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Baby Boom Generation (1946-1964)
Date of Interview
Macalester-Groveland, Saint Paul, 1946
Oral History | Psychology
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Marilyn Sobiech is a Caucasian and Native American female born on April 13th, 1946. She grew up as an only child with her adoptive parents in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. Her religious affiliation is Catholic. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Sobiech recounts her upbringing in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood as an only child with a lot of friends. She recalls the neighborhood being a quiet, idyllic, Catholic neighborhood with a lot of young kids her age to play with. She remembers the city switching from street cars to buses and was adamant about the extent to which children traveled via bicycles and on foot to get where they needed to go most of the time. Sobiech notes that while the neighborhood she grew up in politically skewed slightly Republican, her parents were Democrats and she remembers her mother was involved in volunteering with elections. She attributes the mix of political ideologies to the socioeconomic status of most of the residents in the area being more middle class or upper class in certain blocks near the river. Sobiech recalls that her neighborhood was tight knit, safe, and parents kept a close eye on the kids, if you got into trouble somewhere out in town, there was a good chance your parents would be made aware of it by another member of the community. Sobiech proudly explained that she was a tomboy growing up, so when discussing leisure activities, she mentioned that her father was an avid fisherman and she would routinely join him to go fishing. She would gleefully join her father for a number of outdoor activities including hunting and ice fishing together. Sobiech fondly recalls her father bringing her for toboggan rides near the Highland Park water tower in the winters. She mentions that in her neighborhood there were over 100 kids and boys and girls often played together in large groups. The children would play baseball and during the winter a local hangout spot that was popular amongst the young kids was a wood stove warming shack that Groveland had. Sobiech said she preferred to play with the boys during a lot of activities because she argues that they were more fun and she took a strong interest in the organized sports that they were able to arrange. While discussing organized sports, Sobiech recalls how difficult it was for girls to compete in organized sports at the time, due to a lack of funding or established girls-only league. Sobiech remembers that her mother and other mothers made the effort to organize sports opportunities for the girls to participate in since girls’ sports were not popular and had yet to be established in schools and other institutions at the time. When discussing more topics in entertainment and technology she divulged that her family had the first TV on their end of the block. She mentioned that aside from most households having house phones or transistor radios, the technology boom didn’t really happen until she was an adult with children already. She recalls walking to school because of how close her family lived in proximity to most of her schools. Since she lived so close to school she was required to walk home for lunch and return to school afterward. Sobiech recalls her mother being involved in her Girl Scout troop and Sobiech enjoyed participating in the Girl Scouts. Prominent local and global events that stood out to her was donating to an organization that helped underprivileged children and acknowledges a sort of irony that every generation has a group of underprivileged children to feed in regard to the donating to assist with alleviating the effects of tragedies in the wake of wars, economic instability, and natural disasters. As a child, Sobiech does not remember politics or news being discussed at length or at all for that matter. Sobiech mentions the first political event that struck her was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Another event that stands out in her memory was her opportunity to share Girl Scout cookies with Eleanor Roosevelt during a visit to Minnesota. She still is uncertain of the reason for Eleanor’s visit to St. Paul but remains proud that she was able to give this historical figure a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Sobiech also shared her thoughts on how the political climate in America today has become so much more polarized than she remembers politics being when she was growing up. Sobiech recalls her father’s skepticism about unions and his firm opinion that they were corrupt and irresponsible with other people’s money.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the written permission of Concordia University Library or Julie Luker, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, St. Paul.
Luker, Julie M., "Marilyn Sobiech" (2022). Saint Paul and Surrounding Area. 79.