Friday, April 22, 2011
The Archaeology of Home with Katharine Greider
Katharine Greider: I was actually sort of reluctant to write my own story. But I was fascinated with the history and ideas of home and I knew I would need to bring in my own voice and share the experience or the rest of the story would seem disembodied. It is not traditional history, it is about ordinary people chosen by a kind of lottery--people who happened to have lived at this spot. It actually exalts ordinary people, which we all are. In any memoir I think the writer hopes that people will recognize their own humanity in the writing. That's true of most literature.
Tenement Museum: Your story is sort of like the private home version of what the Tenement Museum is about. We all uncover the layers of stories, histories, lives beneath the surface to gain insights to the ways things were and how they are now. Do you agree?
Tenement Museum: Your discussions of home are deeply moving. Do you have a different sense of home now, and how do you feel about the fact that a new apartment building now exists where yours did?
Katharine Greider: The building on 7th Street was the first ever built on that spot. But I know that spot has to be used by people, and the building as it was just couldn't serve that purpose any longer. It was at the end of its useful life. As I started to see some of the stories that unwound there, I felt that so much was passing away with the building. I wanted to make a vessel that could hold some of those memories.