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Interview with Anna Barlet and Lisa Barlet

Barlet, Anna
Barlet, Lisa
Collins, Ann
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places
Anna talks about her family and Barbies and traveling
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Ann Collins interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
AC (Ann Collins): OK. Why don't you tell me your name?
AB (Anna Barlet): Anna Barlet.
AC: And how old are you?
AB: Six.
AC: Six. What school do you go to?
AB: University Meadows.
AC: And what grade?
AB: First grade.
AC: First grade. Do you, are you reading a lot in first grade now?
AB: Yes.
AC: What kind of things are you reading?
AB: Um, The Best Grandma.
AC: The Best Grandma. Do you, do you remember what the book was like? Was it a tall book? Or what color was it?
AB: It was about that tall.
AC: About that tall. What color? Do you remember what color it was?
AB: Purple.
AC: Purple. Did it have pretty pictures in it? Yes?
AB: And at the end, it says, "She was the best grandma ever."
AC: OK. When you read the books at school, do you sit in a circle?
AB: I can sit at the line and over here.
AC: Sit at the line? OK. When you come home, do you read extra books than you do in school? Do you read the same kinds of things?
AB: I read all kinds of books. I passed all of them.
AC: You did?
AB: Yeah. Level one and level two and level three and level four and level five and level six and level seven and level eight.
AC: Wow. How many levels do you have to reach? Do you know?
AB: All the way.
AC: All the way? To nine? Well, you don't have much further to go then, do you? Not really. Does mom read you books or daddy or you read them completely?
AB: No.
AC: No? ( ). You didn't?
AB: I told her to read to me, but she wouldn't read to me. [Laughter]
AC: So Mommy used to before she went to work. Let's see. Uh, do you remember any particular story that somebody read to you that you didn't read on your own?
AB: No.
AC: You don't? What are some of your favorite books, Anna?
AB: Um.
LB (Lisa Barlet): Tell her about the Barbie book, OK, tell her about your Barbie book, Anna.
AC: Yeah, I hear you like Barbie a lot.
LB: Do you remember reading about Marshmallow?
AB: Um, there's a kitty cat and there's a girl named Malibu and, um, there's a cat and her name's Marshmallows and she done had three little kittens and the one, the first, the little white one was named Barbie and-.
LB: What were the other two names?
AB: Um.
LB: Gray and black, right? But they named the white one Barbie.
AB: Since it was cute.
AC: They should have named that one Marshmallow, right?
LB: I know it, Marshmallow Junior. [Laughs]
AB: That was the big white one.
AC: Oh, OK.
AB: She would lay around and clean all day 'cause she was ( ) and put stuff in the computer for Barbie.
AC: Oh, OK.
LB: They went to where-, what was Barbie's, what was Barbie's, um, web page's sign?
AB: Barbie dot com.
AC: Barbie dot com, is there a real Barbie dot com?
AB: Yeah.
AC: There is? Do you look at it a lot?
AB: Yeah.
AC: What kind of things do you find on there?
AB: Barbie stuff, all kinds of Barbie stuff.
LB: Tell her what you ordered off of your Barbie dot com.
AB: I ordered a girl, you can pick out anything, pick out hair, pick out, um, the eye color, pick out the-.
LB: Tell her ( ) wow, wow, wow.
AB: Pick out the, um, color dress, the color skin, the color, um, oh, the colors in the, on the nails.
AC: Nails? What did you, what did you name your Barbie?
AB: Um, uh.
LB: What did you name your Barbie we ordered from Barbie dot com?
AB: Lisa.
LB: Anna Lisa. Anna Lisa Barlet.
AB: Nah, I named her Lisa.
LB: We ordered it special for her.
AC: Well, that's neat. So they actually send you a real doll with all of those things?
LB: Uh-huh, yeah, 84 dollars worth of doll.
AC: Wow. You better hold on to that one. Right?
AB: My daddy didn't let me open the box for it.
AC: Yeah, they're worth more if you don't open the box. At least you can still see it, right, and know that you picked it out?
AB: Yeah, it's got a little opening, a little opening, a little piece open.
AC: So you have it already, or are waiting for it?
LB: Oh, we have it.
AB: And you want to know what the color dress is? It's all purple.
AC: Is it?
AB: And the eyes are bluish green.
AC: Well, neat. I've never heard of such a thing before.
LB: It's what they call a custom order Barbie.
AC: I've never heard of that. Let's see, does anybody you know tell stories?
AB: No.
AC: Not lies, but just tell you stories?
LB: Does Miss Kelly like to tell you about Connecticut?
AB: Yeah.
LB: And the things they did in Connecticut?
AB: Yeah, and, uh-.
AC: Who's, who's Miss Kelly?
AB: Miss Kelly is the, um, the, um, Hannah's and Han's mother.
AC: OK. What does she-, do you remember anything she told you about Connecticut? Is that where they're from?
AB: She's got a-, Hannah's got a little stroller they bought it from Connecticut, and Miss Kelly's and Hannah's birthdays is in June, but not June.
AC: Oh, OK. Were, was, um, Hannah and Hans, were they born in, um, Connecticut too, or just their mom? Do you know?
AB: I don't know whether they-.
LB: Hans was born in Connecticut and Hannah was born here in Charlotte.
AC: When they tell you stories about Connecticut, what do you think? Are you bored or do you like it?
AB: I liked it.
AC: Why do you like it?
AB: Because Connecticut has lots of things in it there.
AC: What do they have that you don't have here that you think you would like?
AB: Connecticut is close to New York.
AC: Oh.
AB: And Charlotte is close to Tennessee.
AC: Right. What's in Tennessee?
AB: The sea.
AC: The sea?
LB: The sea? [Laughs]
AC: So, about New York, what do you, what do you think about New York?
AB: It's real big.
AC: It is. What, what would you do there?
AB: All the things you haven't done.
AC: Like? Where would you want to go?
AB: Um.
LB: Would you like to go see the Statue of Liberty?
AB: Yeah.
AC: Yeah?
AB: I've got a movie about New York.
AC: What, what's it like?
AB: It's called Jungle to-.
AC: I think I've heard of that.
AB: Jungle to-.
LB: Jungle to Jungle, right? Jungle to Jungle?
AB: Jungle to-.
LB: Jungle to Jungle, isn't it?
AB: No, Jungle to-.
LB: Oh, well, anyway, in this movie, this little boy climbs up on the Statue of Liberty, just sitting up on the top of it.
AC: Would you do that?
AB: No. He's sitting up, and he looked down he looked down and he said-. [Laughs]
AC: Do you think he was scared after that?
AB: Yeah. I wouldn't get up there.
LB: What do you like to do in Tennessee, Anna? Who do you like to go visit?
AB: I like to go visit the sea.
LB: The sea? There's no sea in there, but there's Gatlinburg. You gonna tell us about Gatlinburg?
AB: Gatlinburg is my daddy's favorite place.
AB: And mine too. My uncle, my cousin Josh went with us.
LB: And what did you get to do there?
AB: I got to play in the snow.
AC: It snowed?
LB: Say, we got to build a snowman.
AB: Before we met you, we got to-.
LB: She got to build her first snowman. And she got up one day and said, "Daddy, it's snowing in Gatlinburg," he said, "Well, what about it?" And she said, "I want to go," he said, "OK. Pack you some clothes, let's go." And we pulled out that afternoon. It was perfect.
AC: Wow.
LB: So we went to Gatlinburg.
AB: We stayed in a motel.
AC: Tell me how you make a snowman. What do you do first? How do you do it?
AB: I roll up a big old ball of snow.
AC: Right.
AB: And then I roll up another ball, and then another ball, and then I put some decorations on it.
AC: Do you put them on top of each other?
AB: No.
LB: You don't put them on top of each other? How you gonna get them all together?
AB: No. You put, you put the-, you take the little one and you put the eyes on them and a nose and a mouth and then you do the third, the tw-, the two-.
LB: The body part?
AB: And then you put buttons on them.
AC: You use buttons?
AB: Yeah. And sticks for the arms.
AC: What do you use for, does he have, uh, anything else on his face?
AB: No.
LB: You mean he don't have a nose?
AB: A hat, I said a nose.
LB: Oh, you said a nose?
AB: And a hat. And a hat.
AC: What kind of nose, do you use buttons for everything?
AB: No, I think I used a carrot.
AC: A carrot?
LB: You won't be able to hear a word she is saying.
AB: You forgot to say where were you.
AC: Well, where were you?
AB: Georgia.
AC: How long ago?
AB: About six years.
AC: Do you remember anything about Georgia?
AB: No.
LB: We have an aunt that lives in Georgia.
AB: Aunt Susie and Aunt Shelly.
AC: What do you remember about Aunt Susie and Aunt Shelly?
AB: Aunt Shelly had a little girl and a little boy. And they're real tall.
AC: Are they?
AB: Yeah.
AC: How old are they? Older than you?
AB: Yeah. And then they had a baby ( ), and Amanda sent me a post card.
AC: Did she? Now tell me about your postcards. That's something we want to talk about.
AB: The postcard said something. The first part said, "Hey girl. How are you doing?
" AC: [Laughs]
LB: She wants you to tell about the ones that you got from the different states, Europe, Georgia.
AB: Aaron from Europe sent me one.
LB: Las Vegas.
AB: And-.
LB: Germany.
AB: Uh-huh.
AC: Which is your favorite picture?
AB: ( ).
LB: Which one? The one with bright lights on it? The shiny one? The one that changes colors when you hold it? Or the other one?
AB: That one.
AC: That one? Which one is your next favorite? Which picture has something on it that you can remember?
AB: It has a ( ) and it's yellow.
AC: Yellow?
LB: Yeah.
AC: What did you do last night?
AB: I went over to ( ).
AC: And what did you do?
AB: We went to sleep.
AC: Is that all you all did? Just go over there and went right to sleep?
AB: No. Played.
AC: What did you play?
AB: Um, we played dolls and, um, we played Barbie dolls.
AC: What were some of the other things that you did?
AB: Um. We had ice cream and she made a cake for us. ( ) [Laughter] I ate all my dinner and breakfast.
AC: Right. Do you want to go back again soon?
AB: ( )
AC: Well that's closer, right? Now, I'm gonna ask Mom some things. You want to add anything? You can still talk too, OK?
AB: I'll listen.
AC: [Laughs] OK. Do you remember reading any stories when you were little, anything in particular?
LB: Green Eggs and Ham.
AC: Oh, yeah. What, what makes you remember that?
LB: It just, I bet, we read that book until, I can, my mama read me that book until she could just read it by heart and not even look at the paper.
AC: Right.
LB: I don't know. I always liked that particular book.
AC: Was there anything in the way your mother read the book that was different, did she use different voices or-.
LB: No.
AC: No.
LB: She was just happy to get it over with. [Laughs]
AC: Right, right. [Laughs] Oh, let's see. Do you remember any family members telling you stories about their childhood, or anything tragic that happened or anything like that?
LB: Well, the only thing that's tragic that's ever, well my oldest sister ran away from home when she was 14 and got married. And she had, she had five kids by the time she was 21.
AC: Wow.
LB: The first set was a set of twins, and her and her husband got into a fight and he pulled her down a flight of steps and he caused her to go into labor early and she lost her twins.
AC: Oh, no.
LB: So, and, uh, they ended up getting a divorce, and my brother, he was in Vietnam, he signed up to go over there, see, and he was a marine, and he stepped on a mine and lost his one of his feet. And, uh, my mama told me stories about how it would upset her, and I was just a baby then, so I would not, I said that Daddy would try to come and help her and I, that I thought it was daddy who was upsetting her.
AC: Oh.
LB: And when, uh, he finally got back to the States, um, he told Mama that he was in Philadelphia and Mama said that she was going to leave the kids behind and her and Daddy was going to fly up there, and he told her no that if she couldn't bring me then just don't. And this happened recently, my sister and her husband got a divorce and come to find out that his daughter just recently had a little boy. He was born in October.
AC: Right.
LB: It was a blessing and then she came home to visit after the baby.
AC: Right.
LB: We went and got Anna out of school at two and we were sitting in Augusta, Georgia.
AC: Wow. ( ).
LB: And then Lee Lee went in and kissed the baby and then he was ready to go home, wasn't he Anna? He wouldn't stay. He wouldn't even go over to my parents' house.
AB: But when the ( ).
LB: ( ) But my parents, my parents did not push education. Um, college was never discussed.
AC: Right.
LB: Like with me and my children, it's not, "Are you going to college?" It's, "Which college are you going to?
" AC: Right.
LB: And, uh, I worked two jobs and put myself through college. My mom taught you to start working, support yourself, and go on.
AC: Right.
AB: I'm starving. [Laughter]
LB: That has nothing to do with what we're talking about, sweetie.
AB: I just heard my tummy go growl.
AC: On this, you put that you're from South Carolina. Were your, were your parents from South Carolina originally?
LB: Uh, no, my mama's from Lancaster, which is right across the state line from Charlotte, and my father was an immigrant from Alabama.
AC: Oh, OK.
LB: And he was down here when he was about 12 or 13 years old. Um, anyway, um.
AB: But, she, she has some little girls and they kind of look like twins. The, the mother, she's white, and the daddy's black.
AC: Yeah. How old are they? Your age?
AB: Um, the little girl with long hair, um, she is, um, Journey, that's her name, she is, um, three.
LB: I think she's three no, she's four, she just turned four, and Camry, she is, she's six, she turned six in September.
LB: But they look a lot alike.
AC: You know lots of people, don't you?
AB: Yeah, 'cause I'm meeting lots of people.
AC: Yeah.
LB: The swimming pool is the best place to meet people. My mom was married.
AB: I'm gonna look around.
LB: Don't bother anything.
AC: Miss Katie's in there, you can knock on the door, no, she's in there, you can go in there too, if you want to.
LB: Um, my mom got married when she was out of high school. Um, she was married to a man that was married to three other women.
AC: Was that a common thing?
LB: I have-, she said he was a traveling salesman. He was traveling all right. [Laughs] Um, and my and as a rule in my family, everybody in my family has been married twice except for me.
AC: Wow.
LB: With the exception of me.
AC: Right.
LB: And, um, ah, and she loves to tell these wives tales like, um, for instance when Lee was born, um, he had a knot in his umbilical cord, and she told me not to worry about having anymore babies that the doctor had told her mother when she had her last child that, he had a knot in his cord as well, and that that meant she would never have anymore babies, and so she never had anymore.
AC: Hmm.
LB: So she told me not to worry about having anymore kids.
AC: Right ( ).
LB: That's just like when you're pregnant and you have a lot of, ah, indigestion.
AC: Uh-huh.
LB: Ah, you'll have a baby with a head full of hair.
AC: No way.
LB: That doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
AC: Right.
LB: 'Cause Anna like to killed me and she came in this world almost bald.
AC: [Laughs]
LB: Lee, Lee looks like he would have had a lot of hair. Lee had a lot of hair. He came into this world just the way he is.
AC: Right. [Laughs]
LB: Anna, when I was in labor with her that's the first question I asked was did she have any hair. With Lee, I had him totally natural, I could have cared less if he'd a been polka dotted or whatever. [Laughter] I didn't care. I just wanted to get it over and done with.
AC: OK. Of everybody in your family, who was the best storyteller? Do you remember a grandparent or an uncle or aunt or anything?
LB: Well, if you set and listened to my mom and the stories that she told as she was coming up, there's a place in Lancaster or Flat Creek, whatever that name of that little town is, that's called Forty-Acre Rock. And I can bring you some stuff on it if, when we're finished. And supposedly at one time, um, this Forty-Acre Rock was a piece of granite stone that was 40 acres. OK? And that was their hangout place. And they would go through the fields and steal sweet potatoes, and potatoes, and watermelons and whatever and then they'd end up down there at the Flat Creek, there and it had a creek that run through it as well. And they would build them a fire and roast their potatoes and have lots of fun.
AC: Like, the young people?
LB: Yeah. Back in their younger days. And that's what she would do ( ), um, she has never owned up to being pregnant with my sister when she was in high school, but she slipped up one day and said, because her finger, she broke her finger, and all of us have a crooked finger 'cause she broke her finger, and was talking about Gale, which is my older sister, said hers was crooked the most, and I asked her how she did it, and she said that, um, she said that she was pregnant with Gale and she got it slammed in the school bus door.
AC: [Laughs]
LB: And, um, you know I guess maybe she didn't realize what she was saying but, um, it sort of slipped out and, um, but she told us coming up in school and coming and growing up that we didn't have to worry about birth control that we could get out there and get pregnant if we wanted to, but we'd have an instant abortion 'cause she'd beat it out of us.
AC: [Laughs]
LB: And I believed her.
AC: Yeah.
LB: Every word she said I believed her. But out of all of us, I'm the most educated one in my family.
AC: What made you want to go to school?
LB: Um, I've always had a passion for computers, and, um, but when I was going to college they only had like one or two computer courses that you could choose from, and, um, so that's what I wanted to do, I wanted to work with computers. And, um, I don't know, I just, I just chose on my own. Um, my mom and I fought from the time I was 13 until the day I graduated from high school. I was living on my own two days after I graduated from high school. And I lived by myself, paid all my bills, and-.
AB: And you and Daddy one day met.
LB: Yeah, you weren't around when I met Daddy.
AC: [Laughs]
AB: I know when you met.
AB: You told me.
AC: Tell me how they met.
AB: No, I know.
LB: How did we meet?
AB: You, you met, you met Daddy at a motel.
LB: At a motel? I don't think so.
AB: No, an apartment.
LB: OK, that's more like it. [Laughter]
AC: That changes a whole lot.
LB: Yeah, it does. [Laughs]
AB: Apartments look just like motels.
LB: Well, some of them do look just like motels. But, yeah, her daddy was the guy next door.
AB: And they saw each other and then they got married. Daddy looked so handsome.
LB: You can't tell that she loves her daddy now can you? [Laughter]
AB: He's got black all over him.
AC: He does?
AB: Yeah, black hair, black mustache, and kind of darkish skin.
LB: Say, in the summertime he gets a nice tan. Unlike me and Anna Boo, we get burned.
AB: But Daddy's skin gets dark.
AC: So we heard that one version, so how did you meet?
LB: [Laughs] Believe me, it was not at a motel. [Laughs] Jeez, um, how we met originally is pretty cool, it really is, ah, we met our first time, the first time we ever laid eyes on each other was February 3rd. Um, I had I had wrecked my car in November and I had been without a car from November to February. So when I got my tax money back in February, I went and bought me a car. So, my mom wanted to borrow it to go to church because two weeks after I wrecked my car, my father wrecked his car.
AC: Oh, no.
LB: So, we had one car between us. So, um, my dad was working second shift and she wanted to go to church that night so she wanted to borrow my car. And, um, so I told her fine, no problem, she could have it. So when she pulled up, she dropped me off at my apartment but I put the emergency brake up, OK? And it was probably, I don't know, a 100 feet away from my front door of my apartment. And Terry was, and it was like a, he was the guy next door but he lived in a different apartment building.
AC: Uh-huh.
LB: The apartments were side by side.
AC: All right.
LB: And he was standing out on his balcony gawking at people as he always does and, um, she shouted across the parking lot, "Lisa, how do you put the emergency brake down?" And I was unlocking my door, so everybody in the apartment complex heard her. So, anyway, I walked back out to the car, put the emergency brake down for her so she could go on her merry way, and I heard this voice say, "These new cars are hell, ain't they?" And I couldn't find it, I heard him but I couldn't find him, so finally I looked up and there he was at the top and, um, he chitter chattered for a few minutes and, ah, he asked me for my phone number and I told him I didn't give my phone number to strange people. He said, "Well hold on a minute," he said, "I'll give you mine." Said, "Do you have something to write on?" I had just come in from school, so my hands were full of books, I had a pencil, the whole nine yards, but I told him no, I didn't have nothing to write on.
AC: Right.
LB: So, anyway, he said, "Well, hold on a minute, let me get something to write on," and said, "I'll toss it down to you." Well, he went inside to get a pencil and piece of paper. I went home. [Laughter] So, the following Valentines Day was on a Sunday that year, so on Monday I met him again out at the mailbox.
AC: Right.
LB: And he asked me what I got for Valentines, and I told him the same thing I got last year. He said, "Which was?" And I said, "Absolutely nothing." [Laughs] And the guy that I had been dating, um, I had dated him for a while and, um, we were supposed to go out that night, and he was supposed to pick me up at eight o'clock, and he showed up at my house at seven-thirty and I wasn't there so he thought I wasn't going out with him. So he went out with somebody else. Anyway, he showed up at two that morning telling me about who he'd been out with, the whole nine yards. We went our separate ways. So, Terry, I went out with Terry on the 15th, I mean on the 14th, yeah 15th, and he asked me out again. Well, the first time I saw him, he didn't have his beard. And the second time I went with him-.
AB: Anna, Daddy looks so handsome without his beard and even with his beard.
LB: And, um, so, I told him maybe. OK, well time went on, that following Thursday, that was on a Monday, that Thursday I got home there was a note on my door. It says, um, "Lisa, here is my phone number, give me a call," said, "I'd really like to take you out this weekend." Well, as luck would have it, my nephew, which was born that January, he was six weeks old, was having problems, um, eating, he couldn't keep his food down, so he dehydrated and they had to put him in the hospital. So, I was sitting there and had the note with me, and I was sitting there and I called my sister from the hospital because she had missed so much work that she could no longer miss anymore work, so I had volunteered to take time off of work to stay with the baby. And, uh, I told her about this note on my door, she said, "Well, call him," said, "What do you have to lose?
" AC: Right.
LB: So, I called him, and uh, we started talking, but we didn't go out for like a couple of weeks.
AC: Right.
LB: And, uh, I made the mistake of cooking for him.
AC: Uh, oh.
AB: There's this guy-.
AC: Uh-huh.
AB: Who goes to our school.
AC: Yeah.
AB: He goes to, um, ( ) red folders.
LB: Red folders? What are the red folders for?
AC: Is he a teacher?
AB: No. ( )
AC: Do you think he wants to be a teacher?
AB: Yeah.
AC: Yeah? What's his name?
AB: Mr. Jeff.
AC: Mr. Jeff.
LB: He was at the Christmas party?
AB: Huh?
LB: Mr. Jeff was at the Christmas party and played games with you all?
LB: So, anyway, we-.
AB: ( )
LB: Can I finish please?
AB: OK, go ahead.
LB: Thank you, um, I made the mistake of cooking for him and uh we went out a couple of times and he called me on the phone the day after I cooked for him and asked what was we having for supper that night. And I told him, I said, "Listen here," I said, "I work two jobs and I'm putting myself through college. I ain't got time to be feeding you and I ain't got the money to be feeding you." He said, "What time are you gonna get in?," I said, "About nine." He said, "OK, I'll meet you then." So, I come in and he was waiting on me and he said, um, "Get in the car." Said, "What for?" He said, "We're going grocery shopping." I said, "We are?" He said, "Yeah." So, he takes me to Kroger's and buys 250 dollars worth of groceries and takes them to my house.
AC: Yeah. [Laughs] And later that week, I told him, I said, "You know," I said, "If I really wanted to be mean, I could take your groceries and tell you to get lost." [Laughs] So, we didn't, we didn't, we dated off and on for about, I don't know, two or three weeks, and then we started seeing each other every day, about the middle of March, and we got married the end of April.
AC: Wow.
LB: And April of this year we'll be together for 13 years.
AC: Wow. So, this was in South Carolina?
LB: Yeah.
AB: Guess what? They are close together, Daddy's birthday and Mom's birthday.
AC: They were meant for each other then, right?
AB: Yes. ( )
LB: Uh, Aiken is so different than Charlotte.
AC: How so?
AB: And Mama said it would never snow there and Mama was telling a lie. [Laughter]
LB: Well, it doesn't never snow there, Anna this year was the first time it's snowed since you was six months old. And you were six months old last time it snowed in Aiken, South Carolina, I kid you not. That's how often it snows there. Um, the difference between Aiken and here, um, one is Aiken is so much smaller. Um, like I said, it very seldom snows down there. I've seen it 75 degrees on Christmas Day. The mosquitoes and the gnats will drive you crazy. Um, [pause] I'm trying to think.
AC: Are the people different, is it totally different like that?
LB: Um, they're more countrified and laid back. Um, where we lived at before we moved down here, we lived on a 20-acre farm, and it was eight miles to the closest convenience store. And, um, they were very much country.
AC: Right.
LB: The biggest thing near by us was the flea market.
AC: Wow. When you say country store, like what did they, what did they look like? What do you think of when you say country store? I know what I think of.
LB: Rocking chairs out front with old men sitting in them, chewing their tobacco and spitting at the post office.
AB: Um, they were at the store.
LB: The store was next door.
AC: Tell me what the old store looks like. The country store.
AB: There were a bunch of little ( ).
AC: Did it look old?
AB: It's got wood floors and old men ( ).
LB: It was like an antique-type shop. These old men sit around and play checkers and my nephew went through there one time and I told him that that was the police station. It was a small place.
AC: Oh my gosh.
LB: It says something about the crime probably, too. And he asked me where Barney Fife was at. [Laughter] It was like Mayberry [laughs] He said, "What do they do when they catch a crook over here?" [Laughter]
AC: Yeah. Let's see, we were talking about the people and how they were different.
LB: Yes. It is, it is so much different. The people down there are a lot friendlier than they are here.
AC: Right.
LB: Um, there you hardly ever meet a stranger. And here, people will run all over you and won't say boo to you and go on. [Laughs] Um, the, the interesting thing to me was the, how my parents, my dad is from the mountain area, um, my grandparents were raised in a little town called Blueberry, Tennessee. And, um, I did some family research on them, and apparently the Barlets must have really settled a lot in the Tennessee area because there's like so many different strands of them in that one particular area. And, um, he has taken me back down there, to his old stomping grounds. Told me stories about how when he was coming up how he had to take the cow down to the creek and all this stuff. Ah, before he went to school every morning, and he tells me, um, that children today, how their, um, values are backwards. He said, "Me and your mama was married 10 years before we ever had a car." [Laughs]
AC: Right.
LB: And ah, [laughs] yeah, now you know most kids have them before they even graduate from high school. And, um, but my mama, when she left Lancaster, she told me that she left from Lancaster and said she had 25 cents in her pocket. Said she got on a bus, she bought her bus tickets, and she had 25 cents left over. She went to a town that she knew absolutely nobody in. And got off the bus and started looking for work.
AC: And what did she do, did she find a job?
LB: She found a job and she, she found someone to keep her two kids, 'cause she had two kids by her previous marriage, and, um, she, she made it work. And, so that's why she instills in us, um, to get a job and work and support ourselves. Since we moved here to Charlotte, we'll get in the car on a Sunday and just drive as far as we want to drive and just turn around and come back. Um, one weekend, we went to, where did we go Anna, was it Washington or Virginia?
AB: Virginia.
LB: To the Shenandoah Valley.
AC: Yeah, yeah, that's beautiful.
LB: Yeah, been there, and stopped up at this place, what was that, the Natural Zoo? Wasn't that the name of it, the Natural Zoo, petting zoo, or something like that?
AB: Yeah.
LB: That was, that was really neat. Anna got to ride on an elephant, and, um, this miniature horse tried to eat Lee's shirt. He liked to killed it.
AC: Did he cry?
LB: No, but he was going, "Mama."
AB: And she dropped an egg.
LB: At least it wasn't a gallon of milk. [Laughter]
AB: And she spilled the eggs.
AC: Miss Katy dropped an egg on the kitchen floor the other day.
LB: Well Lee Lee scrambled a whole dozen for me.
AC: Oh gosh. [Laughs]
LB: And I was going to bake a cake that night because I knew I had eggs. So I didn't buy any. So when I got home from the grocery store, there they all were. They're hard to clean up, too. You have to use salt.
AC: Oh really? What does it do?
LB: It makes them set up so you can clean them up.
AC: I'll keep that in mind. I didn't know that.
LB: It was just gooey all over the place. Let it go to experience. A lot of years of being married, I guess. But the funniest thing that's ever happened to me was when Terry and I first got married, he was, he worked for this guy.
AB: Are you asking questions or my mom?
AC: Or you can do whatever you want to. Just stay around, OK?
LB: And, um, Terry, my husband, the way he was raised, his mother never worked, never ever, she always-.
AB: Can I have one more? Please?
LB: OK, now go away so I can talk to Miss Ann, OK?
LB: Um, he was working for this guy, when he asked you to do something, he expected it to be done yesterday. And, um, Terry's mother never ever worked, so I had a double whammy, let me tell you. And, um, when we first got married, we would fight about stupid things. And one of them in particular was-.
AB: And Daddy says bad words to Mama.
AC: [Laughs]
LB: Yeah, he does, um, was the glasses, on which side of the cabinet do the glasses go on? OK, I said they went by the sink because you got water out of the sink, and he said they went beside the refrigerator because that's where he always got his drink from was from the refrigerator. So, we fought over stupid things like that.
AC: Right.
LB: Or, like which, which way does the toilet paper go on the toilet paper roll. [Laughs] Does it go on the backside or the front side? [Laughs] And, um, just stupid things like that. So, one particular day, it was late one afternoon, and, ah, I was making tea, but I didn't make tea fast enough. I turned on the water, and it hit me all at one time and I had to go to the bathroom, so I turned the water off and the tea wasn't finished making yet, it was sitting up on the counter and I had just finished washing the dishes so all my dishes was in the strainer. And, um, he decided in one of his high horses that I didn't do it fast enough, so he decided that he was just going to show himself. Well he did. He fussed and he cussed at me and he run his arm in anger across the counter and when he did, he knocked the tea pitcher off which was full of sugar, ah, and tea, all of our glasses, all of our dishes, everything, off in the floor. So, this was, must have been, I think it was about eight-thirty that night, and, um, I didn't pay him no attention. He told me, he said, "Are you gonna clean this mess up?" I said, "No. I'm not." He said, "Why not?" I said, "Because I didn't make it." So, I picked up a towel and I told him I was going to get in the bathtub and then I was going to go to bed, and that's what I did. And the next morning when I got up, the kitchen was cleaned up, everything was thrown away, just like nothing happened. And, um, he said, "Lisa, I'm hungry, can I have some breakfast?" I said, "Sure." So, I fixed him some breakfast like I always had, I sat the frying pan on the table in front of him. He said, "Can I at least have a plate?" And I looked at the floor. OK, he said, "Well, can I have a cup of coffee?" I said, "Sure," and I handed him the container of coffee, sat it on the table. He said, "Lisa, can't I at least have a coffee cup?" And I looked at the floor. He said, "What is wrong with you?" I said, "Well, all of those dishes that you broke last night was every one that we owned." And in South Carolina, nothing opened up before two o'clock on a Sunday. He said, "Do you mean to tell me if I'm gonna have something to eat, if I'm gonna eat out of a plate, I've got to go to the convenience store to get me a paper plate?" I said, "If you gonna eat out of a plate, that's what you gonna do." So, at two o'clock, he took himself to Walmart and he bought him some more plates and some more cups, and to this day, he ain't broke no more.
AB: Love is spelled L-O-V-E.
LB: Very good.
AC: Are you learning to spell new words at school now?
AB: Yeah. And I can spell log.
AC: Log?
AB: Uh-huh.
AC: Spell log.
AB: L-O-G.
AC: Very good.
AB: Because it's just a list of words.
AC: Does she give you a list of words to learn in a week or two weeks or something?
AB: I've can do some spelling. [Laughter] Please. [Laughter]
LC: You're so funny, Anna.
AB: And I'm going to do some spelling.
LB: Yeah.
AC: Your spelling words, do you have a list?
AB: I have to write each words eight times and then do all kinds of things with each spelling word. We get a list with all the spelling words in it. They've got words for you to do in it. And on Friday they have a, a spelling test because we've got a lot to do on Monday and Tuesday.
AC: How many words to you have to know?
AB: Six.
AC: Do you have to use them in sentences, too?
AB: We have to use them in sentences.
LB: She has this list that she brings home every Monday and at the bottom of the list, it has 12 items that you can choose from. One of them could be writing sentences from the words, making a big circle on the consonant sounds or the vowel, or writing them three times each or one of them also is to put rainbow colors over top of them. She has to choose one of those activities each time.
AC: Which is your favorite?
AB: The rainbow colors.
AC: The rainbow colors?
AB: When I was doing the homework, I was making a surprise for Mom and guess what it was?
AC: What?
AB: What was it?
LB: It had hearts on it. You must not remember because you gave it to me Friday.
AB: Oh. The letter.
LB: Yeah, the letter.
AB: It said, "Happy Valentine's to Mom and Dad." And it had an envelope, too. I gave you both of them for Valentine's Day.
AC: That was sweet.
LB: We found it on the door.
AC: I know what I want you to tell me about.
AB: What?
AC: Mama told me one time that you know a girl that speaks Spanish.
AB: Yeah.
AC: Who is that?
AB: Sara.
AC: Sara. Do you know how to spell her name?
AB: S-A-R-A.
AC: Well you pronounced it differently. What did you do that for?
AB: Because that's how you say it in Spanish. Sada. And I got a Spanish CD.
AC: What does that do?
AB: It tells me to listen to the colors and to listen to everything to speak Spanish. I know the brown word, one. It's cafe.
AC: That's right.
AB: Cafe.
AC: Right. Why would you want to learn to speak Spanish?
AB: Because of Sara.
AC: Did she not speak any English when she came?
AB: She speaks English a little bit.
LB: No she doesn't.
AC: Did you feel bad for her because she didn't talk to anybody?
AB: No. Another girl in my class, she speaks Spanish and she speaks a lot of Spanish and she helps her with her homework.
AC: Do you like to help other people?
AB: Yeah.
AC: Tell about one time when you helped somebody.
AB: Can I tell you one thing about my spelling?
AC: Uh-huh.
AB: They have bonus words. You've got to write them ten times one hundred.
AC: Yeah.
AB: And that's it.
LB: You get something special? What are some of the bonus words? Was peanut one of your bonus words this past week?
AB: I don't do the bonus words.
LB: You don't do the bonus words?
AB: No.
LB: Why don't you try to do the bonus words?
AB: ( )
AC: OK. You going to tell about one time when you helped somebody that you remember?
AB: No. Now it sounds like the back of the floor.
AC: We hear lots of things down here.
LB: Now you know how you sound to people below us.
AB: OK. Now I helped someone when they got their answers wrong. I gave them a little gift.
LB: Right.
AB: I helped them with their math. Lots of times.
AC: What do they do after you help them?
AB: Miss Williams gives us stickers. That stuff.
LB: I know what you can tell. Tell Miss Ann about Santa Claus coming to our balcony.
AC: Yeah. Now that's a story you can tell us.
AB: Let me see. I got a Barbie craft thing that-.
LB: No. Back up, back up, back up.
AB: What?
LB: She came running in there to the living room. And she said she looked and saw Santa Claus jump off our balcony.
AB: Yes.
AC: Oh wow. He didn't come down the chimney that day, he came on the balcony.
LB: We were all still up when he came by. But he didn't have a chance to. Where did he leave your presents at?
AB: Out on the balcony and we got all of them.
AC: Were you surprised to find them out there? Where did you think he was going to leave them?
AB: In the, in the chimney. Because that's where he always does.
AC: Right.
AC: So he surprised you this time.
LB: We were all up when he came by this time.
AB: Guess what I had. I got a Barbie doll, a wedding thing, a Barbie craft thing and, uh, I got a baby. A baby doll, like a real one.
AC: It feels real?
AB: And I got, I got-.
LB: A house full of Barbie doll furniture.
AB: Yeah. That's all I got for Christmas. Lee Lee got ( ).
AC: Did he? What did he get?
AB: A Sesame Street car thing and he got a Hotwheels car set.
LB: You got some cars with your Barbie, didn't you?
AB: Yeah.
AC: What name did you give your baby?
AB: Drew and ( ).
LB: If it belongs to Barbie, we've got it at our house. You've got some Barbie slippers, too.
AC: Do you dress up and play pretend?
AB: Yeah.
AC: What do you pretend?
AB: I pretend ( ).
AC: What do you pretend you are when you dress up and what are you doing?
AB: ( )
AC: ( )
AB: And I play house.
AC: And what do you do? What do you have to do when you pretend it's your house?
AB: Every time she tells us to go shopping, I go get some keys and I lock the door the door the way mom does.
LB: Tell her about your daddy's ( ).
AB: I have a wedding dress ( ).
LB: It was really funny. The friends that she stayed with last night, their daddy asked her to dance with him and she said, "I only dance with my daddy."
AC: Aw.
LB: And she made him feel bad.
AC: Aw.
LB: So that makes your daddy feel good, so that's all that matters.
AB: I didn't make him feel bad but I didn't dance with him.
LB: Tell Miss Ann about Mr. Bob and how he dressed up for Halloween. Do you remember?
AB: Yeah, he dressed up like a patient.
AC: A patient?
LB: A patient.
AB: And he's got a pink hiney.
AC: Did it stick out the back of the gown? [Laughter] What did you think when you saw that? Did you laugh?
AB: Yeah.
LB: [Laughs] He was hilarious. He had the, um, one of those little scrubber things on his head. [Laughter]
AC: Yeah.
LB: He had a fake cast on his arm, and on this arm he had a crutch. [Laughter] And he had this great big old hiney sticking out the back. [Laughs] It was hilarious.
AC: Who is Mr. Bob?
AB: He is Miss Kelley's wife.
LB: Miss Kelley's husband.
AC: Let's see. That's about it.
LB: So we go up to their house a lot and play.
AB: What is Miss Kate doing?
LB: Doing her homework, probably.
AB: You guessed it.
LB: When you go to college, you'll have all kind of neat homework. [Laughs]
AB: And I'm going to get hard homework. Not easy homework like first grade. And there's a kid named ( ) and she speaks India.
AC: Right.
LB: She's Indian but speaks English.
AB: And she's in the seventh grade.
LB: She's in the second grade, sweetie. I thought, "She must be really, really smart." [Laughs]
AB: And she's got really hard homework.
AC: Does she?
LB: Yeah. She has to read a chapter from a book each night.
AC: Wow.
AB: She has to use the dictionary.
AC: She has to look up all the words in the dictionary. Gosh. Is that what you'll have to do next year?
AB: ( ).
LB: Do you have all your Valentines ready for tomorrow?
AB: Huh?
LB: Do you have all of your Valentines ready for tomorrow?
AB: ( )
LB: ( )
AB: ( )
LB: Chocolate candy? In a lacy box?
AC: Mmmm.
LB: Tell her about Jesse.
AB: Jessica. Jessica is a cousin of mine.
AC: Uh-huh.
AB: And I've got another cousin of mine that's a baby. [Laughs]
AC: And what? He's beating up your mom already? [Laughter]
AB: ( )
AC: Do they live near you? Do they live around here?
LB: No. They live in South Carolina.
AB: And, um, when we come, they're so happy. They're really excited.
AC: They probably do get real excited.
AB: Yeah. And they always play with me, every time when I come to see them. But we stay there like a half an hour. That's all.
LB: But we lived next door to his mother for a while.
AC: Right.
AB: ( )
LB: I got one right here, Anna.
AC: Um, did his mom cook for his, for her husband all the time so he expected that, for you to cook for him?
LB: Actually, no, um, his mother had six children, so she spent all her time taking care of the children. And his father was a military person and he was all over the place so he was never at home anyway. Terry was, um, 18 months old before he ever seen his daddy.
AB: Miss Ann, Miss Ann. My daddy's, my grandpa-.
AC: Uh-huh.
AB: He died of a heart attack.
AC: Did he? Do you remember that?
AB: ( )
LB: But they said that, his sister has told us some tales about their father, and said that, um, when, said on the days that his mother did cook said if it wasn't to suit him, said he'd just turn the table upside down. He didn't think nothing, he didn't think twice about it. And, um, and that's why, 'cause when we first got married I asked Terry where did he see, um, that type of behavior, because in my house, I never seen none of that, and I did not know how to react to it because I had never seen it. And, um, but now, we'll be together 13 years this April and, um, he doesn't pitch his fits like he normally does. Every now and again he'll throw something at me, but that's about it.
AC: Because he was used to it.
LB: Yeah, he was used to it, all right. Somebody throwing things and pitching them little temper tantrums and that all the time.
AC: Right.
LB: Um, but I noticed though that in his house, um, that his father was the ruler, and in my house, my mama was the ruler. Um, because, the reason why I say that is because his father was the only one smoked in the household, and all five of their children smoked. And in my household, my, my, both of my parents smoked, and um, but both of my parents smoked, but my mama raised you do as I say, not as I do.
AC: Right.
LB: And she meant that thing too. And my brother didn't start smoking until he went to Vietnam. So out of all of us, only one of us smoked. And, um, so that tells me that his daddy, whatever went with daddy, you know.
AC: When, um, did, does your brother ever tell you anything about Vietnam, does he ever talk about it, or-.
LB: He doesn't remember. We had a family, our family, our family does not speak to each other much anymore. I haven't, in fact, my brother has never seen Lee at all. And, um, we had a family falling out and, um, in fact, my mom don't even have Christmas anymore because of us not speaking to each other. And the reason being is because he was the only male figure in our life besides our father. And he thought he should take care of all his sisters and when we got married, he threw up this jealous streak, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. So, he tries to run everybody's lives, you know.
LB: Um, there was, um, Terry can be mean if he wants to be mean, but there was a time, before I had Anna, that we had decided we was going to have a baby. Planned pregnancy. And, ah, I ended up having a miscarriage, and he had asked me all the while-.
AB: And I was a good girl when I was a baby. I got rid of my bottle before Lee Lee, he had it for all day long.
LB: Yeah, Anna, she was one year old.
AC: Wow.
LB: But, anyway, um, he had asked me during my pregnancy, "When you have this baby, what do you want from me?" I just told him a dozen yellow roses. That's all I wanted. And, um, so when I had my miscarriage, he spent the night searching around different places trying to find me some yellow roses. And he couldn't find them, [coughs] so he bought me what they call a peace rose. A peace rose is a yellow rose with pink at the very bottom base, and as it opens, it gets pinker. And that's what they call it a peace rose. And, um, so that's what he bought me was those. And it hurt me so bad to lose my baby. In fact, I lost one at the house and one at the hospital, in the hospital, so I lost a set of twins. And, um-.
AB: You-, what did you say?
LB: It, it hurt, it just because it was planned, we already seen them on the sonogram, we seen their little heartbeats, the whole nine yards.
AB: Did you lose your twins?
LB: Yes.
AB: You had a set of twins?
LB: Yes, I lost my set of twins. And this was-.
AB: I wish I was that twin.
AC: No, you don't.
LB: Umm.
AB: I wish I could be blessed like The Parent Trap.
LB: Be blessed like The Parent Trap. And, um, so anyway.
AB: You lost a set of twins?
LB: Yes. Yep. But believe me, if I'd had them, I don't know if I'd have you.
AB: Was it a girl or boy?
LB: I don't know, baby. You know how that time when we saw Lee Lee on the screen and it was still in my tummy?
AB: Yeah.
LB: Well that's how we seen them.
AB: Were they still in your stomach, and something took them away?
LB: No. No.
AB: How did it, how, how, how did you lose your set of twins?
LB: You remember how mama went into labor and had Lee Lee?
AB: Yeah.
LB: Well, mama went into labor and had them too, but they wasn't quite, ready.
AB: Oh, did they die?
LB: Yeah, they died.
AB: Aw, that was sad.
LB: They were sad. Very sad.
AC: Then they had you.
LB: Yeah, then we had you.
AB: Yeah, and I didn't die. I'm glad of that.
LB: But it scared me so bad because, um, about me losing them the first time, I was almost seven months pregnant when I went to the doctor. And, say, with Lee Lee, I was six months before I ever went to the doctor with him. I mean, good God, it cost me 200 dollars to tell me I'm pregnant, yes, honey, I know that already. We done figured that out. [Laughs] But, anyway, Terry bought me these peace roses, and I cried for two days straight, but ah, the card that he sent me, you open it up and had peace roses on the outside of it as well, and you open it up and it said, "I hope you find peace within." It was the sweetest thing I think he's ever done.