Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joan Pennings, August 6, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Childhood and family

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Partial Transcript: This is Joan Pennings being interviewed by Zach Lewton on August 6, 1992 for the Christian Appalachian Project Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Joan Pennings was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1935. She immigrated to Canada in 1960. She talks about her childhood and her family dynamics. Her mother died when she was 9 years old and she had to help raise her siblings. Her father remarried and she says the family was dysfunctional. She talks about immigrating to Canada to get away from this situation.

Keywords: Amsterdam (The Netherlands); Canada; Childrearing; Children; Deaths; Dutch people; Dysfunctional family; Fathers; Leaving; Mothers; Responsibility; Siblings; Stepmothers

Subjects: Amsterdam (Netherlands); Childhood.; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Parents.; Religion.

00:02:28 - Marriage, career, and further education

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Partial Transcript: Okay, well now tell me, when did you leave The Netherlands and go to Canada?

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks more about immigrating to Canada to get away from her family situation. She talks about her marriage and how it ended. She talks about her career as a nursing assistant, then as a teacher. She talks about how she returned to college to take further classes.

Keywords: Canada; Children; College education; Husbands; Teachers; Teaching; World War II

Subjects: Careers.; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Marriage; Occupations.; Professions.; Vocation.; Work.

00:05:24 - Religion in her childhood and religion now

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Partial Transcript: Was either of your parents or your stepmother religious?

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about whether her parents were religious during her childhood. She talks about the mixed messages she received regarding religion due to her family situation. She talks about her current interest in the teachings of Rudolph Steiner and spiritual science.

Keywords: Amsterdam (The Netherlands); Catholicism; Christian Community; Christmas hymns; Churches services; Dysfunctional family; Family dynamics; Fathers; Mental abuse; Mixed messages; Mothers; Priests; Religious beliefs; Rudolph Steiner; Singing; Spiritual science; Stepmothers

Subjects: Amsterdam (Netherlands); Catholics; Childhood.; Faith.; Families.; Parents.; Religion.; Spirituality.

00:10:12 - Application and first impressions of Christian Appalachian Project

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Partial Transcript: Okay, now tell me about you worked in Canada, I guess?

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about how she first learned of Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) and why she was interested in volunteering there. She talks about her application and her first impressions of the area after traveling across much of the United States.

Keywords: Advertisements; Appalachian Mountains; Applications; Canada; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Communal living; First impressions; Marriage; Recreational vehicle (RV); References; Teachers; Teaching; Toronto (Canada); Vacations; Visiting; Visits

Subjects: Communities.; Community; Community involvement; Community life.; Kentucky.; Lifestyles.; Nonprofit organizations.; Travel; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers

00:14:15 - Work as a temporary volunteer at The Attic secondhand clothing store

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me about your interview with CAP when you first came down and interviewed and met the people and--

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about her work as a temporary volunteer at The Attic secondhand clothing store. She talks about her day-to-day work, how the store helps the local people, her impressions of the local people and their needs, and some of the surprises she has encountered while working at The Attic.

Keywords: Bags of clothes; Choices; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Clothes; Clothing; Decisions; Dignity; Distance; Donations; Dresses; Family pictures; Helping; Interviews; Jobs; Lack of proper care; Meeting people; Needs; Poor; Projects; Quality; Secondhand clothing stores; Social workers; Surprises; Teeth; Temporary volunteers; The Attic; Women; Work

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions.; Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Communities.; Community; Community development.; Community involvement; Community life.; Community organization.; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Culture.; Kentucky.; Lifestyles.; Nonprofit organizations.; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Regionalism--Appalachian Region; Rural conditions.; Social work.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers

00:22:20 - Communal living at Christian Appalachian Project

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me about living in community.

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about living in community at Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) and the religious aspects of community life there.

Keywords: Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Commonalities; Communal living; Cooking; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Living together; Meals; Prayers; Similarities; Togetherness

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion.; Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Catholics; Communities.; Community; Community involvement; Community life.; Culture.; Faith.; Kentucky.; Lifestyles.; Nonprofit organizations.; Religion.; Religious communities; Rural conditions.; Spirituality.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers

00:25:25 - Recommending Christian Appalachian Project to others

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Partial Transcript: Okay now tell me, would, would you consider doing this again or do you have any plans about coming back to CAP, maybe next summer?

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about whether she plans to return to Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) for a longer duration in the future. She talks about her plans to encourage other teachers to take a year sabbatical and spend it at CAP. She talks about how she would describe CAP to others.

Keywords: Advice; Awareness; Cons; Future; Growth experiences; Living allowances; Missions; Plans; Pros; Recommendations; Retirement; Returning; Sabbaticals; Teaching

Subjects: Careers.; Catholics; Communities.; Community; Community involvement; Community life.; Culture.; Faith.; Kentucky.; Lifestyles.; Nonprofit organizations.; Occupations.; Professions.; Religion.; Religious communities; Spirituality.; Teachers; Vocation.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers; Work.

00:28:32 - Pennings' children

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Partial Transcript: Have any of your children--what, what have you told them about it or have they become interested in CAP?

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about her children's awareness of her work at Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) and their religious beliefs.

Keywords: Catholic schools; Children; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Churches; Doubts; Interest; Religious beliefs; Social workers; Sons

Subjects: Catholics; Faith.; Families.; Parents.; Religion.; Spirituality.

00:30:40 - What does religious mean?

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Partial Transcript: I don't know what religious really means.

Segment Synopsis: Pennings talks about her definition of religious and how it has changed over time. She talks more about her current interest in the teachings of Rudolph Steiner and spiritual science. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Changes; Children; Ongoing process; Religious beliefs; Rudolph Steiner; Seers; Spiritual science; St. Paul

Subjects: Catholics; Faith.; Religion.; Spirituality.