Limestone Professor Has Oral History Published

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 10:45am
Limestone Professor Has Oral History Published

Limestone College Professor of English Erin Pushman has published an oral history/creative nonfiction hybrid piece in a recent issue of 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction.

The piece, which was published in November, explores her Grandfather's odd half-talk surrounding his service in the infantry during World War II and after as a Sargent of the Guard for the Nuremburg Trials.

"For most of my life, my grandfather, Walter Waldrop, dropped odd phrases about his life during the war, little barrages of information that came when we were least expecting them," Pushman said.

Eventually, she decided to keep a record of what Waldrop said and started asking him to tell her more. She wrote down her grandfather's words for years and captured them in Waldrop's Southern Appalachian dialect.

The hybrid piece includes Waldrop's words and draws heavily on Pushman's own research to fill in the gaps.

"As it turns out, my grandfather posted the guards outside the cells of Herman Goering and other high-ranking Nazi war criminals, but he didn't think of that service as anything extraordinary," she explained. “I always called my grandfather on Veteran's Day to thank him for his service all those years ago, during that great and terrible war. He has been gone for nearly six years, but I still find myself reaching for the phone every November 11. I was happy about the timing of this publication because Grandpa's story was out in the world during the month of November.”

The journal is available online at https://1966journal.org/about/.

Pushman is the Director of the Writing Center at Limestone. She is a member of the standing committee for the CCCC Creative Nonfiction Special Interest Group.