- Attend Events
- Stay Informed
- Learn & Teach
- Advance Your Career
- Participate & Advocate
- Connect with AAA
Betty Lanham Interview:
Watch the interview here.
Dr. Singer: I am recording Betty Lanham, 91-years-old, in her home in Charlottesville Virginia. This is August 20th, 2013. Betty, when did you get your PhD in Anthropology?
Betty Lanham: ‘92, I frankly don’t remember. I don’t know… ‘22, ‘22, let me think. This is weird. I have it upstairs, so we can get it there.
Dr. Singer: Anyway, you got it in Cultural Anthropology with a specialty in Japan, is that right? Under professor Douglass Haring in Syracuse University… And now you are retired, you are 92 years old and you don’t have too much, neither do I, I am 88, we don’t have too much longer to live. How has anthropology or has anthropology affected how you think about getting old and dying?
Betty Lanham (01:38): You know, actually it hasn’t affected me as much as it might have because what happened was when I was young, I always wanted to be a missionary. So if that’s the case then you know I have connections with the Christian faith although I don’t go to church because you know if I pick up the Bible, so much of the Bible is just terrible. You just can’t go along with it. But in terms of how anthropology has affected me in terms of living and dying, it has given me knowledge of people in two separate cultures in addition to my own. How variation occurs and how much variation occurs and all the values which the cultures have that are not present in the United States. Now United States will have a variance of a different sort that’s not common in these other countries, but there’s no question about the fact that I’m more relaxed in terms of how I feel about all these things as consequences of all these combinations.
Dr. Singer: Well how do you feel about being 91-years-old and a life expectancy that is pretty short now?
Betty Lanham (03:03): Well I don’t think about it and you know if I had a physical health were of the sort or if I felt diseased of some sort of way, but in terms of my physical health I feel as well as I did any time of my lifetime, so that doesn’t seem to ring a bell for me.
Dr. Singer: Have you thought about if you had a stroke or if you became comatose, do you have a Living Will?
Betty Lanham (03:37): Yeah, I have a Living Will.
Dr. Singer: What does the Living Will in effect say about what you would expect?
Betty Lanham (03:43): Well it says that if I’m wasting my time and that nothing is accomplished and I’m not happy with it, then there is no reason why I should continue to live. You know you just can’t kill somebody cause of that, but if they have the physical strength to be capable of anything that’s worthwhile then you know... As far as anthropology is concerned as far as Japan or Guyana is concerned, did that affect my reaction? Speaking on so many matters but with both cultures but in terms of what it says where I should be in the future but most of that physiology thing is something that pertained to all of the cultures not just simply one. I mean if you are close to death and I don’t want to be lingering to death I don’t want to be living a life in which I’m confined to bed the whole time and a burden to other people. So you know I’m not scared of it as of right now, who knows if I were to be in that particular physical condition.
Dr. Singer (04:53): You said you started out wanting to be a missionary?
Betty Lanham: Mmhmh (yeah)
Dr. Singer: under what religion?
Betty Lanham: Methodist
Dr. Singer: And do you believe in God now?
Betty Lanham (05:04): I don’t know. I’m not saying I don’t know whether I believe in God but I’m saying I don’t know what in the afterlife is and I know that I don’t know and I know that other people don’t know, so it doesn’t do any good to speculate. It does do some good to be kind and to help other people and be generous, that’s good. But in terms of this other, I mean it doesn’t add up to me.
Dr. Singer: So, if something should happen to you does your Living Will or Health Care proxy does it say anything about would you accept a feeding tube?
Betty Lanham (05:47): To live, if I need a feeding tube? No.
Dr. Singer: You would not, accept a feeding tube?
Betty Lanham: No
Dr. Singer: Ohh, what kind of intervention would you accept?
Betty Lanham (06:02): Well it depends if the feeding tube were fine and I’m free of the feeding tube of course then you know I would go, I would want to continue to live, but if I was a feeding tube and it was obvious that I’m not going to live beyond that then…
Dr. Singer: Well, who should make that decision for you?
Betty Lanham: I have it written on paper
Dr. Singer: And what is it that you have written if you remember.
Betty Lanham (06:30): Umm let me think what I got written. I have written as I indicated previously, that if I’m in bed all the time I don’t want that. I presume if you was up to a point where you are mentally alert and you can see things beneficial to other people then it be a point where you can continue to live, but otherwise no. But what in terms of, you know anything that make life miserable as a consequence of continuing to live is not my...physically miserable…
Dr. Singer: Have you indicated in your Living Will who can make decisions for you?
Betty Lanham (07:17): Yeah I have indicated that in my Living Will.
Dr. Singer: Ok, so there is someone who can decide?
Betty Lanham: Mmhm (yes)
Dr. Singer: Do you trust that person?
Betty Lanham: Mmhm (yes)
Dr. Singer (07:32): And as an anthropologist how has that shaped your thoughts about an afterlife, about reincarnation, about anything at all. Do you anticipate an afterlife?
Betty Lanham: I don’t know what’s there and it doesn’t do me any good to anticipate or not anticipate because I’m not going to know even if that was the case.
Dr. Singer: Do you pray?
Betty Lanham: Mmhm (yes)
Dr. Singer: And to whom do you pray?
Betty Lanham: I pray to God
Dr. Singer: And what is your idea of God?
Betty Lanham (08:12): I don’t make ideas much of what’s in the afterlife because I don’t know and it doesn’t help to speculate on that question, so I don’t try to achieve and try to go the route of imagining things that I don’t know about.
Dr. Singer: Right. And in that connection you told me that some people, including your niece claimed that your idea that someone has been entering your house and taking things, that the police say you are senile. Why would they say that?
Betty Lanham: Well you know why as I know why they say, but I don’t want to record it here.
Dr. Singer: Ok, but you do feel people are coming into your home?
Betty Lanham (09:17): Yeah there’s no question about that everybody acknowledges that
Dr. Singer: Right, right. Do you keep up with anthropology today?
Betty Lanham: You know I would like to keep up with it but, I haven’t… I should have
Dr. Singer: Well, when you’re reading, when you’re thinking, when you’re looking at news, how does anthropology shape what you…
Betty Lanham (09:45): Well the differences what I had in my other cultures that they contrasted with The United States. The same thing would be if I were born in the other countries and were talking about the United States including as a foreign country, then I would pay attention to the things that seem to be or represent a high achievement in some ways or lesser achievement in some ways. And I go the route of being able to not simply think of what people are told to think and that only in one culture but I have 3 cultures from which to draw.
Dr. Singer: What are the 3 cultures you draw from?
Betty Lanham: One would be Japanese or Japan you know, then Guyana and the other be the United States.
Dr. Singer (10:36): As Guyana, “Guyana” right? And as you read the news or look at the television news, what do you as an anthropologist, how do you look at the news, how do you analyze the news?
Betty Lanham (10:52): That’s an easy question to answer. In the sense that how is beneficial to other people. I look for responses, I look for write-ups that indicate what’s going on in the country that is beneficial to people in the United States, beneficial to people in the rest of the world as opposed to what is not beneficial.
Dr. Singer: So do you attend any of the meetings of the anthropology group?
Betty Lanham (11:22): Well we don’t have… I don’t know if we had an anthropology group here. I ran into crazy business within the anthropology here. First of all, I know things that other people don’t know about the anthropology here and that’s bad, that’s been bad. And I haven’t been impressed by the people that I have met in the anthropology department. Something they just, you know, knew less then seemed to be the case in other places
Dr. Singer: Right. And you must have seen in your field work, in Japan and Guyana and where else did you say? Japan, Guyana and…? What else did you say?
Betty Lanham: The third was United States
Dr. Singer: And what do you feel about how from a cultural point of view these countries think about getting old and dying?
Betty Lanham (12:21): Well the Japanese now are living longer than Americans are. And the Guyanese I don’t think are, at all, they are under an English medical system and how do they feel about themselves? Well knowing Guyana, in particularly somebody that’s not really old like a husband or wife or something… You know I’ve seen them crying miserably and pounding their head against some wall or something. They had the English system of medication. But it’s a good one. And maybe Guyana and Japan they take life as it comes and that mostly I guess which I do it.
Dr. Singer: Now in your first field work experience, where was that in Japan?
Betty Lanham: Yeah
Dr. Singer: And what was it like for you to have this first adventure outside of your own culture?
Betty Lanham (13:32): I fully enjoyed it. You know I always look forward to going into Japan as a missionary. I just didn’t go as a missionary I could’ve been a missionary when I went there but that said the Chinese wasn’t teaching at the university
Dr. Singer: Did the study of anthropology change your mind about being a missionary?
Betty Lanham: Yeah it did because if I was simply looking at the Bible I would be thinking in terms of everything in the Bible or close to everything in the Bible applies to, but I don’t do that now.
Dr. Singer: Now what do you do?
Betty Lanham (14:18): I look at it in terms of how people are benefiting or suffering as part of the consequences.
Dr. Singer: When you say “benefit” or “suffering”, can you give some examples of what you mean by that in terms of America, Japan, or Guyana?
Betty Lanham (14:36): I am going to give one that’s very good and that is that in Guyana people …Well in the United States for instance, I point this out in a group session. Now it’s not all or none but it makes sense of what I am talking about and that is if someone does something to you that you dislike or are mean to you, then people would sometimes people might think in terms of what can they do back to you to compensate for it. In Guyana people can do extraordinary things and that’s the way which you act today. So it doesn’t make any difference on tomorrow. You can change your reaction to the other person, on the tomorrow. And it’s very interesting and very nice. I remember one man was talking about how when he was young that he banged his back on the floor or something hard and he suffered deafness and still suffers from it now. He didn’t hold anything against him, so you know it’s a totally different ball game in case of this. For instance the whole attitude towards political situation is quite different from what it is here. You know I was teaching for instance there was a guest speaker who came. I thought I would dismiss class and people would like to hear him but they weren’t interested in him, he is not going to give me anything to talk about, so I resolved and continued to teach the class.
Dr. Singer: And where did you teach most of your life as a professional anthropologist?
Betty Lanham (16:13): More at Indiana university of Pennsylvania than anywhere else
Dr. Singer: And how long were you teaching there?
Betty Lanham: For about 20… 18 or 19 years something like that.
Dr. Singer: When you think about anthropology today, or do you think about anthropology today?
Betty Lanham: Of course.
Dr. Singer: How is it different then when you were teaching?
Betty Lanham (16:46): Oh today, today…from today? Today no, I haven’t been keeping up with it to that extent. I should. It would be interesting to look into it but I haven’t.
Dr. Singer: Right.
Betty Lanham: What they do is they get…I get out of patience with people, with this whole business. Because I think if they get very technical or very elaborated with all these things, that someone will think that they don’t know what they are talking about. But I am not interested in that, I want to know what seems to be the case or what doesn’t seem to be the case in these situations.
Dr. Singer (17:23): Let me ask you this. You are 91, I am 88. There are other anthropologists that I have talked to, who are depressed and who are full of anxiety, who really are not functioning actively. Do you think it would be good if there was something like an anthropologist helping group, an informal group that would reach out to older anthropologists to see if they can help in any way? Would you be willing to accept any kind of offer of assistance in any way from other anthropologist?
Betty Lanham: I still don’t know what is involved. Are you saying if an older anthropologist who is in his last years would be helpful as to a person who is younger?
Dr. Singer (18:24): No… For example if you should have a crisis with some form, have to go into the hospital, you are pretty much alone right now aren’t you?
Betty Lanham: Not totally, but go ahead.
Dr. Singer: And if there was an organization, say an anthropology assistance program that would come to you, that would advise you and that would try and assist you in some way. How would you feel about anthropologists helping anthropologists?
Betty Lanham (19:01): Only if it’s a person they know ahead of time. Because I think that the person who they know ahead of time can be helpful, whereas people who are a straight out of the blue…
Dr. Singer: So I have been toying with the idea of the senior anthropologists like us forming an informal assistance group and when they hear of an anthropologist who is alone, doesn’t have any outside contacts that they would reach out to such a person, female or male, and see if they can in some way assist.
Betty Lanham (19:49): You know one can only try but I don’t think it would work, that’s the point.
Dr. Singer: Because?
Betty Lanham (19:54): You have to know people, people that you know, people that you have been familiar with for some time. A person can do that on an artificial basis and then try and see how it affects a person. But I know for instance that just plain social worker, with this business of these robbers coming in my house, she came and talked to me. It was a great relief that she could... So you know it depends on who they are…people who are social workers, some are very good but others are not that good either. So it’s more of the personality of the individual that counts.
Dr. Singer: Do you think senior anthropologists, elder anthropologists like you and I… you could relate to them better than let’s say a social worker?
Betty Lanham: No it depends on who the social worker is.
Dr. Singer: Right
Betty Lanham (20:51) Because I have seen two of them and one of them is just mechanical nice and the other one who was very good, very good. So you have to get into an emotional plane for a person to be benefiting.
Dr. Singer: And it doesn’t make any difference if they are an anthropologist or anybody else.
Betty Lanham: Well it does, because different people have training in different areas.
Dr. Singer: Right
Betty Lanham (21:15): But anthropologists are trained for what they do in another culture. Now it is beneficial unquestionably if somebody is from another culture and they feel like they are isolated, they have somebody who feels who can understand them, and then it is beneficial. But I don’t know the anthropologist unless he’s been to that culture and has experienced a lot within it, it can be beneficial under that circumstance.
Dr. Singer: Now you have written a great many papers which have not been published
Betty Lanham: No I think practically everything I have written has been published.
Dr. Singer (21:53): Are you busy now trying to do anything with your field notes?
Betty Lanham: No, those have been published. That’s enough for all the information, nothing further on that, that I am interested in. I wanted, much earlier, as a time my mother was very controlling and I didn’t give it the attention that I should and try to control that. And I found that controlling people, is a person who feels unhappy about themselves and that is the reason why they force it upon others and that’s the sort of thing regardless. Outside of anthropology that I wanted to write about is what prompts people to be controlling of other people.
Dr. Singer (22:38): Is there anything that you would like to write now? Any subject you would like to put pen to paper to?
Betty Lanham: If I were going to put pen and paper to it, then I would do that. But I think an article in a magazine whether you read it today and tomorrow is gone.
Dr. Singer: Now when I told you that I would like to interview you about how and older anthropologist, at least 80 years of age, how they think about getting old and dying, what was your reaction to that?
Betty Lanham (23:20): My reaction was… I don’t know... (hahaha) So you know I didn’t have any specifics when you asked me and I don’t mind dying, so you know I expect that to take place so it didn’t bother me to the extent right now.
Dr. Singer: So you are not afraid of dying?
Betty Lanham (23:39): No, because that is what…you know it’s normal. I think that is the reason why I am not afraid of it.
Dr. Singer: Right. Do you stay in touch with the anthropology department here at the University of Virginia?
Betty Lanham (23:53): It’s been a washout. Now I don’t want to get too much into that because I don’t want it on the record. But I know things that were a washout that were not good. So I just completely, you know I would love to do it but I don’t want it recorded.
Dr. Singer: Oh that’s alright. Well why don’t I stop the tape right now.
Betty Lanham (24:17): You know I don’t want to get…there is probably pros and cons because I don’t want my whole life … to it but on the other hand that is something that is enjoyable. And particularly when you got, oh and…when I was teaching, what I didn’t like was that you have these introductory courses and you get a multiple choice answer to questionnaires and the students get evaluated on the basis of their scores on those tests. But its regards to retention and then you know they are not retaining it anyway. Now one time when I was teaching there was one student who said that he never took any notes at all, but any time you know… he is a physical anthropologist and I am not a physical anthropologist. I said anything that sounded a little off for him he would stop me immediately. He got everything right and straight and I was delighted you know that (one): he was listening and (two): that his statement was presented in a very effective matter of fashion. So it depends on a whole lot of other things. Like one time I had students coming to class and they were you know getting low scores and I looked at the thing and it had some multiple choice questions and then they had some that were discussion questions. And I said okay. I think it’s the multiple choice… I think it was the multiple choice questions that came out better, well one of them did. And I said look I know what happened I can look at you and tell the whole class and that is you stayed up to 12 o’clock or 2 o’clock in the morning and then you came to class and you couldn’t do it. Now you can do the multiple choices well but you can’t sit down and discuss anything intelligently. Now I said if you want to do it properly what you do, is you go home and go to sleep at 7 o’clock at night and then you wake up the next day and you are fine and you go through the whole process and you are in great shape. So you know you have to have things that are notable for them and sometimes when you see where the problem is, it does exist. Then you can correct it at some point in some ways.
Dr. Singer: Well you are in pretty good health now, and you got a big house here…
Betty Lanham (26:37): Ahh don’t say that… don’t even mention it because I am having trouble with I think the police department and everybody else who thinks I have got too big of a house. And other people don’t have a house.
Dr. Singer: But how do you spend your day? How do you spend your days now?
Betty Lanham: Oh well I got a lot of letters to write and I don’t get as many letters written. I try to get things taken care of so I don’t have the rubber things … I can’t remember the way I spend my days, I can’t. But sometimes the seniors I used to go up to, discussion groups but that doesn’t work out, no.
Dr. Singer: And it doesn’t work out because?
Betty Lanham (27:21): I’m thinking and I can’t possibly start another discussion with specifically books, and then discussing them, the books. And then go at that, because I don’t care whether it’s specific on anthropology or something else. For instance the book which Clinton wrote on, where he was trying desperately to get an agreement between the Arabs and the Jewish people and it’s a beautiful book, it is beautifully written. It is so excellent on what he attempted to do and these people on both sides are just so both terrible and not trying to make any amends or anything.
Dr. Singer: Are you reading anything now?
Betty Lanham: Yeah, I mostly keep up with political things.
Dr. Singer: Right. What’s different about anthropology today compared to the time when you were involved?
Betty Lanham: I don’t know I haven’t been following it to that extent. So I can’t tell you.
Dr. Singer: Is there anything that you would like to add about getting old and the last chapter of life?
Betty Lanham (28:41): Yeah, do things that you don’t think about that don’t cost you to think about it.
Dr. Singer: Like for example?
Betty Lanham: Well you got projects; you can do some physical projects.
Dr. Singer: What kind of projects do you have now?
Betty Lanham: Well because I had all that water, just the whole place was flooded down here. I had to do it myself. Well look I had a father who was nine children and he was the youngest, next to the youngest. And he did everything in the house and he was a lawyer. And you know I learned how to do lots of things other people wouldn’t. So I do, do a lot of things that are mechanical like that I don’t bring somebody else in for. So something is I do and sometimes I particularly read political things, they get me so upset that I read them to see what is going on and talk about. Now before it was great because we had a committed sensible and talked about these subjects and now it is just off the covers and it is not good.
Dr. Singer: Well I know you drive and I know you drive very well because we just drove to an Indian restaurant for lunch and came back. And you drive at 92 very very well. What would happen if something happened and you couldn’t drive? How would you manage then?
Betty Lanham (30:08): (hahaha) I would become sick. I just can’t imagine that you know, we have all sorts of things like this particular truck that would come by and pick people up
Dr. Singer: Oh they do that?
Betty Lanham: And take them and you know if you get bad. And I went one time to get this because I had my leg, one leg was difficult but I never did manage or do it. But life is almost an end if that is the case. You know I just don’t know how, it just interferes with my freedom, that’s it. I lived by myself almost entirely throughout my life time so I don’t know how to live with other people. So you know it would be difficult.
Dr. Singer: Would you consider going to an assisted living retirement home?
Betty Lanham: Never. As long as I don’t have to, I won’t.
Dr. Singer: As long as you don’t have to… under what circumstances?
Betty Lanham: That would be if I couldn’t drive you know.
Dr. Singer: If you couldn’t drive…and if there was a retirement home for anthropologists would you consider that?
Betty Lanham (31:31): Well in the sense that there is one place that frequent communication with me for a long time and this is the place during the time while I was teaching and this was the place somewhere in South-east Asia or Arizona maybe or some place. And it is only for ex academics and I thought, oh that sounds great! Because you know you can, people in your own field you might not be too happy to talk to some times you are happier to talk to people in your other fields too.
Dr. Singer: Why is it that anthropologist don’t like to spend time with other anthropologist in their own field? Why is that?
Betty Lanham (32:12): Well let me see, I didn’t know that that was the case. One time I was in a plane that took me to Guyana and I saw this young girl who had red hair and later I found out that she been out on the field, working in that area. And then I said to another person who was an anthropologist who was there, look we already saw this person and talk to her and so forth. And I found out that she… she already knew me, “I was in your class” That is the reason why I stared at her when I was in the plane but she didn’t tell me. That was terrible because being in the field she got malaria and I could have told her how to avoid it, and that sort of thing. But I can’t tell you what the answer to that is.
Dr. Singer: So do you have much social contacts here.
Betty Lanham: Well I have one person that I see fairly frequently
Dr. Singer: One person…
Betty Lanham (33:23): Yeah and this neighborhood is just and then I got the Senior center and you know and people I can be… I can find as many people to talk, to go places with, do things so it is not a loss.
Dr. Singer: But as far as the anthropology department or anthropology meetings…?
Betty Lanham (33:46): Well you know … here is the same thing I don’t want put it on the record. For instance one couple, the husband got his doctorate in anthropology I guess and I’m not sure but I think it may have been linguistics. I’m not sure, and he came here and his wife came here when I came here initially. I went up to the chair and I shared with this linguistic person you know. And he said well I would like to teach a course in anthropology. And this is great when you can do this because you got all the time you need to prepare for a particular class. And he said well we got so many wives of physicians and I had bad situations all over the country, very bad situations where they have to take the husband or wives of the people. He said we don’t have the space for it. And it is mostly about what was happening in different parts of the world; somethings are perfectly terrible when they brought with speakers. Among the worst things is what happened in Panama. This was something that was important and something that should be followed in ways, but you know there would be demonstrations downtown, everything against who won or so forth. They are still demonstrating to some extent but then the last few times I went and I had been away for a long time. It was just a matter of whether you going to build this road in the Charlottesville or that road in Charlottesville. So I was turned off.
Dr. Singer: Would you like to be in touch with other senior anthropologists? Would you want to be in touch with them?
Betty Lanham (35:45): Yeah, it depends on what they, you know some of them I would want to but it depends on how much they are like everybody else. Depends on what they are like as personalities and when you extend to it. As possible as opposed to non-possible
Dr. Singer: So just because they are octogenarians that doesn’t …
Betty Lanham (36:05): Oh no that doesn’t matter…very young or very old that doesn’t matter to me. You know as long as you can converse with them and learn new things and they can learn form you too. That’s fine.
Dr. Singer: Well alright Betty it’s been a long time since we have met. Must be at least 50 years...
Betty Lanham: It’s not 50 years! Is it?
Dr. Singer: It’s at least 50 years I think
Betty Lanham: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me be explicit now because when I was at Indiana University of Pennsylvania…I went there in 1970, now before I was there, Haring had had his problems because I was only at Albany med for two years. Then it could have been…
Dr. Singer: When did you get your PhD?
Betty Lanham: That is where I was having the problem with, 22 I think. 1922 probably?
Dr. Singer: I don’t think so…
Betty Lanham: Well let’s get down some paper and figure it out then, that’s easy.
Dr. Singer: Alright.
Betty Lanham: Oh 1969 I was in Guyana…
Dr. Singer: But you already had your PhD…
Betty Lanham: yeah yeah sure. Before I was in Guyana, I was in western Michigan University and then for two years and before that I was at Albany med... No, and before that I was in Albany med…well I’m not getting this done …
Dr. Singer: Well you went to Indiana university of Pennsylvania when?
Betty Lanham: 1970
Dr. Singer: 1970 and this is 2013 so that was at least 40 odd years that we haven’t met.
Betty Lanham: Well last time we met, we met..oh we didn’t in Albany. Well sounds like ‘67 in Albany so if it’s ‘67 in Albany …I guess…oh wait a minute. When did professor Haring die? That was when I was in Albany.
Dr. Singer: What were you doing in Albany?
Betty Lanham: Albany medical college
Dr. Singer: What were you doing there?
Betty Lanham (39:22): They hired a person who was an anthropologist in the Behavioral Science department. So I gave lectures of that sort, some turned out well some didn’t. I will tell you what the problems was I now know and it would have been much better if I had known at that previous period of time. See what happens is that the doctors don’t read literature they have a library that is not worth two cents. But what happens is that as soon as they need something they sent from Washington and then from there they will send it back to them and that is the next thing they going to read on something. But they don’t have time, I don’t fault the doctors anymore. All their time is taken up with seeing clients and if half the time they misdiagnose someone…that makes sense. So people should be spending a lot of time diagnosing and taking care of themselves, supplementing the diagnosis and taking care of themselves. so that is another problem.
Dr. Singer: So how do you see the future for yourself now?
Betty Lanham (40:31): I don’t know. I worry about that because you know everything for these last 20 years has been pretty dull and I don’t like that. So you know I could be in the small port, smallest things of moving alone better, but you see what happened when I tour, went into a house and first of all I wouldn’t never gotten the basement if I didn’t think in terms of the needing for the rent and this is what was available, it was almost not available here but I managed to that because I had the right people of where and when. But this house is much larger than I needed but you know it was what was available and the other one was just terrible and unbelievably bad. So that is the reason why.
Dr. Singer: So then the future for you if you were to try to project the future…What do you project?
Betty Lanham: I don’t know I would like to get on that thing on control and do it. You know I sort of thought about it at the time I was in the hospital with the cancer I thought that this was something I should definitely do. It is so interesting and so many good sources on the control thing. That would be, if I pursue a particularly subject… That would be the subject I would pursue.
Dr. Singer: Control?
Betty Lanham (42:00): Yeah that would be like people attempting to control other people. And you know what happens when people try to control others? They make themselves miserable, really miserable. And what happens is people don’t want to be around them and they can’t tolerate them. Watch the parents and watch the children, and see which children go frequently to see their parents. And which parents don’t. And the parents don’t realize that but they want to be important and being important means you are in control. My mother did it and you know I remember one time I was going down Washington boulevard to where my sister lived. And she was just adamant totally determined, you cannot do that. It is not safe. And at this time a rare instance I just decided to go ahead and I get down there and she gets on the telephone …and she says oh it’s alright…it has been alright all along hasn’t it? You know she wanted the control that was the only reason; they make themselves terribly miserable that way. So something and you got the whole Haiti in which not until just recently…oh that would be a beautiful case of control. The case of Haiti not until recently had they had a person who was such that he was elected by the people in the government. But what happened was the United States has a lot of companies down there and they all want cheap labor, For instance also for a long period of time the …the blood was brought back to the united States from people who donated blood in Haiti and so now what happens is they said; oh that’s not going to be. So every time they start getting independent and everything is good, the United States takes them out. And they took that man out of office twice and now he is totally out of office. I don’t know where he is now but I suppose they would have killed him if they had gotten the opportunity.
Dr. Singer: Is that Duvalier?
Betty Lanham (44:25): Yeah, I am not committed to only anthropology. I am committed to all the things that make people happy and unhappy within the society. And let me tell you the one that is Guyana, I can give you…well I don’t have any copies but I can make a copy if you are interested in. There is a difference in Japan in the way in which they treat people who violate the law and criminals and that sort of thing and it is the following. And that is… first you got to start with children is the story of the little Red Riding Hood…You know what the wolf does at the end of that story? He apologizes for what he has done, so all the stories told the children… nearly every one of them, the person who is guilty apologizes. Now if somebody apologizes, number (one): They are still grateful for the person who they apologize to and they don’t do it again. Number (two): people are willing to accept their apologies. Now we don’t do that in the United States but the police as I talked to another person who was working on this and said that is exactly what is happening when the police tend to arrest, now if it’s not something really bad then they would give them this choice of going right and doing the right thing from here on or they would tell them “alright we will let you be tested for this period of time” you know work on the outside and don’t repeat it.
Dr. Singer: Is anybody controlling you from trying to control you?
Betty Lanham: Well my mother did try to…but I don’t think that…That would be hard to control I tell you!
Dr. Singer: Betty are you happy?
Betty Lanham: Yeah, I think so. If I get rid of the robbers I would be happy. I’m not happy now with that going on…
Dr. Singer: With the robbers…
Betty Lanham (46:26): It is terribly distressing when you know that they are maybe around here. It’s terribly distressing you don’t know what, you know they may take just little things but you don’t want them little things gone and you know that it is here so that makes you even more nervous.
Dr. Singer: So that is basically the only thing that really bothers you?
Betty Lanham: Yeah…
Dr. Singer: Well I hope that problem could be resolved for you Betty.
Betty Lanham (46:58): I don’t know…and then I got all these things, I don’t like having all these things so I am going to cut down on the mail I contribute to, more to fewer.
Dr. Singer: What are they sending you in the mail now?
Betty Lanham: They all want money…
Dr. Singer: They all want money?
Betty Lanham: Well earth’s justice, they need earth justice, Green peace they need it…ADT that’s where the robber’s thing is.
Dr. Singer: ATT?
Betty Lanham: ADT is the company that wants me to pay them money for controlling the robber’s.
Dr. Singer: Have you hired them?
Betty Lanham: Oh yes…and you know it doesn’t do me any good and that’s hideous.
Dr. Singer: And they keep asking you for more money?
Betty Lanham: No. A commitment keeps taking it out of my account
Dr. Singer: Taken out of your account? Still taking out of your account? But why do you keep them if the robbers are still coming?
Betty Lanham: Well you have to sign up for a certain period of time number one and then there is other things that are just really bad and I don’t know we never got…I have a terrible time with it but the man I talked to on the phone just before you came now, not today but the day before…was fairly sensible but I couldn’t get a hold of him. You punch all these little things and when they come into the house the siren goes off, well they know how to control the siren…Oh here is what it is…
Dr. Singer: You mean the robbers know how to control the siren?
Betty Lanham: And that is when you see they gave me the keys, they had about three sets of keys and they each had a remote on it. The remote you open the house with, so the robbers came they got the keys so all they have to do is push the remote. And they been doing that all this time.