We Exist Series 4: Audio

Mr. James Mathews on Leisure


Mr. James Mathews on Leisure



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Interviewer: Maureen Elgersman Lee

Interviewee: Mr. James Mathews (age 59; born 1941 in Portland Maine; married with five children; lived in Maine all his life – lived in South Portland for over 26 years)

Mr. James Mathews: “Well, basically I would say that we all try to get together. Say we go down to Connecticut to my son's house and fellowship with his family. My daughter and her family would go down also. And they would come up here And Christmas is usually held over at our house because we seem to have at the moment the largest space and it was easier to get everybody together at our house, where we live now. We go to my daughter's house for Thanksgiving and other special days and fellowship over there and so on, and just generally have a good time. So we travel to the various homes, you know. Since I live in South Portland, my daughter lives in Portland, and my son lives in Connecticut, we're closer together. And then my daughters will come up from either Florida or Norfolk and they'll visit in the summer, or one of my daughters came back home for Christmas. So we do a lot of getting together.”

Original Recording – (26:54-28:25) “...I believe that for my parents the big tradition at the time was getting together on Fourth of July, and going up to Sebago Lake. And we would all meet. At one time we would all meet at the church I belong to, Green Memorial AME Zion Church on Munjoy Hill. And when I first started going as a child, the church would rent a bus and we would go up there, to Sebago Lake, and all picnic together. And everybody came from far away, Washington, D.C., and other parts of our family would all come together. And that used to be the big day where everybody would get together and it was quite a 'to do.' And then as people either moved away or things started getting crowded at the lake or whatever, for me personally, the tradition kind of went by the way side. We wouldn't go to the lake, but we may see everybody up on Munjoy Hill where the Fisher family lived. We would all congregate up there and then we'd go up for the fireworks that they had on the promenade and like that.”

Publication Date



USM African American Collection


Portland, Maine


Leisure, African American History, Maine


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Mr. James Mathews on Leisure