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Annalou Christensen, Full Interview


Annalou Christensen interviewed by Natalie Milbrodt


Time Period: 1920 - 2010


92-year-old Annalou Christensen (née McQuilling)’s parents purchased the lot for their home in the 1920’s from the original developers of the Waldheim Neighborhood in Flushing, Queens. Her father was from New Orleans and her mother was from New England. Annalou’s family has a long history in America, including a McQuilling who fought in the Civil War. As a child, she remembers neighbors renting out rooms in their mansions for extra income during World War II. McQuilling married her neighbor, Wayne Christensen whose family settled into the neighborhood in 1936 when both he and Annalou were freshmen on different campuses of St. John’s College. Annalou and Wayne had two children before Wayne left to fight in WWII like many of their friends and neighbors. When Wayne returned home safely from the war, he and Annalou went on to have five more children. They lived in a house her father bought for her in a handshake deal over the backyard hedge shortly after her marriage. Annalou went back to school for her masters degree in education after her last child was born and became one of the first Special Education teachers in the nation, pioneering teaching techniques for children with special needs. Mrs. Christensen remembers many aspects of daily life in Flushing over nine decades from the ice delivery trucks she chased as a child in the summer to a dangerous time in the early 1980’s when she survived a robbery alone in her home. Mrs. Christensen’s daughter, Susan Christensen is with her during both interview sessions and helps her mother recall dates and events during the interview. There is an additional 54 minute recording from October 31, 2010 that is not described in the content outline. In this session, Annalou and Susan Christensen review family photographs with interviewer, Natalie Milbrodt, to provide dates, names, locations and other information that has made its way into the catalog records for the images in their digitized form on the Queens Memory Project site.


Locations discussed: Waldheim, Flushing, Queens, NY


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