Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Ambassador Theresa A. Tull
TULL: Oh, yes. Oh, from the time I was a child. Really on my father's knee, reading the war news. We would sit around the dinner table during war, discuss the war, discussed what was happening in Europe, what was happening nationally. I remember a discussion of labor unions and the pros and cons of labor unions. That was when John L. Lewis was viewed by many as disrupting the war effort, you know, with coal mine strikes. I was always interested in political affairs, influenced by my father. In those days families ate together. In our house it was a fun, educational experience.
Q: How about the 1960 Kennedy Nixon political process? Did you get involved in that?
TULL: That was the first political campaign that I got really personally involved in. I was what they call a Citizen for Kennedy and volunteered out of the Philadelphia office after work. I saw Kennedy come into Philadelphia at the airporshook his hand — and also saw Nixon go by our office downtown in Philadelphia. Some people said, nobody's going to look at him. I said, I'm going to look at him, he's the candidate, he might win. I went out and I didn't wave, I just stood there. It was right outside the Kennedy office, so he kind of laughed and waved at us anyway. No, I got very involved in that.
That was the first election I could vote in for president. Earlier, I was devastated when Adlai Stevenson lost to Eisenhower in 1952. I was young and couldn't believe that that could happen. I remember as a senior in high school in American History class we didn't have a nun for that class. We had a very nice, very intelligent layman teacher of history. We got into a lot of fervent discussions back and forth about the election. Sometimes we'd go into class and some of the students would say, Theresa, ask him a question. Ask him a question and get him off the track. We would really go at him and it was good. I mean he enjoyed it, too. I was respectful and so was he, but we would have real good political discussions during about the respective merits and position of Stevenson and Eisenhower.
Q: Yes. Well, then.
TULL: I should say, too my mother was active. She frequently worked at the polls anytime there was an election in town. She was a poll worker, and was very interested in and well-influenced abut political developments.
Q: Did any of your brothers or sisters go onto college?