your government, that's great. But for the rest of you, have fun with your away messages.