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Anne Guerrero discussing event in her life ; part 2

BROADCAST: 1968 | DURATION: 00:50:08


Anne Guerrero discusses the impact her divorce has had on her younger children. She also discusses her own career and her future plans as well as her connection to the Roman Catholic Church. This recording ends abruptly and is part 2 of 3.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Studs Terkel You were saying, Anne, the family is very important to you.

Anne Guerrero Oh yes. I'm very fortunate in having six, I should say five wonderful, well-behaved, well-mannered children. I have one little boy who is the terror of the neighborhood. But I guess that's not bad, one out of six.

Studs Terkel That's not bad, five out of six.

Anne Guerrero Yeah. And he's and he's even beginning to shape up pretty nice. So maybe maybe everything is going to turn out all right after all.

Studs Terkel Maybe he's just full of life and full of spirit. That's very important, too, you know.

Anne Guerrero A little more than that, I think. He's at an emotional problem. I didn't realize the loss of his father was going to mean this much to him. I think maybe I should tell you that I am divorced. It's not through death that we have no man in the house. It's through divorce, and I won't make a long story out of - other than to say that the Vatican, I believe, is going to come through with full approval for me. So let's just leave it at that. But the loss of the father meant quite a bit to the three younger children, rather than the three older, at first. Now, I feel that possibly the older children, especially the boy, is feeling too much woman in the house, you know, and he's he's resentful and he teases an awful lot. And it's a little difficult to decide where the normal teasing of a 17 year old ends and where with a little maliciousness creeps in on him, you know. So I try not to be too overbearing with him. There are rules in the house that they all have to follow, and I know I have to be strict with them because I'm away all day long. I have to be strict. I don't really have any any problem with the children. The only problem I have is a financial problem. And like I said in about five years I imagine that'll be alleviated. So--

Studs Terkel Why, in five years?

Anne Guerrero Well, because Kathy, for one, doesn't want to go to college. She wants to get a job. The oldest boy, of course, is going to college. Karen--

Studs Terkel Where's he going to?

Anne Guerrero University of Illinois.

Studs Terkel Right here.

Anne Guerrero Right here. We'll save on car fare--

Studs Terkel The new university was built up where some of your friends once lived.

Anne Guerrero Yes, possibly he'll be enrolled here, and we'll save car fare money. He can walk there, if we're still here, if we're still here.

Studs Terkel And then Kathy - What sort of work do you do? What sort of job do you have?

Anne Guerrero I'm a deputy sheriff.

Studs Terkel You're a what? [laughter]

Anne Guerrero Deputy sheriff. Yes, I'm in, in charge of the petit jury at criminal court building, Twenty-Sixth and California. And that's under the sheriff of Cook County, and it's a very good job. I enjoy the job because I meet so many people because we have 300, 250, 300 people every two weeks. Different people come in, and out of that amount of people you have to meet interesting people.

Studs Terkel Your job is what? To help in the--

Anne Guerrero I just maintain order.

Studs Terkel Maintain order during jury trials?

Anne Guerrero No no no no, I don't work up in the courtrooms. I'm right in the assembly room with the jury, with the whole assembly. When a judge wants a jury, he calls us and we send them 35, 40 people. Of that they pick 12 people, they send the rest back to us. So we keep the group isolated, and we keep outsiders out and we keep the jurors themselves from discussing cases and points of order and points of law and we keep them happy. We're sort of babysitters. Yeah.

Studs Terkel You like the job.

Anne Guerrero Oh, I do. I really--

Studs Terkel Because it's

Anne Guerrero meeting people all-- I really like the job. It's a great job, and I work with a very good man, and I'm going to give you his name. His name is Mr. James L. Bernardo, and he's the best man I ever met in my whole life. He's been at that job 27 years. And I think he likes his job, too. He's a jury supervisor.

Studs Terkel You you talk to people. You like the idea because you meet different beings, you talk to them.

Anne Guerrero Yes, all different types of people. We meet socialites and we meet the very poor and we meet the social workers and we meet the laborers and we meet the the chorus girls and burlesque dancers. We meet them all.

Studs Terkel But they've all called to jury one time or another.

Anne Guerrero They're all called to jury--

Studs Terkel And you carry on discussion. You you have free and open - so long as doesn't have to do with legal points.

Anne Guerrero This is primarily my job, not to not to discuss any legal matters at all, any- anything concerning the court procedure because the less they know about the court procedure, the better juror they are.

Studs Terkel But you talk about the world and about--

Anne Guerrero But we talk about everything.

Studs Terkel That's great.

Anne Guerrero Yes. And you always meet interesting people.

Studs Terkel Is this the first job you've had?

Anne Guerrero Yes. I had one part-time job in between children at one time, but it wasn't anything really to speak of. So this is really my first job out in the world, you know. And the the hours are good. We're on summer schedule right now. We get out pretty early.

Studs Terkel When you were very little, let's go back again, you were little. Is there something you wanted to be? Do you remember?

Anne Guerrero Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel What?

Anne Guerrero I wanted to be a criminal lawyer.

Studs Terkel You wanted to be a lawyer. Were you always a good talker?

Anne Guerrero Yes. They used to call me lawyer in school. [laughter] Over here at Jackson they always called me the lawyer in our little clique, you know. Whenever anything came up I was always the spokesman for the group - second in command and the the spokesman for the group. This was all kid stuff, though, of course. But I, if I knew offhand real quick where my autograph book is - the kids were looking at it the other day - I could show you that chicken scratch writing of mine. My ambition is to be a criminal lawyer. It's fascinating.

Studs Terkel How come? Why was that? Why was it then?

Anne Guerrero I don't, I don't know why it was then except that I was always interested in legal things, in points and points of law. I I had a law book I'd gotten from some- somebody and I think I read it like I used to read the Bible, you know. And it was just fascinating. And now on my lunch hours I spend my lunch hour in the courtroom. I never eat lunch because I'm always in the courtroom listening to the cases. And I imagine the bailiffs in this one particular court that I go to think that I go up there to listen to either some spicy case that's come up or something. But really that's not what I'm there for. What I am there for is because I'm learning so much about preliminary law right now that I felt if I went down and enrolled in Loyola, I'd probably have a jump on the rest of the students there.

Studs Terkel Maybe you will be a lawyer someday.

Anne Guerrero I wanna be. I would like to be.

Studs Terkel Do you think some time things loosen up, ease up for you a little you might actually go to law school?

Anne Guerrero Well, I intend to go down to the Board of Education and see if I can take a general test and to enter school. Of course, that's that's a dream for the future. Not really a dream, it's a realistic thing that I intend to do, if I'm 60 years old when I pass the bar. But I'm going to do it.

Studs Terkel That'd be great.

Anne Guerrero Yeah.

Studs Terkel I think you'd be a good lawyer. I think you'd be a fantastic lawyer. We'll come back to - now you said if the Vatican, you're pretty sure will come through with the divorce you talk about, the approval. You you are devout. You are devout Roman Catholic.

Anne Guerrero Oh yes, yes. Devout. We attend church and we have devotions here on Fridays and the children are, although I have never attended, the girls are attending St. Pat's High School. But my daughter entered St. Pat's from Jackson School and the teacher, the nun at the school thought she had come from a Catholic school because she knows so much about her religion. There wasn't anything that the teacher was telling her that Kathy didn't already know. The children take instructions at Holy Family over here, and I doubt very much if the nun has taught them any better than I could teach them. We have a new pastor at the church here, which may slow things up for me, but I'm not really worried because I think God and I have a real good relationship going.

Studs Terkel What do you think the relationship is between you and God?

Anne Guerrero He knows all about me for one thing, and He knows that even if I don't do everything exactly right, my heart's in the right place. I'm trying to do everything right. And I think things could be a lot worse for me if He wasn't smiling on me. And I know He smiles on me quite a bit because it's no easy job raising this six children. And for them to be as good as they are, they are good children. And I think that He's given me most of my - when I'm thinking, thinking about how to manage and how to do things. I know my strength comes from Him because many times I feel, oh, what in the world am I doing? Here I am. I'm a nothing. And how am I going to manage? Not so much even the financial part of it, just sometimes the thinking part of it. This one has to be talked to this way and this one has to have a crack because this is the only thing this one will understand is a physical thing. The other one, Karen, is a dreamer. And so I don't want to bust her bubble. That's gonna be busted soon enough so, let her enjoy it right now. Kathleen, on the other hand, is a fun, fun girl, and she needs the reins tightened up on her. Karen Amy could walk around the block at 10 o'clock at night and I wouldn't worry about her because I know she's daydreaming and she's okay. Christine is a shy, shy girl who's pulled herself out of her shyness only to be a pest to people. Believe me, she used to hide under the beds when she was a little, teeny girl. Now, she's a pest. She picks at you and she pulls at you, but basically she's still a very shy person. But this is her way of pulling herself out. And I think God's given me the understanding to cope with each one of their problems. And I've attended - I have gone to three different social agencies to make darn sure I'm doing the right thing by the kids and none of them have ever told me I was doing the wrong thing. So, I can't clap myself on the back for that. Somebody's somebody's gotta get the credit for that. And so I guess it has to go up there where it belongs.

Studs Terkel Well, why can't you give yourself credit, too?

Anne Guerrero Because I'm not that smart. God has to help me out. God helps those who help themselves, yes. But I think - I don't know, maybe maybe it's, maybe it's my - maybe He's my strength, maybe He's my pillar. My mother says I have a backbone of steel. I don't believe that. I think that everybody's got to have something which they can lean. Some people have their parents. Other people have financial backing. And I don't have any of that. So, what I've got is God. And He's truly, I mean, He's truly a personal thing. He's just not a god, He is my God. This is the way I feel about it. He is mine. And and I just know He watches out for me. And sometimes I wonder why is He giving me all these problems [laughter]. Like two allergies and an infected ear and a broken arm at the moment. But then I figure, well, He's doing it for a reason. There must be some reason why He's doing it, and I'm not a big enough person to understand what he's doing it.

Studs Terkel Your mother, though, considers you quite strong, doesn't she?

Anne Guerrero Oh yes, my mother thinks I am the pillar of strength. Twice in my lifetime I remember calling her and crying over the phone. One was when I was having my sixth child. I called her, and I cried. I says, "I don't know how I can do it. I just don't know how I can manage six children." And she, she wasn't at all sympathetic to me. She said, "Oh, go on with you. If you can manage five, you can manage six. There's no - you're bigger than that. You're a stronger woman than that." Well, I think maybe this is the impression everybody gets of me that I'm so strong, and--

Studs Terkel You don't, you don't feel that yourself?

Anne Guerrero I don't feel it, no. I don't feel I'm that strong. But with the help and grace of God I guess we manage.

Studs Terkel It comes a clutch, though, you always come through, though. You know, as speaking out when you heard Florence there, one occasion or another.

Anne Guerrero I don't know what it is. I know I I feel a need always to speak for the so-called underdog. I always feel that somebody's got to help people. Somebody's gotta say something for people. I don't know what it is in me that makes me speak out but I have. I don't know what it is.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking, Anne. You, a woman, woman: does this thought occurs to you, the state of women, you know, the woman. You're a young woman, mother of six. You ever thought that you're a woman? That that occur to you, the thought that sometimes you ever regret you're not a man?

Anne Guerrero No, I've, well, never wanted, never felt jealousy toward a man. I've never felt that I wish I were in his shoes. I've always thought that women can accomplish just as much as a man and in some cases even more because they are women. I don't like having to be the leader of the family. I don't like this. I'd rather be second in command. I'd love to have a man in the house here. Of course, that's absolutely impossible, but--

Studs Terkel With the Vatican approval it would be possible, would it not?

Anne Guerrero Oh yes, yes. That would put me in the position of never having been married with six children [laughter], which is what it's going to turn out to be. It's going to work out that I've never been married and I've had six children.

Studs Terkel But it's possible you could still be in accordance with your faith and still get married.

Anne Guerrero Oh, yes. Oh, yes, yes. I mean everything. It's, it'll all work out, but I understand that it takes years and years and years and years and years. And I'm in no hurry. I make spiritual communion on Sunday so I feel okay. I, like I said, I feel a rapport with God and I know everything's all right. Everything'll be all right. And who knows? Someday I may have a great big church wedding. Who knows?

Studs Terkel I'm sure you will.

Anne Guerrero No, really, the only thing that gripes me at the moment is that, well, the nun at the school last year told the children that all divorced women will go to hell. So, I had to call the school because my little girl came home in tears and, "Mama you're divorced and you're going to go to hell. And it burns and it's hot down there, Mama, and you're going to burn up and oh, Mama!" You know, she was just hysterical over it. So, I called up the school, and I couldn't get a hold of the Mother Superior, so I called the priest and I told him about it. And I don't know what he did do about it, but I explained to my daughter that it was all right, that she had nothing to fear for me. And of course she's a young, she's just a little girl. She's eight years old, last year she was seven. I mean, this is, was a big thing for her. Here I am stressing religion and church and being devout, being good, and then somebody turns around and says the person who's teaching you all these good things is going to go to hell herself, you know. So, I really don't know what the - this is my primary concern, the image for the children. And they're too young to understand the divorce and why and the wherefores and the rest of it. But this is what really bothers me is that - at times I even feel like when I'm introduced to somebody, who I know I'll probably never see again, I have such a shame about the term 'divorced' that when they say, or my status comes up in some way, I have said I'm a widow.

Studs Terkel Why do you feel, is it because of your devoutness?

Anne Guerrero I don't know. I think it's the the stigmatism of the word 'divorced'. As soon as you say 'divorced', people look at you like, well, whose fault was it? What did you do or what did he do or? I don't know, there's just a, there's an ugly, ugliness about the word 'divorced'. And you just don't go into this with strange people or people you just meet. You're not going to sit down and tell them why all this happened. So I know I have found myself three or four times already, when I was asked I just said I'm a widow.

Studs Terkel Does this give you a problem with men, too, because you are, you know, very attractive? So, I suppose it does give you a problem sometimes.

Anne Guerrero The biggest problem is that.

Studs Terkel Yeah, yeah.

Anne Guerrero That's the biggest problem. I have to be very particular with who I go out with. And then at times I have made bad choices, you know. Well, you're not really interested in that.

Studs Terkel Go ahead.

Anne Guerrero Go on,

Studs Terkel

Anne Guerrero

Studs Terkel you are not! Go on. Of course I am! Go ahead. We'll use another name. Well. This is all part of life. This is, I'm talking about you. I'm not saying all this will be used, I'll boil down--

Anne Guerrero Yeah.

Studs Terkel But in my writing and in this thing, of course, this this, we're talking about a city, we're talking about a human being, we're talking about the twentieth century, in the world, and the human condition. Every - you know, Whitman the poet says nothing is alien to him. See, nothing is alien. That's the point, you see. Not this part won't be in, I know that. I know what's going to be in, I know my own, but you're going to be great. Go ahead.

Anne Guerrero Well--

Studs Terkel You're saying, so what were you talking about? Dilemmas you're faced with.

Anne Guerrero Well, yeah, with the, with the the men situation even, even with the job, you know, the - this is a political job. And you more or less, it doesn't have a thing to do with how good you do your work. Because I do mine the best. My boss has told me he's never had anybody better than me there. But, of course, once the sheriff is out of office, I'll be out of a job, too. Meanwhile, it's "be nice to that person and be nice to this person". And it took me a while to learn this. I didn't know this at first. I mean, everybody's making passes. I have my method of getting people off my back and that's by being a very boring talker. I talk about my children constantly and bore them to death [laughter]. It's the best thing to do, you know. Somebody'll come up to you and say, "wow, gee, oh don't you look nice" or some- "What are you doing Friday night" or some-. I say "I'm chaperoning a dance for my son." Your son?! "Yeah, my 17 year old, he and his friends are having a party or something, and I'm chaperoning," you know. I always manage to get the kids in there in somewhere or another. If the person still shows interest after finding out about all the children, and if it's a nice interest, and I think you know what I mean there, they are. If it's a nice interest, well, then I'll consider going out with them. I don't allow any men up into the house other than one fellow who I was serious with there for a while. Of course now I realize that it was absolutely impossible. You just can't bring a man into a house with six children, and even though he thought he could - he he was sure he could handle the whole thing. But I wasn't sure he could handle it, so I figured, well, marriage is out for the next 10 years anyway. But he is the only man that's been allowed up in the house. Now when I do have dates, I let the children go down to the car and we talk and we gab and what have you. But I don't allow anybody in the house. Not only for the children, but for the neighbors, too, you know. Nobody has anything to say. Nobody can say anything.

Studs Terkel Anne, I want to ask you something. Big developments are taking place in the church, ecumenical developments. What are your thoughts since Pope Paul, since Pope John?

Anne Guerrero Pope John, my sweetheart. I'll tell you that the new Mass was something. I didn't like it at first, and some of the singing I still don't like. There's really no melody, but I know a young fellow who is going to be a priest and he said that they're using all the old tunes, some of them Protestant tunes. And they're just putting words to them and they're working very hard right now to to make them the music of the Mass a little better because it is, it's awful! Somebody behind you singing one tune, and you're singing another tune. And really nobody knows how the tune goes. I don't really like the new Mass.

Studs Terkel Do you like the idea of it being in English?

Anne Guerrero No, I can't - at Christmas time, you know, our church, our church here is the parish church. Everything new starts with our church first. No more white communion dresses for the little girls. This was a big blow to all the mothers. They just made their first holy communion in school uniforms and the boys with white shirt and dark pants. No no ceremony. But they eliminated one ceremony, and they brought in another. So they eliminated the little girls in white and the little boys with the the suits and the candle and what have you, and they they started an altogether new ceremony with a family pew and each each member of the family has to be with the child that's going to make their first holy communion. I don't know where they're - I'll have some of that water, please. I guess we'll get used to it. I don't like the Mass in English. It it doesn't sound, it doesn't sound reverent.

Studs Terkel You're thinking, you you still sort of like the old ritual, don't you?

Anne Guerrero Yes I do. It's like taking the incense and the vestments away from the priest, that'll be what they're doing next.

Studs Terkel Thank you very much. But you like ceremony, you like--

Anne Guerrero I do. I think it's part of our church.

Studs Terkel What about other developments? The ecumenism, you know, the idea of broader outlook.

Anne Guerrero Well, I think all of that is good. Really, I can't see what great change it's made. I - maybe I haven't followed it too closely, but I I can't see where - other than this Lucy Baines Johnson when she was rebaptized, it created quite a furor over rebaptism when the Catholic Church is now supposed to accept the baptism of any church, you know. I think really it's a lot of talk and nothing--

Studs Terkel I mean like the index might go possibly, you know, censorship may be less rigid than it has been, factors of that sort. You have no--

Anne Guerrero No, I don't know too--

Studs Terkel [unintelligible] ideas.

Anne Guerrero No, not really.

Studs Terkel I'm asking you a question rather delicate, involving involving [unintelligible] involving the church, yourself. There's a great controversy, you know, on birth control. What's your feeling on the subject?

Anne Guerrero I definitely feel that there should be birth control because the church is making sinners out of I'd venture to say 85 percent of the Catholics because they they say using contraceptives or of any type is a sin. And you know darn well that 85 percent of the Catholics are using some kind of birth control. So what they're doing is really making sinners out of good Catholics. A person cannot afford more than three or four children, why in the good Lord's name have them, if you can't take care of them. And I believe I'm a devout Catholic, but how, good gravy. I think that's the biggest, that's that's the thing they really all do something about, and I have heard that they intend to do something about it besides what they've already got out. But really I think this is a matter for the the married couple, for them to decide how many children they want. God bless them if they want six or better. And God bless them if they only want two or they feel that that's all they can cope with. I have a girlfriend who is a a very good Catholic. She's on number seven. She is the - a person that can least take care of two children much less seven, but she's having number seven. Who's going to suffer? The children are suffering, her children are suffering. She's not a good manager. She's not a good housekeeper. She's a a woman who is primarily interested in herself. And I mean this makes up your world, all different types of people. So there's no crime that she's interested in herself, but she should never have had that many children. And why did she have them? Because they're Catholic.

Studs Terkel May I ask you so, so many things - automation. Does that affect you, does that come to your mind more and more, the technology, machines, the age we live in? Kids, does that affect you in any way?

Anne Guerrero Well, I've got a lot of faith in the future. And I I don't feel that automation is going to eliminate people's working. I think where they'll cut out this job - I have a friend who works in the steel mill. I think they said they've got, he's got, they've got some kind of automatic gizmo over there that has eliminated the jobs of 375 people. And I thought, well gee, this is an awful lot of people. But according to the work statistics in the city of Chicago, the same number of people are working now that, as were working when that machine was in was in wasn't in use. They're still working so they must've found work elsewhere doing something else. I think people who are out of work are always gonna be out of work. They just don't want to work. I don't think automation is going - people could use the leisure time. I think people could use the leisure time. So we're not tilling the soil like we used to do, but I don't think those people that were working from sunup to sundown and went to bed at 8 o'clock at night were any better than the people here nowadays.

Studs Terkel That's good, let's talk about that leisure time. You raise a very interesting point. Instead of, you mean, backbreaking toil eliminated, the new jobs created, people do something. Do you have something, a hobby of yours? What do you - what are you interested in aside from work and the family? Is there--

Anne Guerrero I am interested in children. I love children. I like to work with children. Children's problems are my problems. They're fun is my fun. I get a big bang out of kids. I'll go play baseball with them or I'll sit on the front stairs and listen to girls moan about their mothers not letting them have money for a new dress or something. And I don't know. I guess this is this is a hobby of mine: kids. The kids around me, sort of confide in me, too. If there's going to be something happening in the neighborhood, I'm usually the one that knows about it, you know, before it happens or something like that. Hobbies? Not - I don't really have a hobby like button collecting or stamps or anything like that, no.

Studs Terkel But children.

Anne Guerrero But children.

Studs Terkel Yet did the idea of teaching or being a nursery school teacher ever occur to you at one time or another in your life?

Anne Guerrero Well, I've often thought of making money by opening up a nursery school but I found that there's too many things I have to go through, state laws and what have you, to open up a nursery school. But that's what I think I'd really enjoy doing, because I do like kids and kids like me, which is even more important.

Studs Terkel They sense something in you, is that it?

Anne Guerrero I guess so. And they don't leave me alone anyway. [laughter] And I enjoy every minute of it. I mean I do like kids. I like to talk to children. Children don't hide things and they're not - they don't try to sugarcoat anything. They come right out with things. Sometimes it's very embarrassing what they come out with, but they're a joy to listen to if you really listen to them and you don't patronize them, you know, don't talk down to them or anything like that. My - I don't know maybe it's - I think I co- I intended to have 12 children when I started out. I wanted 12 children. I'm the type of person that can handle children, my own and other people's, too. This I think is my hobby, and I guess I'll be interested in children all my life.

Studs Terkel Tell me, what does the street, the whole street knows you, of course.

Anne Guerrero Yeah.

Studs Terkel What do they think of you?

Anne Guerrero Oh, I don't know what they think of me. I I know I get a cheery hello from everybody. The old ladies that sit on the corner, they - when I come home from work or when I'm dressed to go out someplace, "Oh, how nice you look," you know, or something like that. The women in the area always get out there, and we gossip together.

Studs Terkel It's seen an area of older people, too, as well as middle, as well as younger, as well as kids, this--

Anne Guerrero I think it's a it's a community where they all sort of merge and blend together and they all - they don't have a certain spot, you know, for you and a certain spot for you, like maybe in some other communities.

Studs Terkel Suburbs.

Anne Guerrero Yeah. No, this is a community where the old are with the young and the middle-aged, and and you all blend in together. I don't know if you find this in other communities because I'm not that familiar with other communities. But I know here there's a sympathy, there's an understanding between us all. I believe I'm well-liked in the community. I believe I'm respected in the community by the majority of people. Of course, there's always somebody that's not going to like you for some reason or other. I'm in a little, I'm in a little different niche because this area is predominantly Democrat, and I happen to be a Republican. My boss says I'm a Democrat Republican because my feelings run Democrat when I'm talking, he says. But then there are times when you bring in the conservative element, which is Republican, and this makes it difficult. Would you like to know what it's like around here at election time?

Studs Terkel Sure.

Anne Guerrero Now, I have a precinct captain on this side and a precinct captain on the other side, both Democrats. We have one Republican precinct captain who you never see except on election day, and then all of a sudden he pops up. Three hundred and sixty, yeah, 360 days of the year, everybody is sweet and kind and lovable and couldn't do more for you, I mean, any- everybody. And this goes for the Democratic precinct captains, too. But come the five days prior to election, and you've never met such mean people in your whole life [laughter]. They sneer at you. They give you dirty looks. They laugh at you. They - when you go down to the, to the polling place, oh lordy! That's really, I think it really takes all the strength I've got to walk in there and just cast my vote.

Studs Terkel What are you, the one Republican on the block?

Anne Guerrero Two of us. I don't know who the other one is.

Studs Terkel But you could be described, you could be described, though, as I would take it, as a liberal Republican. Is that the phrase?

Anne Guerrero Yes, yes.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Anne Guerrero Quite liberal. Yes. Because there's a number of things that I don't approve of. But you know, I guess, I could never be a Democrat in the true se- I couldn't be a part of that group. I wouldn't want to be a part of that group there.

Studs Terkel You're talking now about the city the city.

Anne Guerrero Yes, that's leading the masses around by their nose. How can these people let the, the administration do that to them? How can they be bulldozed and blustered and - You hear a man talk on TV, you hear what he's saying, and you know it's a lot of hogwash. How can other people sit and listen to him and believe what he's saying? How can they? I say again, don't people think?

Studs Terkel What you're doing is you are bucking a machine. You are at a decenter trying to think for yourself. You happen to be a Republican because this is the only thing at the moment, isn't that it?

Anne Guerrero Yes, this is it.

Studs Terkel It's not that you are a Republican in the Goldwater or Taft.

Anne Guerrero Oh, no. No. No.

Studs Terkel Sense of the word. It's not that at all. You happen to be dissenting from the local machine, which is Democrat.

Anne Guerrero Because I don't believe that they truly have the interests of the people at heart. I think that they're doing a darn good job of sugarcoating a mountain for themselves and just the shell for the people. Really.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking about, oh, many things I was gonna ask you. Oh, I know - talk about children, the bomb, that's it. Headlines. We hear talk of the nuclear bomb. Does that thought occur to you? Does it have any impact on you?

Anne Guerrero The only real impact it has on me is a comment I made a while back when it was bothering me. And I thought to myself, "Well, if it hits us, we all go at one time and then it won't be so bad." I would hate to be on the fringes of the bomb and have all those awful effects happen to me or my children. I don't think that there's much chance of outlawing the bomb. Maybe I feel like a cocoon. We've never had a real war here. And I feel like any war that's going to be, it won't be here. It'll be over someplace else. Our boys will be killed, but it'll be someplace else. It won't be here. And maybe this is a a stick my head in the sand sort of a thing, but what else defense have you? The the - we have the greatest minds in the world sitting up there doing what they think is necessary. And you've got to have faith in them, and you you just have to have faith in them. Sometimes I I feel like let's get our cotton-picking noses out of all these foreign affairs and stay home and mind our own Ps and Qs. But then when you stop and you really think about it, you know darn well that you can't live here by yourself, that there's a, there's the rest of the world and you have to get along with them and you have to aid them and you have to help them, if for selfish reasons. You help them with wheat, so that they'll sell you their oil because we need it or something. I know that all of these things are necessary, aid to Nasser and Saudi Arabia and the rest of those countries that are always thumbing their noses at us. But I, like most of Americans, get this feeling, well, what the hell are we doing over there? Why are we helping them when they could care less about us and it just seems that they're antagonizing us deliberately? But then this is this intense patriotic feeling that Americans have, and I imagine you have it, too. But - and then maybe it's a patronizing thing. Well, you're just a little country, and we'll let them thumb their noses at us and we'll go ahead and give them two billion tons of rice or something because they need it. And we'll be big-hearted because that's that's our image, isn't it? We're big-hearted dumbbells.

Studs Terkel Well, so I know you think about these things, these problems are so overwhelming the bomb, war, there's Vietnam.

Anne Guerrero The war even more so. My son is going to be 17 Sunday, and I'm shaking in my boots now that this Vietnam situation will be all over with by the time he's 18.

Studs Terkel You say there are men, big minds working at it. How do you feel, you - I noticed that in the city, you protested. In the city, you know, you stood up with Florence, didn't you? Fighting City Hall. Yet you think this is something beyond that, is that it?

Anne Guerrero Well, it's really - there's a man named Fortas, Abe Fortas that was just--

Studs Terkel Appointed to the Supreme Court.

Anne Guerrero Yeah, that was just appointed to the Supreme Court, right? He was attorney for Bobby Baker. All right, Bobby Baker got out of a beautiful scandal. He didn't get out of it, but he didn't get his just desserts either. Fortas happened to be - Fortas was the man who came to the assistance of the man, Sherman Adams? No.

Studs Terkel Well that was the--

Anne Guerrero The man who was the - Jenkins! Jenkins, he was his attorney, and he got, he came out of that not exactly smelling roses, but he didn't get his just desserts either. Okay, you think this man is a sneaky - maybe not the, not the highest of honor type of men, but he's got a brain. He knows how to do things. He knows how to get things done. Well, here's a man who can use his marbles.

Studs Terkel You have a brain, too. That's what you proved, your life has proved that, you see. Now I was asking, now me, I'm not - I'm just trying to understand, you know, about your feelings about the war, about the bomb. Do you feel helpless, in other words, in face of this as an individual?

Anne Guerrero Yes, I do. I feel this is the biggest thing, and I don't feel that there's a piddling thing I could do in any way to stop this bomb. I feel it's just too big for me. I don't even like to think about it. And, of course, it does come to my mind. It has to. All you have to do is pick up the paper. But it it's just something I feel it is just too big for me. I may have a brain, but I don't have anything in comparison to these men who are running our country. And I I hope to the good God that they've got a good relationship with God [laughter]. He'll help them.

Studs Terkel Do you watch, the kids, do you watch TV much? Do you watch TV?

Anne Guerrero I don't, no.

Studs Terkel The kids do?

Anne Guerrero The children watch certain programs, all the ones they shouldn't watch, you know, like "Peyton Place" and "Shindig" and "Hullabaloo". That's for the the older ones.

Studs Terkel How do you feel - oh, several questions. I got two more, three questions. When the talk headlines violence, violence in the streets, everything, does that bother you? Or do you believe there is as much as papers say there is?

Anne Guerrero I don't think there is as much as the paper says there is. I think the papers are selling papers. I work at the Criminal Court Building, and I see, I imagine, a lot more, I see a lot more, or hear a lot more, of violence than than the majority of the average citizen would. I don't think our city is bad. I think there is need for improvement in certain fields. But I think it all boils down to education. It all boils down to giving them a good, decent education. Sometimes I feel, take all these kids away from these moldy mothers and fathers they've got and transport them in some way or means into a foster home where - a lot a kids go to military school, and they're not hurt by it. Better that a child should live in a dormitory atmosphere with a housemother for, say, 20 kids, 10 on this side and 10 on that side. How long's it gonna to take her to kiss 'em all good night, you know, in the evening? Or get them up and pat 'em all on the head and give 'em all a word of cheer during the daytime. One good mother for 20 of them, rather than let one mother with the six or seven children who could care less about them. Really this I think is the whole problem. These children that are running around bad right now, it's because the parents don't care in the majority of cases. I know there are cases where the parents are very concerned over the child and has, just have not been able to do anything with them. But the majority of cases where the parents don't care or it's all a front. They care only in front of people, not truly they don't care.

Studs Terkel You're talking white and black both.

Anne Guerrero Yeah, both. Well, I think the majority of children that get in trouble are are the Negro children. But why is that? It's because their mothers and their fathers have never had anything, and they they send this here feeling on to their children and their children don't have any faith.

Studs Terkel Hopelessness, you mean.

Anne Guerrero Hopelessness, that's right. Nobody likes me, I'm black. So I'm this, and they they're think I'm going to do this anyway, so I may as well go ahead and do it. I've got the name. I may as well play the game. This is the way they feel. And this is why I say - I know this is drastic. Take these children away from these mothers who keep having babies all the time. That for one thing. I mean, a 15-year-old girl in the house and the mother's having a baby and there's no husband around. What is this for a 15 year old to see? Well, what kind of values or standard is this young girl going to have, if her mother is doing this? And as far as I'm concerned, to hell with the mother now. The mother's done. She's had her her chance and she's muffed it, or God forbid, she didn't have no chance. Well, all right, she didn't have a chance and she's gonna be what she is, and no matter what we do for her she's still gonna be what she is. But take those children out of there. I mean everybody's talking about doing something. Well, what else can you do? Get the children away from this. They sa- I've heard social workers say regardless of how bad the mother is, the children still should stay with their mother. Well, I don't believe this. I don't believe it because just birthing a child does not make a mother. And if this woman is no good, then get the child away from her. If the father is a bad influence, then get the child away from the father, too.

Studs Terkel A few more questions. So you in the street, you and Chicago then. You and Chicago. You feel free to walk anywhere, you yourself, Anne?

Anne Guerrero No, I wouldn't walk down West Madison Street or I wouldn't walk down the near North Side of Clark Street by myself in the evening. But then I have no business there anyway. But as far as walking in the Loop, I go to the concerts at the park two, three times a week, and I come home. We leave there, of course, there's a lot of people.

Studs Terkel Well, how came this interest there - concerts, Art Institute? We we touched on that earlier. Where did this interest come from? How did this come to be?

Anne Guerrero I don't know. I started collecting classical records a long, long time ago because I thought maybe this is something that I should know about. So I collected a number of records until the company I was sending the money to started sending me masses. And they weren't even Gregorian chants or things of that nature, they were just masses, and they were, they were awful. And I sent them back and they sent them back to me again, and I finally quit. But I think the children should know about art, and I've taken them to the Art Institute. And I've taken the boy here. This boy shows quite an interest in art. He, we, I took him to the--

Studs Terkel That's--

Anne Guerrero That's Richard.

Studs Terkel Richard.

Anne Guerrero Uh huh. He's going to be 10, September the eighth. I took him to the exhibit from Israel at the Art Institute. And in the first room he looked at a couple of the pictures and he decided which ones he liked and which ones were no good to him. And he picked out pictures, two other pictures done by the same artist in the next room. Now this was by technique and texture of the canvas and the use of the colors and all. And I picked them out, too. But what surprised me was that he picked them out, too. He says that man'll--