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Interview with Carol Bledsoe

Bledsoe, Carol
Fine, Theresa
Date of Interview: 
Stories and storytellers
Carol Bledsoe talks about two of her favorite books, The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle and Sarah, Plain and Tall.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Theresa Fine interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
CB (Carol Bledsoe): I'm 10 years old and I was born in Charlotte.
TF (Theresa Fine): [Cough] Um, excuse me. OK. Carol, I'm going to talk to you today about stories that either you read or you heard. Um, stories that you read either when you were younger or, since you're still a kid, that maybe you read recently or stories, stories that stayed in your mind. OK. Are there any stories that you can remember really well?
CB: Um, The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle.
TF: The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle. And how old were you when you read that or did your mom or did your dad read that to you?
CB: I read that, that when I was in second grade and I read it my first time in third grade.
TF: Second and third, and how old were you in second grade just about?
CB: Uh, well I was probably-.
TF: About eight, maybe?
CB: Probably [pause]-.
TF: Probably eight seven or eight?
CB: Seven or eight.
TF: OK. Um, can you tell me the story?
CB: Well it's about this man named Don Dolittle.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And he has, he loves animals and he has all of these animals in his house.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: Like birds in the pantry and a penguin in the bathtub, uh, ducks in the pond. And he's a people doctor, a person doctor.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And, uh, one day one of his, his porcupines was sitting in the chair, on the chair, in the chair and his, and the, and this woman came in and he said, "I wouldn't sit on it. I wouldn't sit there if I were you." But it was too late. She sat on the porcupine and ran out of the house.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And one day the alligator came for help and that was with Dr. Dolittle and ( ).
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And it's the favorite animal, an ancient animal, a ( ) and Polynesia and then Jack his dog and his favorites and one day his monkey, I forgot his name, got a letter from the, from his friends back in Africa-.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: -Because he came from Africa, saying that they were in need of help because this disease was going around.
TF: Hmm.
CB: And, uh, so Dr. Dolittle and Jack and the monkey and Polynesia rented a boat from one of Dr. Dolittle's friends and when, in the middle of their trip they find a stowaway in the bottom and it was this man who wanted to go, come along with them.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And another thing that happened in the middle of the trip was that there was a big, really big storm hit and broke the boat, in half.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: But they all stayed on one half and went all the way, they made it to the place where the monkeys were.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And the king first saw them he put them in the jail, in jail but, um, the, um, but, uh, but, uh, Polynesia-.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: -Flew out of the, out of the bars and unlocked it with her beak and they got out.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: Then they saved the monkeys that were sick and, um, they, um, saved the monkeys that were sick and then on this trip they saw the gray pushmepullyou, which is like a camel with two heads.
TF: Ugh. [Laughter]
CB: And they, and, since their ship all broke up they also got to see the biggest snail in the world and it was pink.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And, uh, they got to ride home in that, inside its shell which they said like a 1,000,000, 10,000,000 million people could fit into it-.
TF: Wow.
CB: -Or something. And so it was very roomy and comfortable. [Laugh] And when they got home everyone was very proud to see them.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And the whole time his wife was just having a fit or hissy-fit because she couldn't stand all the animals being near where she lived. [Laughter]
TF: Is, um, is there a special reason that you like that story or that you still remember it?
CB: Well when I first read it, it was really good and I wanted to read it again and again.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And my mom got, she knew I liked that book so much my mom got me another book about him-.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: -And I read that also.
TF: So what made you read it again it was just so good?
CB: It was good. [Laugh]
TF: Was it just as good a second time?
CB: It was a little better.
TF: [Laugh] Better the second time? Is there anything special about that story that you have never found in any other story?
CB: Well, it's very exciting and some words are nonsense words.
TF: Really? You remember any of the nonsense words?
CB: Like pushmepullyou-.
TF: Right.
CB: -And Polynesia is kind of a nonsense word to me, because you really don't hear it a lot.
TF: Right.
CB: And then, um, that's about it [laugh]
TF: That's about it? Are there any other stories that you can think of, stories that your mom read when you were little or that you've heard from other adults or even from other kids?
CB: Well-.
TF: Are there any stories that maybe you and your friends have all read that you would like to talk about, that you would like to remember?
CB: Well, fourth grade. The summer of fourth grade-.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: -We had to read Sara Plain and Tall.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: That was pretty good and I read that one a lot.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: So I like read Skylark, which I had already had.
TF: What's that? Is that like Sara Plain and Tall?
CB: It's, it's by the same author.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: My mom bought me a book called Journey by the same author.
TF: Can you tell me about Sara Plain and Tall?
CB: Sara Plain and Tall is about this family and there's a boy named, I forget his name.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: But the day he was born his mother died.
TF: Oh.
CB: And they had a little girl, I forgot her name too.
TF: [Laugh]
CB: But, and the father was looking for a wife.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: So one day during dinner he told them that he was looking for a wife and placed an ad in the newspaper and he had found somebody and she had wrote him back in the very next letter ( ). She was very nice to them. They all got to know her. They all wrote to her and she lived in Maine.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And, um, she [pause], and she wrote to the children and when she got there she missed everything that, she was really fun for, um, the children.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And everybody liked her and, um, like she just came and she liked them.
TF: Right.
CB: And like, but, for instance, she cut their hair and put it out on the like, porch so birds can use it to make their nests and she helped with the farm work and it was just really about an old, a man who has two children and who lost his wife.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And the second child was born and then he placed an ad in the newspaper for a wife.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: ( )
TF: So in the end did they get married?
CB: Well, they never really told us but in Skylark they did get married.
TF: Oh.
CB: And they were having all these fires and didn't have any rain, so Sarah had to take the children to, um, Maine.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And they missed their father so much.
TF: Oh.
CB: ( )
TF: Did you read them at home?
CB: I was at camp [laugh]
TF: Oh. Did you, do you guys, do you and your friends talk about these stories? Are these stories that your friends have read, too? Or do you just read by yourself?
CB: Well, we really don't talk about what we read.
TF: Really?
CB: I don't know why.
TF: Do you share books with your friends?
CB: Um, what do you mean?
TF: Um, like do you borrow books from your friends and like do they borrow them from you?
CB: Like, if you want to read a certain book and you don't want to go to the library?
TF: Uh-huh. So did you just pick Dr. Dolittle and Sara Plain and Tall? How, how did you pick those books to read? Did you just see them on the shelves?
CB: Well, Dr. Dolittle, I think I bought it.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: ( ) And it sounded good.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: It was a very good book. And Sarah Plain and Tall, I had to get it because we had to read it for, um, what's it called? For school.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And for Skylark, I, my mom ordered it for me.
TF: Uh-huh.
CB: And it was in second grade from a book order because she thought it was about a ( ).
TF: Really?
CB: ( )
TF: Are there certain times you remember these stories? Is there anything-.
CB: When I-.
TF: -That makes you remember them?
CB: Like sometimes when I got to a house that has lots of animals and ( ).
TF: Yeah. Is there anybody that makes you think of Dr. Dolittle, that reminds you of Dr. Dolittle? [Laugh]
CB: No.
TF: You don't know anybody with that many animals?
CB: No.
TF: How about is there any, any families or anything that reminds you of Sara Plain and Tall?
CB: Not really.
TF: No? So, are there special times, are there certain things that you do, you know what the word "associate" means? You, like if a, let me think of a good example. If I see my friend from school, hold on, how about if I hear a certain song-.
CB: Uh-huh.
TF: -That makes me think of like my best friend from high school-.
CB: Uh-huh.
TF: -Because both her and I like that song.
CB: Uh-huh.
TF: So do you understand what I'm talking about?
CB: Uh-huh.
TF: Are there any things that happen to you that make you think of those stories? That you relate to those stories?
CB: Well-.
TF: Not even the whole story but just maybe little things that happen?
CB: When I saw the movie I did.
TF: Yeah?
CB: And whenever I hear that song, "If I can talk with the animals, I can walk with the animals-." [Laugh]
TF: Yeah.
CB: -I think of the movie.
TF: Great, great. Well, thank you Carol.
CB: You're welcome.
TF: We're all done.