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Jessie Bolton Interview

She stands at 5’, 8″ with an average body.  Her hair is long and thin, dark brown, and gray from old age.  The tears that come out her eyes is because she’s tired and because of old age.  Her hand shakes because she suffers from Parkinson’s.   The long fingernails stick out so that you’d think she was a witch.  The one small little dimple on the side of her cheek you can barely see.

Jessie Bolton was the first child to be born out of 11 children.  She was born in 1946 at her grandmother’s house in Louisiana. When Jessie was little, she and her younger brother and sister moved to New Mexico, where 5 more of her siblings were born.  The other 6 were born in Seattle, Washington.  When Jessie was growing up in Seattle, they’d always call her “Legs” because of how tall she was and how fast she was.  She had been on the track team since she could remember.  She’d always place 1st or 2nd in the sprinters or 400s.

Jessie had a lot of responsibility growing up the oldest; she had to always be there for her siblings. In her household, the Franklins didn’t play.  These were the olden days. If someone did something wrong and no one confessed, it was over the lap first and ask questions later.  There were a lot of times she was whipped because of her siblings.

Jessie graduated from Garfield in 1965. After graduating, she dated a guy named Cornelius Bolton who had impregnated her. None of the family really liked him, but she ended up marrying him since she was pregnant.  In 1966, Margo Bolton was born, and a year later in 1967 Kevin Bolton was born.  They were a year and 3 days apart from one another.  But they sure did give my granny a lot of problems.

By time the kids were 3, Jessie and Cornelius had divorced.  She moved on with her life and bought a house in the Rainier Beach neighborhood that she has now lived in for 46 years. She remembers when she first moved in to the neighborhood, she was the only “colored” one, and the youngest.  She was 25 when she moved into the house, and the other neighbors were in their 50s or late 40’s.

Jessie had begun to work at Noridian where she was the person who pretty much collected the money. She worked at that job since she was 26 and retired at the age of 60.  When she turned 62, she had to begin working again since she had to start bailing her oldest grandson out of jail, and all money was gone.  She works for Swedish/Providence/Minor and James Medical.

Though Ms. Jessie seems like she’s done a lot in her lifetime, Jessie Bolton really doesn’t like change at all.  She has never moved, she never officially changed jobs, and she’s never changed how kind she can be.  Even though times get hard, she keeps her head up and believes the Lord will help her.

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