Issue 24 August 2002

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The Interview

The middle child out of a family of five, Deborah Quinton was born in 1974, at the Northern General Hospital. She went to Firs Hill Infant and Junior Schools and then on to Firth Park. Deborah has always lived in the area and still meets regularly with her friends from school, ‘We go out once a week at weekends, just usually around town. We go over to a friend’s house for a few drinks and then to Division Street – The Forum, Halcyon and places. It’s quite nice actually, it’s usually all sisters out together. Me and my sisters, and my friend Lorna and her sisters. Deborah worked as a care worker and youth worker and is now full-time parent for her two young sons, Lucas and Marc. Marc also goes to Firs Hill School, ‘I wanted him to go there I think, because his dad’s family did and I did – I just wanted to like, keep the tradition up. Plus, because it’s well mixed as well, more than anything – I think it’s important.’

What is your idea of happiness?
I like seeing the children playing really, seeing them happy. Just little things like that really – them running around and having a laugh with each other. That’s it basically.

What is your greatest fear?
Things not changing, y’know? Like fighting and wars and drugs and guns – hopefully it’ll have improved when my kids are teenagers. I’m only 28 but I do feel old – it’s like, ‘it weren’t like that when I were young’. I don’t really have any goals for my kids - I’d just like things to be better than they are now.

What do you dislike about yourself?
I’m stubborn – very stubborn – to the point where I’m just like spiting myself – I’m just, ‘no, I’m not backing down’. And, I can be a bit outspoken. If I think something needs to be said I tend to dive in there.

What do you dislike about others?
I don’t like liars. I don’t like two-faced people – people who are all nice to your face and then they’re just totally different.

What makes you sad?
Ignorance in people. People who won’t except change, who are just like stuck in a rut, or in old times. I don’t like ignorance. You come across it regularly and sometimes you have to let it pass by you.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My children. Definitely. Everything they do, like the little one - he’s just beginning to get his words together – he’s getting his personality. And Marc, he’s just a bright spark, y’know? I could talk about them all day.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Just things like, ‘y’know?’ and, ‘like’ and, ‘innit’. I’ve got a terrible, terrible, habit of saying, ‘innit?’ when someone says something. Just little things like that.

What is your greatest regret?
I can’t say I have any really, although I would have liked to started driving when I left school. But I do intend to drive within the next year. Apart from that I don’t really have any – I just get on with it.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?
For everyone to be equal.

What is your earliest memory?
I think it has to be at nursery actually. When I was there we used to have this room where you could sleep in the afternoon, and it had like big sponge shapes to lie on. And I always remember being curled up on one, on a half moon shape. And I remember playing in the sand pit down there as well. And we used to sit outside on the wall and have a piece of apple and those little bottles of milk. Nothing much has changed about school at all.

How do you relax?
I like to read – a lot of reading. And I listen to music – soul, R&B. And if I’m going out I listen to something faster to get into the mood.

Which living person do you most admire?
It’s my Nannan, Nannan Doris. She’s 83, and she’s not had a good life really. She had 10 kids. She’s always got a smile. She sees the kids and she just laughs and dances with them. She was mugged a couple of years ago, and it did knock her for a while but she just got on with it y’know? She didn’t let it bother her. She’s just so lovely. She’s like a 65 year old – she likes to dance and have a laugh and a joke. She just recently started wearing jewellery, she’ll look at me and say, ‘That’s nice – can you fetch me one of them?’. She likes looking at my shoes and everything. So, yeah – I think it’s my Nannan.

What is your favourite smell?
It’s going to have to be the kids again. When they’ve come out of the bath and you’re just putting them in bed and you have that children’s smell. Do you know what I mean? They have a right familiar smell. You could put loads of smells on them – but it’d just be them that I’d pick out.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
I think it’d be money. Not to have loads. I’d like to travel – I’d like to do a lot of travelling. Marc loves animals and I’d like to take him to Africa. I wouldn’t like to be a millionaire or have a lush life – but just to be able to do what I want really.

What keeps you awake at night?
Just day-to-day things. What’s happened that day and what I’ve got to do the next day. Just trying to unwind really. It’s like all in my mind and then within 10 minutes I’m asleep, I’m that tired out. I’m up at half past six every morning so…

How would you like to die?
Just content and peaceful.

How would you like to be remembered?
Just for being a good person I suppose. A good person, and a good mother.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I think, to treat people as you’d like to be treated. Stick by your morals and don’t let them slide.


Interview between Deborah Quinton and Kim Streets
17th July 2002

Deborah Quinton.