Bill's interview pt.3


Bill's interview pt.3


Willimantic, CT
Hosmer Soda
Great Depression


This is part 3 of Bill Potvin's personal oral history interview. He discusses his family history, Hosmer Mountain Soda, and Willimantic, CT with interviewer Andy and notetaker Jacob.


Colleen Duffy


Personal Recollections from Bill Potvin


CCSU and Dr. Juan Coronado




Bill Potvin


Copyright to this resource is held by Bill Potvin and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.






Andy Strand


Bill Potvin




Interviewers- Andy and Jake on notes

Bill: They were both… from the *clears throat* Great Depression Period so th- the people who lived through the Great Depression have a certain viewpoint on life (Andy: Right) its save for a rainy day type of mentality you know young people today now they spend what in their pockets.

Andy: Yeah well those (few) people were very frugal in that era.

Bill: Oh Unbelievable! Yeah tha- That was the nature that was passed on to, to our family and my mother came from a family with 11, she was the youngest of 11 and boy talk about poverty in the Great Depression. That was uh,,,sh- she saw it all.

Andy: And uh did her family migrate here uh in the 19th century?

Bill: Uh might've been before that even you know…

Andy: Okay so you're not sure about er…

Bill: no, no i don't know much about my mother’s family

Andy: Okay um so you don't, do you have any stories of your family about migrating or emigrating…?

Bill: no, no, not really.

Andy: or working in the factory in Willimantic?

Bill: Uh no I know the Potson family were business people so my grandfather who I never met he passed away, he actually ran in Willimantic a, it's actually amazing, there a picture of a barber shop-beauty parlor combination where there's three beauticians and three barbers in this mutual thing right on Union street in Willimantic must've been quite, and they just dealt with walk-in trade because you know that was an industrial center the industrial revolution occurred in Willimantic and it there was a lot going on. To think of that kind of business now, you look and you've got a barber shop here or there you know what I mean to have something like that employing six or seven people?

Andy: Well uh probably how many how many shops were there? There probably weren’t that many in town at the time.

Bill: no (indistinct with cough) most of the business went right there I would say. (Andy: yeah) So I have a picture of my dad standing there at about seven years old. Quite the picture.

Andy: Well that's it, if you're first to the table you get the ,you get the most out of it.

Bill: Laughs yeah so evidently we’ve always been in the business thing and thats how my dad got a hold of Hosmer. One of the owners in the early 50s had a heart attack and the business was available. He (his dad) had some background having worked with Pepsi-Cola in the 40s so he had soda in his veins is how we described it (Andy laughs) and then uh he had a couple of kids, me and my brother who worked like men for him in the late 50s and uh he was able to take the company that had been run down because the general trend in all little businesses as you know when you start maybe with the 50s is you start getting more and more corporate control so- and its still going on. I feel so bad for so many of the businesses. Like a typical article you read now ‘Third generation hardware store closes it doors’ you know Lowes and Home Depot have driven them out and so its the story, but behind the scenes you know; they’re in debt, the family is fighting amongst themselves as a few people say well “Grandpa wouldn’t want us to let go” somebody says “we’re losing so much money today. F- this we gotta get out.”

Andy: But there always, always are some that that survive i mean,..

Bill: well we’re one of them (Andy: uh yeah uh ) well we’re we gotta get out too . so we don’t have much time uh I’m 76 now and my brothers, there’s 4 brothers, one of us has died so there’s only 3 left…


3 minutes 58 seconds


Colleen Duffy , “Bill's interview pt.3,” Latino History Harvest, accessed May 19, 2024,

Output Formats