That 30 minute interview turned out be over two hours long.
It's now one o'clock and I just returned home.
There was a team of four, a cameraman, producer, a young woman whose role I never quite figured out, and a sound man. They'd borrowed the mayor's conference room for the shoot, and set up enough lights to raise my anxiety level to unknown heights! The interviewer, James, was easy to work with, however, and though it felt forced and a little clumsy, we managed to get through it without incident.
I was seated on a low-backed chair in front of a large poster of the traditional Norman Rockwell Rosie in bandana with muscles flexing. Since it was out of my line of vision, I wasn't intimidated by it. I'd really never identified with the image; a point made quite clear in the interview.
When it ended the producer asked if I would be willing to go with them to the memorial at Marina Bay park for some additional footage. We drove over in a few minutes and there I walked and paused and looked down and read plaques and scanned pictures until the crew was satisfied with what they had.
As I understand it, this is all a part of the MSNBC D-Day coverage that will be carried all this weekend. They will televise live from tomorrow's NPS Reception Center dedication after completing 3 more interviews with Rosies who will be attending. What was filmed today will be "looped" to run throughout the weekend but will have live pieces edited in as needed. That probably means that there will be more than one opportunity to regret a variety of things, "...why did I say that? That color green does terrible things to my complexion, why did I wear that top? My, how old I'm getting! Are those NEW wrinkles? And, why didn't I sit up straight? "Those rimless eyeglasses are not good. The black frame would have looked nicer. Yatatayatatayata!
The sound man was African American. I'd assumed that they were all from the east coast. Wrong. He was obviously local. At the end of the interview, just as we were about to leave for the Rosie Memorial -- he (Vern) asked quietly and with a grin, "... aren't you Ms. Reid from Reid's Records?" Matters not who the world claims me to be, or how impressive the resume becomes -- the identity of note is as the proprietor of that little Berkeley store, and the years spent there. Having that reality check made the time spent later on camera at the park a piece of cake. Had he spoken up sooner, that earlier interview would have been a good deal more relaxed, I'm sure. It's been many years since I walked out from behind that counter for the last time and turned the business over to David. That it's still a time remembered by this man was comforting to me. And, he looked half my age, at that, so that life may by now have become the subject of myth in the hood? Makes me wonder how many other African Americans have created non-traditional institutions without realizing it? It might be an interesting project to begin to catalog some of that.
As I've often joked, "...didn't know that I'd live long enough to BE black history." But apparently I have.
Watch for me this weekend on your local MSNBC cable channel.
Now I need to alert my kids and grandkids to grandma's latest escapade so that they can set up their VCRs for taping. Would hate for them to have it flash by without warning...