Series 1: Family - Recordings
Childhood Experiences: Mr. James Mathews


Childhood Experiences: Mr. James Mathews


Maureen Elgersman Lee



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James Mathews




“Well, as a child I had a real good childhood as far as I'm concerned. I lived with my aunt and uncle; their names were Hope Matthews and Kenneth Matthews. My uncle was an electrician, and he had problems getting electrical jobs until he finally had to go to work for C.H. Robinson, which is a paper company. As a child, I lived on Hall Street in South Portland, and I've lived all my life in South Portland. And we had a house on the end of, almost on the end of the street that my parents built. And we had three rooms that were finished, and then an addition has been built on the back end of it that would have given us, I believe, it was planned that we would have had another three rooms or so, including a bathroom. And at that time we did not have indoor plumbing and we did not really have hot water; we had to heat the hot water, you know, and we had no real bathtub situation at that time. We also had an outdoor, what they would call an outhouse type situation. So up until the time that the state took our home because I-295 was in the process of being built , so we were really blessed to have the state take our home because, you know, they gave us a small amount of money , of course , to move. And we finally moved from there when I was 15 to Bonny Bank Terrace in South Portland, which is off of Evans Street. But to go back to my childhood, we as children really lacked for nothing, as far as food clothing, and things of that nature. I remember getting a bicycle when I was about ten, you know. But my parents, who were my aunt and uncle really, in real life, went without so that we could have some of the things that people would probably take for granted today.”




childhood experiences, Black families, Maine


Age at Time of Interview: 59

Born: 1941 in Portland Maine

Family Status: Married with five children

Duration of Residence in Maine: Lived in Maine all his life. Lived in South Portland for over 26 years.

Childhood Experiences: Mr. James Mathews