Chronology of interviews

Good transcription is essential for understanding important themes in Càlig history, but so is correct labeling of interview tapes.  While I enjoyed doing the interviews immensely, I would become easily distracted after an interview if someone dropped by or I stepped out into the street and began talking with other people and would get back to labeling somewhat later.  The only interviews that have presented problems were with two anarchists whom I recorded for over twenty hours.  They were so hard to understand when I began to transcribe them that it took many, many hours for each hour of interview.  I didn’t ask anyone to help me because I felt they were talking to me and didn’t want others to know.

After transcribing a number of the interviews, I relented when one young woman asked if she could help me out. I gave her a short interview, but I didn’t explain the importance of transcribing exactly what was said.   Her transcription was more like note-taking, at times adding what she knew from village lore.  Sergio typed up her notes and I simply read them and accepted them.

Last week I was looking for quotes on the 20s and noticed the interviewee had talked about religion in the 1920s in the village.  One statement struck me because it seemed opposite of what I knew to be the reality of the era.  Fabian and I decided to digitize and transcribe.  It turned out to be one of the best interviews this man had given because he had come by himself that day and his  friend didn’t distract him.

We delighted in the unfolding of his stories.  He and his colleagues had defied the church in the twenties and set up a night school to teach young men how to read and write and how to dance.  The priest would criticize their actions from the pulpit, because he suspected they were also learning anticlerical ideas.  These young men would be able to read anarchist literature that was passed around in the late twenties and during the Republic.  Many of them would fight against the Nationalist uprising, almost all of them would be incarcerated, and many were killed while in jail.

He also talked at length about agricultural cooperatives in Càlig during the twentieth century.  When the village needed a wine cooperative in the ’50s because the buyers were paying absurd prices for an abundant crop, he and a few other leftists were chosen to organize the wine growers.  A few years later when they needed a building of their own, there wasn’t as much support but they persevered.  In the end he and his friend were honored for their contributions to cooperativism in Càlig.

While listening and transcribing this tape, which was labeled 11/4/91,  we realized that the interviewee was talking about the procession in honor of the Virgen of Socorro on the 6th of September.   Like a good detective, Fabian examined the cassette and its case for clues and sure enough in faint script was 9/4.  The problem was there was another tape from 9/4.  So we listened to that tape and again heard references to the upcoming procession  We decided it had to be from 9/5.    Moreover much of this interview  was about the Catholic church.  Because the new village government was going to participate in the procession, he feared  that the division between the village government and the church which had been established in the Republic and again in the Democratic transition would be erased.

Even though topics are repeated in their interviews, sometimes the date of the interview is significant because of what is occurring in the village or in the world which prompts certain commentary.   As I go back and study these interviews, I also realize,  through the chronology of the interviews, when I began to put some of the  pieces of the puzzle of village history together.


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