Decatur

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Um, definitely driving home last night, I was jamming to “Hotline Bling” [by Drake] because that’s what was on the radio. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

In 2013 I hiked the Appalachian Trail. So it took a solid six months to walk over 2,000 miles, and you know, living in the woods for that long is definitely going to change your perspective on life. It’s the hardest and definitely most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life. North to south, yeah, so it was definitely more of an isolated experience, because when you go south to north, you have like these cohorts that move up with you. But it was just me and one other person mainly, seeing all of those people passing us the other way. It made for a very solitary experience. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Definitely honesty. I think that’s why we hold friends close, to be able to talk to us in a really honest way and to give us perspective that maybe acquaintances wouldn’t be brave enough to give us, because they’re afraid to say something that’s difficult. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Oh. Apathy creeping in at the corners. There’s just so much stimulation and really difficult things going on, that I think it’s a really human reaction to just want to shut down. So I’m trying to keep the apathy at bay. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Communication. Yeah, I think that’s probably a pretty standard answer. You’ve got to be able to communicate in a similar way, otherwise everything’s going to break down.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Definitely the Pacific Northwest. It’s where I was born and raised, and I mean, no matter what’s going on, if you’re just sitting overlooking the Pacific. I mean like, the Columbia River Gorge, just one sunrise, and you’re whole life pretty much resets. 

 

What do you fear most?

The death of my best friend. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

I’m not an astronaut, so no. [laughs] Jesus. Because I was so sure I was going to be an astronaut. I’m still not completely ruling it out. I’m within the age range and the education level that I can be to get on as a mission specialist. So we’ll see. I’m going back to graduate school next year. Let me get my master’s and Ph.D. under my belt, and then I’ll be fully qualified. Yes. But molecular biology, c’mon. But yeah, for the most part, yeah. I have done so much and seen so much and been so many places. I don’t think my childhood self would’ve thought that I would’ve traveled and experienced so much, so I think that’s definitely something to be like, “Oh man, you didn’t just sit at home. You’ve seen really large amounts of the world.”

 

What’s the key to life?

I think it is finding satisfaction and helping others. There are always going to be people around, and if you can find some form of happiness in making other people’s lives better, you will continually, for the rest of your life, have something incredibly awesome to do. Yes. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Creating a bond with my family in the northwest that I never had the maturity to before. I’m 29 now. I’m going to go back to Portland, and I’m going, I’m going to get close with the family that I was never close with. I’m going to do it. 

 

What is more important in your life: money, family, or your job?

Family. Yeah. If you have one. [laughs] Absolutely family. Yeah. It’s the only thing that’ll actually last for your entire life. C’mon, you’ve read the book, the things everybody says on their death bed. It’s family, through and through. Every human will tell you. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

Can I phone a friend? Give me like two minutes to really think about that. If money wasn’t an object, what would you be doing with the rest of your life that would keep you satisfied? 


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Alexandra

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Probably to my daughter, so she can go to sleep last night. I don’t know what it’s called. The lullaby song. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

Probably to Michoacan, Mexico last year in July. Just to visit family. That’s basically why I go. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

For them to be trustworthy and responsible. Trustworthy because that way I can talk to them and tell them everything without them telling everybody else. And responsible just so they’re good models, good people. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

I don’t have a big problem right now. No. Everything’s fine. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Respect and trust. Respect just, they treat you good, and you know that you trust them with everything. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Every time I’m with all my family together, that’s when I’m always happy. Mostly for holidays. 

 

What do you fear most?

Losing my family, my parents. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yeah, because I have a good life right now. I have a good job, good family, and everything. 

 

What’s the key to life?

Staying positive and getting all your goals done. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Probably studying for going to college and getting a better career, a long-term career. Nursing. That’s what I want to go for. 

 

If money wasn’t an object, what would you be doing with the rest of your life that would keep you satisfied? 

Probably just spending time with my family. Enjoying life. Play volleyball. That’s what I would be doing. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

What can you do to make the world a better place for everyone?


Debbie

 

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Oh, lately it was “Hello” [by Adele]. I just sing that all the time just because I like the song. This morning I sang it. I’m kind of stuck on it. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

I guess my journey was always to have kids and have a family. That was always the one thing that I wanted, you know. I wanted to have kids of my own and just live life, I guess. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty. Not talking behind your back to other people. A friend to me is somebody that you can confide in, and that they’re not going to use it against you, hurt you. I hate drama. I don’t want to talk about other people, but you like to confide in somebody and get something off your chest, and you want to be able to know that they’re not going to go tell everybody about it. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Money. Lack of it. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Communication. To be able to talk about everything. To be friends. To like each other in everything that they do. To be willing to accept, if you don’t like it, that’s something they want.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I think when all my family was together. Cousins and aunts and uncles and kids and grandma and grandpa. That was the happiest point in my life, is just when everybody was there, my whole family was there. It was always every Christmas with my aunt and uncle, and their kids and my kids, and grandma and grandpa. Christmastimes were always special because everybody was together. That was the one time of the year. You might not see them all year long, but Christmastime you always got together. 

 

What do you fear most?

Losing my mom because she’s ill, and I know the day’s coming. She’s been my rock. That scares me most, and how I’m going to deal with it. Yeah, that does. Because that was somebody I could always count on. I don’t even want to think about that. [laughs] 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

My childhood self? No. No. Because, you know, when you’re a child, you’re always, “I’m going to grow up to be a doctor,” or “I’m going to grow up to do this.” I can’t say that I ever had anything that I wanted to be. I never wanted to be a doctor. But I always wanted to have money to be able to travel, to have a big house. So no, I would say no. Because I’m in a bar, working. But I’m doing it for a reason. So I would say no.

 

What’s the key to life?

To make yourself happy. To make yourself happy. To do what you got to do to make yourself happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. As long as you’re happy with yourself. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

What it won’t be is to get my bachelor’s degree. Just to know that I finished, that I got a degree in something would be a big accomplishment, because I don’t think it will ever happen. But you never know. 

 

What can you do to make the world a better place for everyone?

Something small that, I mean, I just probably started doing within the last year: recycling. That’s a big deal. Where’s all this stuff going? What’s going to happen for our kids? 

 

What should I ask the next person?

How could you help just one person make their day better?


Ellen

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Oh gee. Last week. It was an old song. “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.” That was with Jennifer Jones. Do you remember that? No. You’re too young.

 

What is your favorite journey?

So many. Going to the mountains with my husband, in California. Making a weekend out of it. The one I remember most is in San Francisco. It’s always been that way. Our weekends were just walking through the woods and stuff. And traveling. I love to travel. from the Philippines to the United States. Then I went to the East Coast. And I went to the Midwest. That’s where my daughter lives. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty. I want them to be honest with me. If they’re not honest with me, then they’re not honest with themselves, and they’re not honest with everybody. I hate hypocrites. I’d rather you tell me you don’t like me than pretend. Then I’ll really dislike you. You have to be honest with me in order for me to believe you. If you do that to me once, that’s it. That means you’re going to lie to me every time. I know that’s not true, but that’s how it will feel. If they lie to me now, they lie again later. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

None. [smiles] It’s been a good life. Like everybody else, you go through a lot of hardships, sorrows, but it’s everybody that’s that. I’ve been lucky. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Honesty. You got to be honest with them, whether it hurts or not. But you have to. Because how can you go on being friends when you know there’s deceit in it? The friends I have, which I can count here [holds up her hand], I can rely on them, and I know when they say something to me, it’s the truth. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I’m really most happy anywhere. but when I’m with my family, yes I am, that’s where I’m really happy. But they’re not here. They’re somewhere else. I see them maybe once every three, four years. Yeah. Right now, my daughter is in Hawaii. My son is in Guam. 

 

What do you fear most?

The dark. Yeah, I'm afraid of the dark. Otherwise I'm not afraid of a lot of things. You can’t see what’s in there. You don’t know who’s there. You don’t know whether they’re going to be friends or not. I have to see before I won’t be afraid. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yes, I think so. Like I said, I believe in honesty in people. I was taught that when I was growing up. And the nuns taught me that too. And it’s so simple. It’s no effort to be truthful. But why do people go out of their way to be deceitful and lie? I don’t understand. 

 

What’s the key to life?

That’s a hard question. I think being honest with yourself. That would be my answer. Because if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t have to worry about people not believing you. You don’t have to worry about anything if you’re truthful about yourself because you’ll always be speaking the truth. Whereas if you lie, you’ll have to remember, “What did I say before?”

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Just being nice to people. Helping people. I can’t do it here now. But I did a lot of charity work because I grew up in a convent with the sisters. They taught us that. It’s so simple. And yet people don’t do that. They kind of wonder, “Why am I not happy?” They go out of their way to seek happiness, and it’s right there, themselves. 

 

How could you help just one person make their day better?

That’s a tough question. Just helping them if they need it. Just knowing that I'm here when they need me, and they don’t have to worry about anything.

 

What should I ask the next person?

I want to know why some people just don’t get along.


Gary

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

It’d had to be classical rock. Oh, there’s a nurse here by the name of Angie. I tried to sing that song to her. Didn’t work out. “Angie,” by the Rolling Stones. It’d had to’ve been about three or four weeks ago. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

I like going to the old Civil War places. Been to quite a few of them. Gettysburg [Pennsylvania]. Oh god, probably, take a wild guess, probably 10 years ago. That’s the one they always talk about. That and Andersonville [Georgia]. I’ve been there two or three times. That was interesting. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

To be honest. I like to be honest. I don’t want somebody telling me something that’s a lie, and I tell it to somebody else, come to find out it was a lie. That’s kind of embarrassing. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Probably dying. I have nothing to leave my children. That bugs me. Quite a bit. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

There you go again. Lying. Not to lie. You find you a woman, you stay with her. You don’t go out with another woman. That’s stupid. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I was kind of happy when I got my divorce. [laughs] That was probably 10 years ago. I’m happy I found a place to live. I don’t want to be out there on the streets. That’s about it. 

 

What do you fear most?

Probably dying. I just don’t want to die, be laying in a room like my brother did for three or four days before they found him. I don’t want to let that happen to me. That’s about it. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Hm. No. He don’t have nothing. Lost everything on the divorce. Got to read them papers, boy. [laughs] Oh my childhood was rotten. Mother was an alcoholic. I think she was. Claimed she wasn’t. She’d bartend at a tavern, come home quiet a bit, you know, just about every night. Passed out. My father died about four months before I was born, so I never seen him. But I guess he used to drive an illegal beer truck. We were poor. Six of us slept in one bed. If you had to go to the bathroom, you lost your spot. [laughs] I didn’t ever want to put my kids through that. 

 

What’s the key to life?

I don’t know. Make friends and keep them. You got to be honest. I wasn’t no angel. The older I got, the better I got, though. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

To save my leg. Lose weight. I had a hole in my heel. They had to take my whole heel off, and now it’s growing back, but there’s a spot in the center that won’t let it reach. I had a sore, and my ex come over. She’s, “What’s the matter?” I said, “My heel hurts.” I said, “Hell, I can’t hardly walk on it.” She looked at it, and she said, “You got a hole in it.” She ran me out to the emergency room. The day after that day, they took my heel off. They did a good job, but it won’t close all the way. 

 

Why don’t some people just get along?

I agree with that. You’re going to have hotheads, I don’t care where you go. Or somebody’s going to start rumors. Not everybody likes everybody. Somebody’s going to get unliked. And they’re going to be the ones, you know, to get picked on. They just can’t get along. I don’t know. probably jealousy. You probably got a wad of money in your pocket, and they don’t, and they’re jealous of it. Jealousy is jealousy, that’s all there is to it. I don’t care where you go, you’re going to get it. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

I have a Christmas sock on my door. I want to know why it ain’t full. [laughs] I don’t know. I really don’t know. Hm. Yeah, I got a good question. I think it is. Why aren’t we over there fighting ISIS? That’s the only way you’re going to stop them.