Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William Primosch
PRIMOSCH: I didn't have any particular strong interests. I liked to play sports, although I wasn't on a school team. I wasn't good enough. But I did like to play sports. In grade school, we started at a young age playing football, basketball, and baseball. All the kids in the neighborhood played. I got interested in reading at a fairly young age and particularly in high school. For some reason, I got fascinated by foreign cultures and peoples even at a fairly young age. I thought it was very natural at the time, but in retrospect I guess was a bit unusual.
Q: A lot of our colleagues, myself included, found the same thing. Do you recall any books or authors that grabbed you at that time?
PRIMOSCH: For some reason, I got intrigued fairly early on, a senior in high school, in Dostoevsky and some of the Russian writers. I guess this peaked my interest in foreign cultures and in living overseas.
Q: In these areas that were strongly ethnic, were you picking up ethnic politics, like the Slovaks didn't talk to the Czechs or something like that or was it transmitted to your generation?
PRIMOSCH: It's interesting that German ethnics very quickly assimilate. You'll find this if you talk to people of German origin. While we had a German club in Cleveland and my father went to it occasionally, he was not terribly interested. Germans don't tend to preserve their ethnic heritage as much as other cultures. Just about any other European culture has a stronger sense of ethnic identity. So, that kind of ethnicity did not come through in our family. I did, however, note it in other kids that I hung around witfor example, the Serbs and Croatians who lived in our neighborhood. Everyone knew that they didn't get along and were very hostile towards one another..
Q: How did you find the Marianist brothers who were running the school? Were they expanding your horizons?
PRIMOSCH: Yes. I think overall they provided a pretty good education. In some respects, for example, in terms of fundamentals, my high school education was better than many schools today that have a more sophisticated curriculum but somehow overlook the basics of math, science, history and government. But Cathedral Latin wasn't by any means an elite school. The kids going to the school had rather limited ambitions. I would say about half the class went on to college. By no means, however, was it expected that everyone would go on to college, as it is today in most schools.
Q: You graduated from high school when?