My Son’s Interview

For his seventh grade humanities class, my thirteen-year-old son was given the assignment to interview someone, for which he had to write his own questions. Thomas chose to interview me, and here are the results, from December 2016 (photo from 2014). This was an assignment for his school, the International Community School in Kirkland, Washington, which he attended for seven years, graduating in 2022 (he was one of 65 to be admitted out of around 800 applicants, and his sister was admitted two years later). At various times, ICS has been ranked among the top 20 and top 100 high schools in the entire United States, including both public and private schools, and has received a #1 ranking for its math curriculum (my son’s favourite subject).

by Thomas Welch

I am interviewing my dad. The interview took place at my house. I chose my dad to interview because he was the closest person I could find, able to talk face to face, and has many things to say that I wouldn’t know already.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Traveling with parents and siblings in Europe for two summers when I was about 11 or 12. One summer we explored Scandinavia, including Legoland and the Little Mermaid in Denmark, the fjords in Norway, and other sites in Sweden. The next summer we visited Italy, the former Yugoslavia, and Greece. I wrote journals of all these trips.

What is the most beautiful place you have been to?

I would say a tie between Lake Louise, Alberta, Chamonix, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland. All of them happen to be places where I’ve enjoyed skiing. The fall colours in Kyoto are also beautiful at all of the temples and shrines.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Some of my favorite things to do include reading and writing poetry and essays, downhill skiing, playing racquetball, traveling, and photography, plus listening to guitar solos. I also love books, including reading, collecting, writing, and publishing them. I also enjoy spending time with my children by taking them to fun and educational places and activities in the Seattle area and beyond. I also enjoy working on my websites and planning poetry-related events.

What would your dream house look like?

My dream house would have six bedrooms, a large library, media and family rooms, a writing studio, great views of mountains and water, a game room, a music room, and other rooms that houses have. But most of all, I would like my dream house to have a tower with a useless room at the top. It would also be fun to have a secret room somewhere.

Who was the best teacher you ever had?

I don’t think I’ve had one best teacher, but I remember particularly liking my grade one teacher, Miss Skrupa. I also particularly liked two English teachers in high school and college who turned me on to reading and especially writing poetry, which has become a lifelong passion.

Who would you be if you could be anyone in history?

This question has never been important to me, but I suppose it would be interesting to be Lewis Carroll, Winston Churchill, E. E. Cummings, and the Japanese haiku poets Bashō and Shiki.

What would you change in your life if you could change something?

If I could change one thing in my life, I would like to be more musical, so I could play various instruments, especially guitar and piano, and to be able to sing well. I envy my son who is so good at being musical, especially on the violin.

What would you want to do if you only had 24 hours to live?

The practical answer is to put all my papers in order and to take care of personal issues that my family wouldn’t know how to sort out. But an impractical answer is also fun to think about. I would like to visit the moon, and take my family with me.

What I learned from the interview process it that it can be hard to find an answer to every question. There are always answers I wouldn’t expect, like something that is out of his personality, like going to the moon, or being musical. I think this assignment was somewhat fun, being able to learn a few new things about my dad.