Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Nicholas A. Rey
REY: Well in those days it was O and Lionel trains. I desperately wanted HO but they were more expensive, and I had the old Lionel type. But it was a big thing in my life. That was big. I was not big into athletics ever. I have become more so on my sort of semi retirement, spending a lot of time in the fitness center, but boy I sure never did that as a child. So that was not in my life. I played the drums in a jazz band in high school.
REY: I didn't do a lot of reading. I did some. I was very interested in art, music, not in the sense of spending a lot of time on it, but I enjoyed going to museums, going to concerts, learning about things of that sort. So that sort of turned me on a bit. But I never had any massive enthusiasm or interests.
Q: Each family is different, but was your family rather ethnically Polish? You know did you sit around and talk about things in Poland and that sort of thing?
REY: Very good question. My parents who came to the United States in their late 30s, and I always had tremendous respect for the fact that when I hit the late 30s I said, “My God, how would I like to go to even Australia, but how would I like to go to some place like Japan, some whole new country with a whole new language, etc.” My parents bent over backwards in getting much involved, getting me especially, not them so much, but me involved in the local community and local life in America. Both of them spoke English before they came. My mother had an English nanny most of her life, so she spoke absolutely fluent English. My father spoke excellent German, and learned English I guess OJT in his life prior to coming. He was very rusty, very accented, but he did speak very fluent English by the time he had a few years here. But they kept friendships with the �migr�s of their generation, the people who would come over to the United States. And I would say there were many immigrations of Poles to the United States going way back to the 19th century as you know. The one that my parents and that I was in was very unique because it was small, and it was largely the intelligentsia. They were all people who knew each other and had cross married in the past, etc., because they were the people with the ability to leave. They kept in touch even if they weren't close with each other physically. I mean they kept in touch by phone, by letter, one thing or another. So my parents had an ersatz Polish life of that sort through their friends, but we were not involved in a Polish church. We did not have the typical Polish-American kind of background that a lot of Polish-Americans from different emigrations have.