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What about your outside activities in school. I'm captain of the chain of information. I want to research your underarms too. I don't want to know when I'm treasurer ever thought I would cry to outlive me. This is Ben park. The program is one in the series coming of age about American youth today. The voices of young people in their teens make up the bulk of these programs. The girl you just heard leads an active and happy life on the surface. There is however a problem in this girl's life which is becoming increasingly common in the 20th century. The problem is that of an alcoholic parent. At the close of the program we've invited the comments of Dr. Douglas Pratt a psychiatrist who works with young people for the moment. We'll hear more of the girl's happier side. You said you had a boyfriend steady boyfriend. Yes I'm going with him. It'll be trainers November 29 boys.
Well he's very well liked in school and he doesn't do poorly on the subbies But yeah he's a co-captain football team and doing for birthdays and eat at the practices probably until about 6:30 or 7:00 which he doesn't give them very much time to do their study which you have to go home and eat. And by then he's so tired he doesn't feel like doing it's work. But this year I think he's doing better than he has in previous years and he comes from an average family like mine. His dad has been very sick he's had asked me and but his parents are very lovely people and I really enjoy going over to his home. You're the oldest. Yes I am. What was your dad do when he's working. Bartender problems work. I'd say months as your mother always worked. No she hasn't
she's worked off and whenever we eat she had to like my my dad is the kind of person who takes to drinking which can be very bad in a family. He just what he thinks is right. He goes the lonely and the bride tending I mean you're working right and people come in who you know and I ask you if you want to drink and if you say no no. Theo Well he doesn't want to bother with me he doesn't want to drink with me and then if he says yes then wonderingly through another and just goes on and on and it's very hard for a family when a person in the family drink as everybody took of your mother leaving you. Well when I did Tim we did leave him for a considerable amount of time. We stayed with my grandmother in my other grandmother and then my my dad would call my mother up and he'd say Oh I'm so sorry for everything won't you please come back. And like a silly
looser my mom came back and then she had my two other brothers and it wasn't so hard for the two of us to just pack my things and go because when all of this started happening I was about 8 or 9 years old. But now that we have my two little brothers it's quite harder because now the four of us have to pack up and go. If he gets very nice in we have to stay in someone else's home. He says some terribly awfully things that really a normal person wouldn't say. And it was getting quite bad so I moved up to with my grandmother which is his his mother and I think staying up there. Well I just came up this past Sunday and my mom with both to go to see a lawyer about having him put into a hospital or trying to have something done to him because he's just like one of the others or just a nervous wreck about it and I've had to go through it all in my life and I tell my mom that they really shouldn't have to. So I hope something can be done because it's hard.
And also when my dad does start are you with my mother he has a terrible temper and he just reigns at the top of his lungs and the people you can even hear it outside is really embarrassing and probably the neighbors have talked about him you know to maybe one of their friends or relatives and have said how boisterous he is in Loudon and it's probably gotten all around the town that. He's really not the type of man that you know if you can't get someone better you would hire because it makes you feel too good because a couple times. My mom has signed charges on him because he just wouldn't keep quiet and he was just keeping everyone awake. My poor brothers were going to school with nervous stomachs and they really shouldn't have to go through things like that. So my a couple times my mom did have to call the police.
And one time well rather two times she did sign charges and my dad was fine they were taken to court and then the second time my mother signed charges my dad pleaded with her to not to carry it through. So she called up the judge and told her that she'd rather she'd like to drop the charges. But she still had to go into court and I I pay a fee of $10 I think it was for the cost of court because she said they had made an appointment with her and where they could have tried someone else she had to pay for that time. Well it's very much for your mother to keep the family together. Yeah. How do you and your dad get along. Well we used to get along perfectly he used to get mad at my mom and him and I would still get along good but now it seems as though he's turned against me completely. And whenever he sees me he seems to always have to argue.
So that's why I've been staying up with my grandmothers thinking that maybe you know not since having him see me there would be better for my mom and brothers but I guess you miss being your mother your brothers very much. What do you do about that. I suppose you don't we can do something. You know my grandmother told me that the very best thing we could do I went home last night to get the rest of my clothes and my grandmother said the best thing to do was to stay up with her for a while and not see my parents at all but I did call my mother called me at night and she usually comes up on Saturday nights and spends the night at my grandmother so I see her and my two brothers whom you say your brothers are nervous and everything. Are they doing well or badly in school or doing well. So it hasn't hurt and I don't have it. What about you if you put any pressures on you that you can feel another way. Well for the past two weeks it has I think because I've been sort of a sort of under a
strain. I've been thinking about my mom having to go to work with sometimes my dad will say that he usually watches my brothers after school and sometimes he'll say to my mother well you have to have somebody else to watch them with today. So she goes to work wondering if when they come home from school will he be watching them or will he just you know let them go where every wants to go. Last year my little brother they stayed up with my grandmother the one I'm thinking with now for a whole year because he was so nervous he just couldn't stand it and he went up to my grandmothers and said his daddy didn't love him and and I just felt so bad for my grandmother having stayed there because she'd been lonely because my granddad died two years ago so she likes that company. My grandmother is she I think she's 71 or 72 and she really looks remarkable for her age but she feels so sorry for our family because of the fact that my dad drinks
so much because she she remembers him ever since he's been little and how good he was and then how he turned to drinking and how it just set him to be a different person. Yes and girlfriends What are you talking about. Well I have one very good friend I told her about everything you might say. I told her about she's a co-captain of our cheerleaders. So we work together a lot about cheerleading and we talk about cheerleading and she's going with the fill that she's going on a fourth year going with him she's been going with him since she was a freshman. And we talk about how funny our boyfriends can be at times and we talk about school she'd like to go to college. And she I don't know just everything. You talk to her about problems at home. Well I usually try to keep them from people because I'm not really proud
of my dad too much. But last night I did tell her a few things about my dad I sometimes I'll I'll kid in and I'll say my dad doesn't want me home and he told me to move out. And everybody laughed because they think I'm only kidding but little did they know it was true. So last night we were I was at my grandmother's and we were just talking about it and I told him that it wasn't I wasn't kidding that it was really true that I was getting so terribly nervous that I had to come up and live with my grandmother for a while. Do you have a chance to talk with your grandmother and I or do you talk with her alone. Well I mean I wouldn't say the things to her that I would say to my mom like my mother and I are very close and any little problem I have I always bring it to her. And I've never kept anything behind my mother's back I've always told him. I mean I never felt ashamed to tell him anything I've ever done. And she's a very understanding person and your
mom you said that you know I've been ashamed to tell her anything. What do you mean by that I mean what kinds of things you told her about that you might be saying tell somebody else which one should tell her. Well if I if I like sometimes I've told her that Rich and I have talked about marriage and I I don't go like some of the girls in school will blab it grab it. Tell everyone that. Awh I'm going to get married in a while this kind of stuff in and I think that marriage and things like that should be kept to yourself. You know I mean you shouldn't go telling everybody how much you like a person because people don't want to hear that all the time so I go home and tell my mother sometimes when Rich and I have an argument I feel quite bad about it and I go home and tell her and she would she be willing to listen any time and she'd tell me that I'm only young and not to take it so seriously. And then we usually talk about my dad a lot like she confides in me and I confide in her.
And he's the main subject of our conversations most of the time. Did you ever think back your life before your little brothers were were born. What was it like around the house today. Whenever my dad got got mad at me since I've been older my mother said that he I was the one he loved most out of all of us. And when I was younger my dad was in the bartending business and he drank quite a bit as I had told you before. And sometimes he was nasty to my mother but he was younger than naturally and he could control his temper and control the drink better than he can now that he's become older and life wasn't so hectic because my mom and I's history. It's got along perfectly well and we lived in a little house and it was only four rooms in a bath and it was the tiniest little thing and we only had to pay $45 a month rent and and during this time he was really making quite good money. So we we had a
really you know quite easy and I guess it's whenever my dad has money enough to spare and to buy the things he'd like to for us and for himself he seems to be much better. But then when when there's a lack of money he seems to get nervous and tense about it you know where the money's going to come for the bills and everything and he just seems to jump at everyone when your dad is out of work. You're going to get him. Not too well for the simple reason that. While the unemployment fee is $35 a week and that's not too much including with what my mother gets me to raise a family of five and to clothe them and feed them and shelter them in everything and whenever my dad would ask her to pay part for the rent or something she'd get quite mad because she she'd always throw it up to his face why don't you go out and get a job and and really for about the past month and a half he his true ride and tried
and I guess people look at him and he does look older than what he really is and they probably figure why is a man of his age and with a family of five out of work and for so long you know and they probably hesitate about hiring him. When he was out of work to get angry at your mother. Yes. Because he'd always win every every job she's ever had because of whether he's hes been working or not. See I believe my dad is very jealous of my mother. He always says well oh this place where you're working will hire anybody. And it's really not the nicest place in the whole world to work but then when he gets a job it's different. I mean the place where he works is just ideal like there's no other place there like it. And I really think he's jealous of you know almost everything she does. He feels it's harder for him to get a job than it is for. Yes he thinks that it's easy for
a G.I. a veteran to and a woman to get a job. Then it is just you know an ordinary man who has never been in the service or anything. Does he feel in general that the world is kind of opposed to him or against him or something. I don't think the whole world as a whole. I think it's just well he tried to get jobs and I guess none of them worked out. He tried to get sales work and everything and and it just seemed that either somebody beat him to it or else they'd call him up and say they have found someone else. Later I arranged to talk with her mother. Thank you all. What kind of life you hope for. She has a happy marriage and. Can do. Things that she would really like to do. I just had to have been right. I think that's the most important. She would like to have a nice home. And also. Wish that for.
Children someday. She's very sensible minded. For. An 18 year old to have worries for the country. And I have tried to teach your children to be very independent. And that as far as hurting someone back to able to think and do things for them sounds. Did you discuss some things with you and other things with your husband or does she discussed everything with you is it worth it. She just discusses everything with me. She would like this. We haven't had the problem with my husband. She basically she loves him very much. But at times you know he I mean you couldn't discuss anything with him because I'm personally but I'm a very bad habit. And. So I think some. Degree of. Learning to comply completely in me which way should be that way but. I mean I can't see any other way out. Well how does he feel about the fact that they don't. For him but for them terribly.
Resentful. Tells them that he hates him and things like that. What's their reaction. That they know when he's been drinking. Let's put it back like. I think. Basically they probably are looking very much like just. Get very very you know only when he is drinking. He thinks that when you speak to Mormons that they'll quiet down sick. And I haven't heard of any of them to do that you know where you was he brought up particularly strictly himself. Yes I think so. I think growing up problems all go back to their childhood. He wasn't allowed to play baseball or Sunday. Which. He didn't actually pay to play baseball but he was elected me edge of the team he would just like to have accepted it and couldn't and he still talks about. Work because his parents for instance don't know his mother I think he resents his mother to this day. What kinds of things does he resent being strict. But yeah.
He would be the same way with his boys. You said that you will start to drink when his problems become too much for these problems that become too much for. If he has an army with this lie there and upsets and what kinds of arguments is here with his mother about me. Making the children. And. She thinks they're regular little boys I think has problems. Also I have not been to many things. That he should. He tries to hide his feelings which are bottled up in some way. You know I hope as you go along with your oldest daughter from rain when he drinks and he accuses us of all sorts of things which are true. We want to stay in the same room with him. What kinds of things does you. Talking about doing things behind these. Simple little things that that ordinarily he wouldn't even be interested in like fitting into your fitting your dress or things that he wouldn't be interested in. But.
When he's drunk you seem to become more important. If you're feeling address this makes him angry because I'm in there doing it. He doesn't want to gather data. Why's he feels left out. This is when he's drinking and when he. Isn't drinking. He doesn't even notice. He hides his drinking from me because I I disapprove so still. And never see a bottle. I know he hides. Has he ever tried to correct that situation. Period. Yes. Does she ask for any help from you when correcting it. Yes. What happens. I contacted the AA and one of my supervisors. Her husband isn't a bender and they've offered to go with us. And I approached him and one. Time he was practically ready you know.
Just when to make the break to go. I had. Twice come to. The place where I was that I. Was you know actually threatening me bodily harm to some. Yes. Well to. Me I should think you should know. I'm sure you. Talk about that one. Quite so. Yes. Explain to me. Oh yes many submarines here ashamed doesn't want to hear back. Next to bring a tape recorder. The money gets in tape from just two men typically memories completely surprise. To him. And I think it's a very good idea. To make you my character. You are surely the kind of hope that you would talk to people to talk anyway. Yes. I'm with my friends is a social worker. We've talked with the judge
about. It. And they suggested we need. A divorce. I don't want a divorce I don't believe him. Because I would I would never. Get remarried. I am concerned about my two boys. Right. Now. I don't think it's good to leave my theory and nervous tension. I don't think it makes it eternal. And which I think is in my way of thinking. Because I have. An IQ test myself to most any. See on my feelings and I think that's very very important. To comment on this program in the serious coming of age we invited Dr. Douglas Pratt associate psychiatrist in the Columbia University Health Service. Dr. Prout first listened to the program and then made these informal comments.
I think of the circumstances she seems to have made are really remarkable I've just been released on the basis of the evidence. She's done well in school. She. Has a good relationship with her boyfriend. She has a good relationship with her grandmother. And she's very close to her mother whom she confide in. The future is. A good deal dependent on her mother because. She needs her mother the mother as a kind of rock on which it appears her security is based. And I think what happened to her mother that might shake that security. And of course in her marriage she may continue to run by. Perhaps a little bit more on than is entirely compatible with. The Closers kind of relationship with her husband. One has the impression that
the rock like character of a mother if one may call it that in turn comes from the fact that her mother. Had. As she said a happy childhood. She was apparently secure in her own family. And this is given her mother a kind of. The strength of. So that in the midst of all this turbulence in the family she can remain calm. And in this way the family can. Take the cue from her and not get to just go although there are already signs of strain as the girl tells us to take reappearing in her younger brothers. It's perhaps important to. Think about what possible effect. This kind of background may have upon these two boys. I think that it
is obviously. Important. That Roys have some type of father. Or father image with which they can identify. And. This seems to be really lacking in this family. Now this may lead to trouble in the future. Because a boy who grows up. That king a good identification with with his father may have difficulty in his relationship with girls in the sense that he may really never feel like a man in that relationship. Furthermore of course. This lack of male identification may be intensified. If his mother is a particularly possessive type or if she tries to.
Fill the gap left by the. Absence of the Father. This may make for even stronger identification with a female figure. Now in this case. The mother has said that she has made every effort to make the children feel independent. And this may be so. And may have the effect of. Throwing the boys more into their peer. That is they may drive more of their strength from their association with their friends. Now this we know is a certainly a tendency and in our world in the contemporary period the parents. Particularly in this American culture tend to be
superseded rather early by a group of peers and it is from these that the child rather early begins to get his cues as to how he should handle himself in. Society. This question of separation or divorce it's a ticklish one certainly. On the basis of the evidence here what kinds of comments might you make a boat. The effectiveness. Of such a move on her part or the booty. Well I don't think probably it would be anything one would try to push into. There are too many. Many reasons. Motional. Feelings towards her husband. Her desire not to abandon him. The morality of. Breaking a marriage.
All these things I think are the kinds of. Questions which she needs to. Think about and maybe talk about in some kind of. Counseling setting. If she doesn't. Believe in divorce she may she might still come around to the idea that separation was necessary in order to give these boys at least some years in a less troubled atmosphere. Next week we'll hear the voice of another young girl who also has an alcoholic parent. Unlike what you have just heard this 14 year old girl has faced her father's alcoholism and has been actively participating in an organization designed to help her understand her father's problems as well as her own coming of age is a series about American youth in the 20th century produced for the National Educational Television and Radio Center by the Center for mass communication of
Coming of age
Joanne goes back to Grandma
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Columbia University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Whenever her father gets drunk Joanne is sent to Grandma for a while in, this, another "coming of age" vignette.
Explores the thoughts and feelings of American youth in the 20th century. Writer-director Ben Park talks with teenagers and parents, teachers and friends.
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Director: Park, Ben
Interviewee: Pratt, Dallas
Producing Organization: Columbia University
Writer: Park, Ben
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-21-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:39
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Chicago: “Coming of age; Joanne goes back to Grandma,” 1961-04-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 5, 2021,
MLA: “Coming of age; Joanne goes back to Grandma.” 1961-04-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 5, 2021. <>.
APA: Coming of age; Joanne goes back to Grandma. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from