Bill's interview pt.2


Bill's interview pt.2


Bill Potvin sits down with interviewers Andy Sistrand and Jacob Reyes to talk about Willimantic, Hosmer Mountain Soda, Anti-War Activism as a Vietnam War Veteran, and his family history.


Andrew Velazquez


2022 Central Connecticut State University Heritage Fiesta


Dr. Juan Coronado and his Spring 2022 History 405: Local History and Community Development class






Andy Sistrand and Jacob Reyes


Bill Potvin from Willimantic, CT.


Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Connecticut


Bill’s Interview Part II
Andy:… it’s always been like that y’know. When, when the wars over then they are done with the soldiers y’know and then they’re just a problem.
Bill: I know it
Andy: Going back to ancient times-
Bill: yeah
Andy: it’s always been like that
Bill: But you’d uh hopefully uh uh we want to be able to learn a little from history. Unfortunately the Veterans for Peace are probably one half of one percent of veterans. There’s a little sliver of people who see it that way and a lot of other veterans they tend to be warmongers. Believe it or not.
Andy: So, so the, so the group that, that you belong to, is it Veterans for Peace?
Bill: Yes
Andy: Okay
Bill: Yup
Andy: And uh is that like a national organization?
Bill: yeah, yeah it’s actually uh international
Andy: Okay
Bill: Yup
Andy: How long have you been a member?
Bill: Probably for twenty five years
Andy: So it’s been around for a while
Bill: Yup. It started in the late ‘80s I think it was. I forget the uh thing.
Andy: Okay and um what, what does heritage mean to you? Does it have any meaning for you?
Bill: Well… Heritage would be the, the history of somethin’
Andy: mhm
Bill: y’know just like we – I have a company that’s a hundred – so our, our company has a heritage. Y’know it started before World War One so
Andy: So this is a company started by somebody else in your family?
Bill: No, nope it was started by a certain family, went to another family, and another, we’re the fourth family. We-Our family has now owned it from the late ‘50s through today, which is a longer period than the other three families.
Andy: Oh I see
Bill: Yup
Andy: Let’s see, and um, y’know, what um, what was the name of the company again?
Bill: Hosmer. H-O-S-M-E-R Mountain
Andy: Hosmer Mountain uh soda company?
Bill: Yeah
Andy: and you’re uh an owner?…
Bill: Yeah, I’m one of the owners
Andy: Alright and uh… what’s your cultural identity? You said French Canadian?
Bill: Yeah
Andy: and uh, do you have any uh-uh, strong uh, connection to that uh heritage?
Bill: No, not really, no, it’s just uh, y’know…
Andy: How, how long ago did uh-
Bill: Willimantic has had a wave of different ethnic groups over the years because they had the biggest thread mill in the world.
Andy: right, yeah
Bill: So they would, y’know, the French Canadians came down, y’know, in the late 1800s and then there was uh another wave of uh displaced persons-
Andy: right
Bill: …after World War II.
Andy: right
Bill: And then the Puerto Rican community too. So that when you got that type of a big business it, it draws uh people looking for work.
Andy: Right
Bill: There was five thousand people in one company.
Andy: Right so um so your family came down from Canada in the late 19th century?
Bill: Yeah
Andy: Okay uh… do you? uh… and they came right to Willimantic?
Bill: Yes
Andy: and is this uh both sides of your family?
Bill: Uh no that’s my fathers side, the Potvins. My mother is Scotch-Irish and she, she, y’know she grew up uh… They were both… from the-


Original Format

Digital Video & Audio Recording


Andrew Velazquez, “Bill's interview pt.2,” Latino History Harvest, accessed May 25, 2024,

Output Formats