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Interview with Gary Andreasen

Andreasen, Gary
Philbeck, Amanda
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places
Gary Andreasen talks about pranks he plays at work, growing up and moving to Charlotte.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Amanda Philbeck interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
GA (Gary Andreasen): My name is Gary Andreasen. That's spelled A-N-D-R-E-A-S-E-N.
AP (Amanda Philbeck): And how long have you lived here?
GA: Uh, 14 years.
AP: Why did you come here?
GA: Uh, I was hired by Piedmont Airlines.
AP: And you're originally from-?
GA: Omaha, Nebraska. Where the men are men and the sheep are nervous.
AP: [Laugh] Tell me about a childhood memory that sticks out in your mind.
GA: I was born the sixth son of a poor sharecropper-.
AP: Will you stop it? Be serious.
GA: A childhood memory that sticks out in my mind. [Cough] Well, being that it's near Halloween, I remember one time when we went to school in the morning and we walked there and it was so cold, that we had to carry hard-boiled eggs in our hands just to keep warm [pause] and of course, that was our lunch. And, um, we came home and it got dark early, had dinner, got ready to go trick-or-treating in about three and a half feet of snow.
AP: How old were you?
GA: I was probably around 10 years old and we'd have to, um, like knock over every snowman that somebody made, of course because it was Halloween, throw snowball at people's houses who didn't give us the right candy and, uh, do things like that.
AP: What was it like growing up there? ( ) What did you like about growing up there?
GA: Um, it was always cold, everybody was friendly. It seemed like everybody always had time for you, they never, you know, shoved you aside, it wasn't, you know like just, "Hey. How are you?" because they didn't really care. It was, "Hey. How are you?" 'cause they really were concerned about what was going on, you know, with you. It was a great place to grown up.
AP: What do you find different here than there?
GA: Uh, the people that are here, they just kind of say, "Hey. How are you?" and they really don't care. It's a big blend of a lot of people from different places, it's like the melting pot of the United States. You've got Northerners, Southerners, people from the west coast, the east. It's a weird mixture of people and at times I don't think that they get along. Even though they're neighbors, they just kind of like don't care, they go along their merry way and don't have time for others.
AP: ( )
GA: Uh, there was a girl that started there and she was, of course, and new part-timer and didn't really know what was going on and, um, [cough] we had unloaded an HR, which is a human remains, they come off the planes all the time and they fly different places and we put it in a cart and since she had her ( ) turned around where she couldn't see the cart, um, I crawled up into the cart and we told her she had to take it out to the freight house so it could be transfered to going to it's you know, final destination and to make sure she checked the routing of it so she could tell the guys at the freight house what plane it needed to go onto next. And so I rode in the cart all the way out to the freight house and of course when she opened the curtains to check the routing I gave her a big, "Huuuh." And, uh, she workedthere for I think another three weeks and then quit.
AP: Oh my God. [Laugh]
GA: 'Cause we were always doing stuff like that. We'd hide underneath mail or something and leave a hand hanging out and she's go over to grab something and the hand would grab her. It was just, yeah.
AP: Um. Tell me-. [Break in recording] How many-, you come from a big family.
GA: That is correct.
AP: What's it like having, having-, how many brothers and sisters do you have?
GA: Uh, six brothers, one sister.
AP: What was it like growing up I mean, with all of you?
GA: Chaotic. Shared a bedroom with, uh, I shared a bedroom with a brother all the way up until probably age 13 or 14 before I got my own room as the older ones moved out. There was one bathroom in the house. Um, I was often left you know, with the older brothers or whatever or to a babysitter or sometimes my sister, uh, when mom and dad would go out because I was youngest and they would always beat me up and I'm bigger than all of them. So, you know, sweet revenge. It's coming.
AP: [Laugh] Um, what do you-. What do you remember most about your grandmother?
GA: Um, let's see. My grandmother [cough] that lived near the grade school where I went to, we used to always go over there after school and you know, help her with stuff, whether it be help take out the trash, do some weeding in the garden or whatever, always had like ice cream cones and play games and stuff and do that until mom got off of work and came over to pick us up and, um, she was very, very spiritual. She was the strictest Catholic that you would ever know. Probably said the rosary twice a day, read the Bible constantly and um, she was a wonderful lady.
AP: You went to an all-.
GA: She was really old, though.
AP: [Laugh] You went to a private school, right? In prep? And what was it like going, going to an all-, and it was a very exclusive high school, what was it like going there?
GA: Uh, the homework was very demanding. You had hardly and free time, especially if you were playing sports. Because you went early in the morning, you had football practice early in the morning and then you had to go to classes and then you had football practice again right after school and it lasted until around six or seven and you'd come home and were so tired and beat and dead. It was everything you could do to have dinner and then go downstairs and do about three hours of homework and um, [pause] finally fall asleep and get up the next day and do it again. And there were no girls there so it really sucked.
AP: [Laugh] What would you say right now is your biggest accomplishment?
GA: My biggest accomplishment would be that I've stayed with the same job for 14 years, that I've settled in and that um, when I [cough] left Omaha I was 20 years old and left with just what would fit in the trunk of an old Dodge Duster. And um, went to Saint Louis for a while, lived there for about eight months and then came on to Charlotte, North Carolina and uh, settled in and I've gone from just the stuff in the trunk of a car to you know having a nice home and stuff and doing well for myself and family.