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Interview with Bryna Bozart-Barnes

Bozart-Barnes, Bryna
Bozart, Bryna
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Stories and storytellers; Cultural identification; Then and now
Bryna Bozart-Barnes tells her daughter about stories she heard and read as a child and stories she read to her children.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Bryna Bozart interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
B2 (Bryna Bozart): Today I'm going to interview my mom, uh, Bryna Bozart-Barnes who's originally from Akron, Ohio but has lived in the Charlotte area now for 25 years. And, uh, M-, Mom, first of all, how you doing?
B1 (Bryna Bozart-Barnes): I'm doing OK.
B2: OK, and, uh, the first question I wanted to ask you was, um, as a child growing up, are there certain stories that you remember either reading yourself or having read to you?
B1: Uh, I remember the, the Bobbsey Twins, which was a series of books at that time, uh, I remember waiting so anxiously for each one to come out and be published. And, uh, going to the, uh, bookstore and, and getting copies of them, uh, when they came out. That's one of my first memories of when I, I actually started to read for myself and the books that I enjoyed reading. [Clears throat] I remember being read to at a very early age, uh, by my grandmother, who came to live with us when I must have been about, four or five years old. I remember after dinner when she would call me into her bedroom and I would sit on the, on the edge of her bed while she read to me stories of Uncle Remus, and Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, uh, and sometimes the nursery rhyme Mother Goose stories. Those were very early memories, uh, that I have of her and those very special, uh, times. [Pause] Um, does that-?
B2: I wanted to ask you, are there, uh, any, uh, oral stories that you were, uh, remember or heard growing up, or any like folklore stories?
B1: [Laugh] Well I, I do remember, um, the summers that I spent with my, ah, maternal Grandmother on a farm And, uh, that side of the family came from the, uh, mountains of, ah, Tennessee. And I remember my grandfather and my grandmother sitting on the porch on summer evenings and telling stories that had been told to them, and handed down through several generations of, uh, mountain people and their experiences. I remember the stories of, ah, that men told, uh, like my grandfather and my uncles, talking about the big bears that they had been, been recorded being seen by different, uh, ancestors stories and, uh, the bear stories and things of that nature. Uh, also, uh, I couldn't help but notice in reflection that, um, these oral traditions or oral stories also often had a gender aspect because the women, when they told their stories, ah, were often told in the kitchen, uh, around recipes and things like that and, uh, and sharing the recipes and telling how they originated with the great grandparents or whatnot, uh, and how it came to be. Also certain, uh, medications and, uh, herbs and, uh, wild plants that were used, uh, for healing and for certain medici-, medicinal uses, uh, were part of some of the women's stories that they told. Sometimes, uh, they would bring out quilts and show me the patterns of some of the earlier quilts that my grandparents and great grandparents had made on the mountains, at, at quilting parties and the stories that came, uh, originating from, from those times. So I think, oftentimes, of those stories as part of, of our oral, oral tradition.
B2: [Pause] And one last question I wanted to ask you was, um, now that you, um, growing up with five brothers I remember some of the stories that you used to teach, that you used to tell all of us. Do you, are there certain stories that you remember telling us when we were little, growing up?
B1: Stories?
B2: Yeah.
B1: I remember a story that I liked to read to you about a clown and, uh, you liked that especially. And I thought, uh, I noticed when you were very young, about two or three, that you began to carry books around and you had a love [clears throat] for books at a very early age. And, uh, one of the things that we would do would be to read some of the, some of the stories that you have in the late afternoon when I noticed that you were getting sleepy, and I would read to you and you would fall asleep. So, those are precious memories that I have of you now, uh, when you were little and the story, the times we had storytelling.
B2: What about my brothers?
B1: Uh, I think, they were less inclined to be that [laugh], to be that still for that long. But, uh, I did get to read to them at night when they were falling asleep and at one time I would, ah, sit in the hall between two bedrooms. And, uh, two of them would be in one room and two in the other but I would sit on the floor in the hall between the two and read them a story where they could both, where, where all four of them could hear it. So I have a memory of them. But most of the time that was, uh, just, uh, later in the evening and as they were falling asleep. They liked adventure stories more then. Uh, I had some little, um paper, kind of paper bound books and series of books that I used to read to them.
B2: OK, Mom. Thanks for your time.