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Leona Hotaling

June 18, 2015


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Britta Nielsen

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This oral history interview with Leona Hotaling was conducted on June 18, 2015, at her home at 247 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. Leona was born in 1958 in Greenport, NY as the oldest of three children. Both parents worked, and from an early age Leona and her sister had to help with housekeeping chores. After graduating from High School Leona earned an Associate’s Degree in Merchandising, worked in a clothing store and moved on to be trained as a nurse’s aid. She worked in this field until she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at age 31. As a result of the treatment, she lost her left lung as well as the use of her left arm. She has been recently diagnosed again with cancer and will soon undergo treatment and surgery.

Leona talks about her elementary school, the period of flourishing factories in town, the abundance of stores on Warren Street when she grew up, as well as ballparks, movie theaters, and bowling alleys. She describes her passion for cooking and her housekeeping practices, as well as her new hobby of jewelry making. The various challenges of living in Hudson as a cancer patient were a recurring theme: living on a limited income, she cannot afford a car and depends on the underdeveloped public transportation system in Hudson for trips to medical treatment facilities. The lack of grocery stores on Warren Street makes simple things such as buying food difficult. Leona cannot afford a cell phone, which adds to her struggles, i.e. when she misses the last bus coming from a doctor’s appointment.

This interview was conducted in two parts because the Leona asked the interviewer to turn the recorder off after 9:21 minutes, being unsure about the kind of information she should provide. After being informed that every information she is willing to contribute would be much appreciated she gave her consent to continue the recording.

Interviewer Bio:
Britta Nielsen

Britta was born in Germany in 1966 and has lived in the US for the past 20 years. She currently lives near Boston, MA. Britta is involved with a number of non-profit organizations and is preparing to launch a life history project in her town. Her interest in attending the OHSS is to learn about interview techniques and good listening practices. This is her first visit to Hudson.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.

Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”

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