An Interview with Bruce Robertson conducted by Sofia Kanso-Robertson
(March 17, 2020 - during the Coronavirus pandemic lock down)
What is your full name?
My grandfathers name is Bruce Carlisle Robertson.
When were you born and where?
He was born in the year 1940 and in India.
How did your family come to live there? - (Audio link)
His parents were missionaries. Missionaries work to promote faith and share their religion in places that don't have a great understanding of it. Their jobs take them all over the world, which is why his family moved to India.
What was special about the house you lived in?
The house my grandfather described was very big, almost like a mansion. the ceilings were high, which helped with the very hot and dry climate in India. One interesting thing about this house is that it was shared between two families. My grandfather's family, and another family in which the parents were also missionaries.
Do you have any early childhood memories?
My grandfather remembers His aya. An aya is basically a live-in babysitter, she would always be with him and his brothers taking care of them. One thing he remembered about his aya is that sometimes he would tease her with mischief.
What were the personalities of your mother and father like? - (Audio link)
His mother, Ila Robertson, was very caring and kind. She was described as the kind of person who was always there for her children and family. She was also very strong, she ran the household, and made sure everything got done, and everything was clean and sanitary.
His father, Irvine, was very easy going and loved, and he was a professor at a local seminary. A seminary is a school where you prepare to be ordained to work in the church. He was easy to be around, and made an effort to make people more comfortable. He knew multiple languages including Hindi.
What food did you eat growing up? - (Audio link)
He ate curries and Indian foods, but on days like thanksgiving and Christmas, he would eat classic American foods. One very interesting aspect of an Indian thanksgiving or Christmas is that everyone would go out and hunt peacocks. This was a very special tradition for his family.
What world events growing up had the biggest impact on you? - (Audio link)
When he was living in India, there was a time the Japanese were about to invade. So everyone was evacuated into the hill stations, which was a safe place, where they would stay during the Summer months.
What advice would you give your younger self? - (Audio link)
Be yourself, and be bold. Don't let people take advantage of you, but don't get yourself into trouble. When you break a rule and get in trouble, don't think of it as unfair, just deal with the consequences and move forward. Be free and don't be afraid to push the envelope.