Accessibility Navigation:

Multi-party conversation with Raymond Hyde Borel, II

Borel, Raymond Hyde II
Borel, Raymond Hyde III (son); Unidentified voice
Fahy, Shannon
Date of Interview: 
Childhood adventures; Overcoming obstacles; Stories and storytellers; Relationships with people and places
Raymond Borel II talks about his childhood in Pennsylvania and about work experiences.
VA; Riverside, NJ; NC; PA, 1968-1999
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Shannon Fahy interviewed current NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
SF (Shannon Fahy): OK. If you could state your name and your um, date of birth your age and where you were born and where, just basically, just a brief sketch of all the places you've lived, real quickly if you can.
B2 (Raymond Hyde Borel, Junior): Raymond Borel Junior, born September 20th 1968. They tell me at Riverside Memorial Hospital or something in New Jersey. There I resided until 1970 um, '70 or one when we moved to northeastern Pennsylvania more specifically a little squirt of a town called Laceyville and there I lived until I was seven, 16 in 1985 and I moved here to Belmont, NC. [Pause]
SF: And how, OK can you tell me any flood stories about growing up in Penn?
B2: Oh, we lived uh, not far from the Susquehanna River where our church was down that way, Skinners Eddy United Methodist Church specifically and I don't know if it was in the year that the king died there in '77 or if it was '78, but a flood came and course the kids were all you know told to leave school, parents would come get you, the buses ran special routes and so forth. I remember going down to the church and there was a group of men there that were organizing an uh, evacuation of all the valuables of the church, take them to the second floor. We had a large tractor-trailer parked out front and uh, [cough] these guys all assembled to take the pews out of the church. Well, of all these groups of adults there now. I'm maybe, I'm maybe nine, 10 years old and uh, of all these adults assembled there not one of them had a pair of pliers or a wrench. I fortunately remembered when Mom and I left to go to the church to bring a wrench and couple pairs of pliers because of course the pews were bolted to the floor. This as a young child kind of stunned me you know that we're going to go evacuate pews from a church and we're not going to bring any tools with us of course this was predating Makita battery tools looking back in retrospect we could have used Makita tools would have been far more productive but carrying the pews out of that church and loading them in that truck and by the time we got done the trailer wheels were covered with water and uh, we just kind of made it by the skin of our teeth that we got everything out of there.
SF: Yeah, um, how about because I know weather always reeked uh, certainly during the wintertime and all of the snowstorms that would come uh.
B2: Ah yeah, fond, fond memories.
SF: One of my favorite, [laughter] one of my favorite stories is the one about with you and my brother Ryan, the one day that you went sledding.
B2: Sleigh riding down a uh, property line that divided our house, our land from another neighbor that was kind of a, a swell or a ditch if you will there and that would freeze the water would freeze in that so you basically had a uh, like a luge, is that what it is?
SF: Uh-huh.
B2: Ice with a little bit of snow on top of it and we were in a little toboggan sled there not the, not the kind roll up there like a plastic sheet, but a boat sled.
SF: Right.
B2: And uh, we, we were moving pretty quickly down through there and I happened to glance up the road and there was a car coming. So, [laughter] I have my sister's kid here and I'm going to kill him underneath this vehicle shortly. [Laughter] So we uh, through tremendous diversionary tactics of dragging my leg and my elbow and so forth we managed to stop just at the, the edge of the road after blistering my elbow on a big knot of ice but uh, I don't think Marsha knew about that until a few years ago I guess I don't know it's been a while but uh, yeah the snow there in the winters were exciting to say the least. I remember many mornings walking down to the bus where you know whatever you had in your nose would freeze. It would just crunch and you went to blow your nose nothing liquid came out it was crystals and you'd get on the school bus and it would be so damn cold that the floor of the bus would just be a solid sheet of ice you'd have rock salt scattered on the floor of the bus in order to keep some kind of traction and uh, had a couple of deviant children there on the bus and one's name was Robbie Share. He would pick chewing gum up off the floor and chew it disgusting things he was a deviant little sucker. And uh, I don't remember [cough] the specifics as to what he did, but the bus driver Louie was about four and a half feet tall driving a 72-passenger [laughter] diesel bus. Uh, he would, he would try to straighten out Robbie, so he would call Robbie up to the front of the bus and he'd tell him, "Boy, I want you to sit there on that top step don't say a sound, don't make a sound, don't move, I don't want to even know you're there." And every stop we make, now you got to remember when those bus doors open what little heat that's in that bus goes out that door and the cold comes in. [Sniff] "Every time we stop I want you to get off and let whoever I'm letting on, in and then you get back in, sit on the step." All the way through that hour and 15 minute bus route old Robbie get off, he'd stand outside the bus, let the kids on and he'd get back in. I don't know whatever became of Robbie, not much I imagine. And then snow, ice uh, I can remember me and another boy once we got about sixth or seventh grade we'd stop uh, you couldn't run with chains on your bus on state maintained highways. You can do that on your, on your county roads and I think they call them a borough if I remember right up that way. Um, you could run with chains on those secondary roads um, but once you got on a state road you couldn't, so it would be a point in our bus route that we would have to get out and it would be you know, I don't know 20, 25 degrees, wind blowing and we'd help Louie get the chains off the bus. That was you know, you kind of felt important at that point because you've, you've graduated to next level of adolescence, you're now helping the bus driver. We uh, we would run our safety drills at the elementary school. [Pause] And uh, the elementary school, as you got to the high school, of course that was different than it is down here, our elementary school only ran until sixth grade and we went to the high school building at seventh grade so you had seven through 12 all in one big building. Of course you only had a thousand students through all those six grades.
SF: Uh-huh.
B2: But once you got to that point you still stopped at the elementary school and we would help those kids get off the bus, we would have emergency drills and that sort of thing. You would open the back door and you felt like you were big stuff. We had one spot on our route at the top of Browntown Mountain which was about a two mile drag downhill which, you know could be deadly for large trucks or cars on ice in any situation. I can remember sitting there and Louie saying, "Everybody be quiet, shut-up." It would be so damn foggy you could not see the yellow line on that divided highway in front of you and we to turn left out onto this highway. We would all slide the windows down on the bus open the door, stick your head out the door, you couldn't hear anything coming that way, you couldn't hear anything coming the other way, and he'd just drop it in low and gun it, we would make it another morning. That seems like that was two or three weeks out of the school year in the spring especially that the fog would just be outrageous. We never had any uh, [cough] never had any problems. I can remember it being so cold again that uh, one circumstance coming from uh, Springhill where I live down into town which was Laceyville, the bus wouldn't run, it kept cutting off it was diesel. It was so cold that the fuel does what they call congeals, the fuel becomes like gelatin. We'd basically coasted down into town and got about 50 gallons of kerosene and pumped it in the fuel tank so that so that the fuel would actually run through the fuel lines and the bus would run. And you're going to school in those conditions.
SF: Right.
B2: That was uh, that was the most exciting part of you know, most important, most exciting part of going to school was getting there for me. [Laughter] Alive.
SF: How about um, your motorcycle?
B2: Um, yes y'all need to include that picture with my little dysentery here, uh disinter, I guess it is. [Laughter] [cough] I guess it was 1979, my dad bought me a little Yamaha 80 motorcycle I could cruise through the fields and dirt roads and so forth which uh, I had real good luck with that I guess up until um, I don't know what year that was there. Groundhog hole found the front tire of the motorcycle and I managed to fly over the handlebars. I guess I lay there unconscious awhile. I don't remember, but only, only a fractured collarbone, which I recommend to anyone that needs to break a bone, break a collarbone.
SF: Uh-huh.
B2: It's a relatively painless experience and not very cumbersome to deal with, not bad. My son reminds me of a story I told him or I think his grandmother told him. Our neighbor had a pool and we were kind of like the Hatfields and McCoys, they weren't very nice people and they didn't like us. I guess I had a friend staying overnight. We thought it would be cool to see just how far a BB would shoot. [Laughter] [cough] Well we found out a couple of days later when the neighbor walked over and informed my dad that he found BB in the filter pump of his swimming pool. So I guess they went that far. We lived in uh, in dairy land country and uh, little things you missed which now I don't know if I like or not. We had a barn, a dairy farm that was maybe quarter of a mile from the house and uh, Mama say, "We need milk." Well, the town was three miles away and the barn was a 1,000 feet, so you grab your little stainless steel kettle with a lid on it and a handle. You'd walk down the road with a dollar bill in your hand now this is in the mid-seventies, but still milk was twice that in the store I guess.
SF: Uh-huh.
B2: You'd go down to this big stainless steel vat that was would hold a thousand gallons of milk then you'll pull the lid of this vat and lower you're kettle down in to it. Ice cold milk and uh, pull it out of course it was whole milk and cream on top. If you forgot to shake it in the morning your cereal was kind of disgusting.
SF: Yeah.
B2: It was kind of like eating it with whipping cream. But I know uh, your father used to love it. You couldn't leave it if you didn't rinse your glass out after you got drinking after you got done drinking it would stick to the glass to the point where you'd have to scrape it. Now they tell you that's not good to do. You shouldn't drink that non-pasteurized milk, but hey, it never hurt us.
SF: Um, what other, now I know you worked with your dad in the beginning there when you were quite younger.
B2: Um, 12 or 13.
SF: Your father is a, a builder.
B2: Uh-hum.
SF: And, and you took up the trade too.
B2: Met my first girlfriend that way. Walked through her bedroom around 6:30, seven o'clock in the morning you know.
SF: Really?
B2: Yeah. We were putting siding on her house and beat on the door nobody comes to the door it's summertime everybody sleeping until 10:00. We're there early in the morning to beat the heat. I got to get the windows open in order to pin, bend the metal around them and so forth this girl and I had always had a love hate relationship on the bus, [laughter] I love to hate her. And uh, me and my friend there we'd always sit together in the first or second seat on the bus. Well when she, we would pick her up on the route, she'd want to sit with us. It was the closest seat, she was only on the bus a few minutes and then we were dumping the elementary kids and we had plenty of room again. So she, we would always fuss about her sitting with us but anyway this one morning I putting siding Dad and I are putting siding on her house and nobody come to the door. The door was unlocked and I had to get the windows open, so I just kind of go cruising through the house upstairs try to find my way to the window. Well that window happened to be through her room, so I just kind of walked on through the room and she looked up at me and I said, "Good morning," and she just screamed. I went on through, unlocked the window [laughter] and left. Later we laughed about it, but wasn't really funny at the time for her I guess. [Laughter]
SF: [Laughter] Do you remember the first jobs that you, that you did um, because, I, did you, I don't think you started working with your dad did you? You got a job cutting siding wasn't it?
B2: Well that was for Dad. Yeah, he had a guy that would help him on Wednesdays, it was the local barber. He was paying him five bucks an hour and he would, he could work all day Wednesday and uh, but I believe it was on that job there, that Kavalo, that Dad said, "Look boy you can read a tape measure better that this forty year old man can so I'll give you five bucks an hour if you prove you can do it." Excuse me. "You can prove what you can do."
SF: Yeah.
B2: So after two or three days he called Callgrove and said, "Don't bother coming in I found a guy better than you." Well when Callgrove found out it was me that, that kind of hurt his feelings a little you know, but ever since then Pop and I worked all summers, every summer, we did the Kavalo job, then we built a barn the following year for the Reamuses down on the river. I fell off that roof, there's a little miracle, I missed a boulder by about six inches which would have probably shattered my spine when I fell off that, but you get, you're lucky, everybody's here for a reason just what condition you're in when you're still here. Fortunately I'm all in functioning.
SF: Yeah.
B2: All my digits um, still work.
SF: Do you remember? [pause]
B2: I didn't, oh, I, when I was a kid I don't even remember that son, [laughter] I only heard about it.
SF: Do you remember any stories or do you have any stories about your grandparents?
B2: Uh, not so much stories about Grandmom and Grandpop, um--
SF: Because they were living in a, in an apartment basically.
B2: Yeah, when I was about 12, I guess I was 11 or 12. I went and stayed with Grandmom and Grandpop Borel in their little two bed, one bedroom apartment in NJ and uh, I guess I stayed five or six days. Grandmom smoked Saratoga 120 cigarettes which are about eight and a half inches long. Grandpop was a very quiet, somber man he wouldn't say much but uh, Grandmom was a little more boisterous. They had a small poodle named Fifi, it was disgusting, [laughter] but I learned uh, you know how you learn respect for, for people in, in, different ways um, for you know, for all Grandpop didn't say much Grandpop had more love and affection for that dog and showed it to that dog probably more than most parents show to their kids today. I mean man had hip replacements and bad knees and everything else and he'd get on his knees and play with that dog and give it it's medicine, put peanut butter on his finger and feed it to that dog to keep that dog alive. Um, I know a lot of people wouldn't, couldn't I mean and for him he wouldn't have bent down to pick up a quarter because it would have hurt him too much.
SF: Yeah.
B2: Um, but he'd bend down and stay down to help that dog. My grandmom was pretty much a chain smoker. She uh, she'd had laryngitis and the doctor told her if you don't quit smoking you'll never talk. She told him to shut-up and get her a pack of cigarettes. She got gangrene in her foot and he said if you don't quit smoking you're going to lose your foot. She said, "I'm going shoe shopping," and kept on smoking. Died with both feet and talking the whole way. Uh, she would have smoking all the whole way.
SF: Smoking the whole way. Yeah.
B2: And that time I spent with them was the coolest because Grandmom would let me smoke and at 12, 13 years old [laughter] you know being able to [laughter] sit there and smoke cigarettes with Grandma.
SF: Do you smoke her Saratogas?
B2: Oh yeah, man they were good cigarettes. Now that was uh, man the most flavorful cigarette I'd ever smoked, course at 12 what did you ever smoke you know? [Laughter] But uh, come mealtime boy this little apartment with central air conditioning running, the smoke hung about four and a half five feet down from the ceiling. I mean literally you could just see it hang, it looked like a fire scene on the news it was awful. I mean you have smoked potatoes and smoked roast beef, smoked sandwiches, smoked syrup, everything tasted like smoke. And clothes, everything just reeked of it especially if you went outside for 15 minutes and actually got huh, fresh smog.
SF: Yeah.
B2: And then came back in oh my gosh the second hand smoke in there was enough to kill uh, a farm full of people. Terrible.
SF: Well, I think what was worse about their place is not only the smoke hanging in the air, but they kept it at 80 degrees.
B2: Uh-hum. It was always warm.
SF: All the time. Even in the in, I mean NJ winters are really cold but--
B2: And Grandpop would complain that it was still cold in there.
SF: Yeah.
B2: At 80 he was still cold.
SF: Yeah.
B2: He liked it a little warmer. Not too many stories about Grandmom and Grandpop though they were pretty quiet.
SF: Do you remember any stories about Grandma Mackton, your mom's a little bit?
B2: The only stories I remember about [cough] Grandmom Mackton would be uh, when uh, Grandpop Mackton uh, he was a watch repairman and so forth and this was even actually before my time, I remember this just being translated to me from my dad um, my sisters Marsha and Rayona would be over there visiting with my mom and dad, and Grandpopwould be working on a watch and he'd drop a part. Now you can picture the part out of a watch how small this is and for a guy that in his probably sixties at that point difficult for him to see, lighting in that day and time not being what it is now, of course he'd lose his part and he'd say, "Tootles," well first he'd have his fit, "Nothing but damn junk, junk, junk!" He'd say about these watches he was fixing, "Nothing but a bunch of GD junk." I can remember Mom and Dad saying Grandmom in the kitchen hollering, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy I wish you wouldn't talk like that in front of the girls." Then Grandpop, he'd calm down, "Tootles, you see this part here. I dropped one of those sons of bitches on the floor again. [Laughter] Can you find one just like it for Grandpa?" And he, they would get down there and they'd find it and find it for him. I remember too Dad say that Grandmom would fuss at him for giving the girls money, I say I don't remember now how much it was but if pack of cigarettes was 15 cents he'd give the girls a quarter.
SF: Uh-huh.
B2: Now this is going back to the fifties and early sixties when you could still do that but he'd send these young girls, 10 or 11 years old maybe, down to the general store and get him a pack of cigarettes well, with the change they could buy licorice and candy and what not. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy send those girls to get those filthy cigarettes." "Well they get candy, Mom." [Laughter] You know that's how he justified it, they were getting something out of it. He wasn't sending them there for nothing. I'm told I'm a lot like him. Which I don't know I never met him, don't remember him.
SF: How about do remember any stories that, that you've been told by your, by your sisters about them growing up or have they told stories about you growing up that you can remember?
B2: Well, some of them that uh, with your mother Marsha uh, I she was, I believe about 18 when I was born. I was a mistake. An oops. And uh, everyone you know going out to eat or anything like that then uh, the waiter would say to my parents, "What would you like, what would you like?" and then they ask my sister what would she like for my son. She'd go, "Oh no, he's not mine. He's their's." You know she wasn't going to claim me. [Laughter] My sister had uh, an apartment in NJ and I remember there was, she had a roommate, young girl which hindsight is 20/20 she used to say she was going to kidnap in the middle of the night, put me in bed with her. I would just scream and scream you know that, "No, no, don't do that." But stories I remember hearing one of uh, I believe it was Marsha uh, the wind caught the storm door there she was, she was uh, hanging on to the back storm door and I guess pulled it open a little bit to see what was going on and the wind caught it and threw her right out in the yard.
SF: Yard.
B2: Hello. I don't know uh, any other fantastic tales that I have.
SF: How about um, your kids? You've got three kids now. [Laughter]
B2: Uh-huh. Yeah. [Laughter]
SF: Born and raised in, in uh, NC. //
B2: NC. The fine county of Gaston. Yeah, I have a son that uh, likes to relive the tragedy of his split lip. Um, took a little spill and had to get a stitch, huh?
B3 (Raymond Hyde Borel, III): Uh-huh.
B2: Huh, yeah. But uh, no they've had pretty uneventful childhoods, I think we've had our moments of comedy.
SF: Yeah.
B2: We were helping my niece and nephew paint a new house that they bought and uh, he uh, little Raymond was with us. He said, "Daddy I have to go poo-poo." And I said, "Well son the Port-o-john is way down there in the neighborhood. Hold it as long as you can. [laughter] Tell me when you feel it peeping out and then we'll run like hell." [Laughter] And my one sister Rayona she reminds me of that story and laughs every time we tell it. [Laughter] But you held it didn't you?
B3: Um-huh.
B2: I don't know, do I have any other fantastic stories I've told you?
SF: I'm trying to remember. I can, well you know we just relived the story today of when you built the house over on um, Songbird.
B2: Songbird. We were there working.
SF: And the day that you put the, the shower and the tub in. Do you remember that?
B2: Um, yeah when Dad busted my ear because he stopped moving.
SF: Yeah.
B2: Yeah. And those moments of idiotic stupidity we uh, we put some scaffolding out on the front of the house and uh, I just shot a two-by-four out the side of the house with a couple of nails in it and got out there and climbed on top of it. There's, my dad reminds me from time to time. What if those nails would have pulled out? But fortunately they didn't. One story does come to my mind though where you painted the foundation coating on the house and got tar all over you. [Laughter] Do you remember that?
SF: Yeah.
B2: And you said, "How do I get this tar off of me uncle?" I said, "Well you can use paint thinner or turpentine or gasoline." "Well what do you have?" I said, "Well we got some gasoline."
SF: Gasoline.
B2: So you.
SF: I thought it was lacquer thinner.
B2: No it was gas because you washed your legs all over because you did it in shorts.
SF: It was a hot day.
B2: Then the next day I don't know if you weren't there.
SF: No, I worked. My ankle.
B2: But you ended up with blood poisoning from all the gasoline.
SF: Yeah. Throwing up.
B2: Um, the joys, joys and fun of construction.
SF: Construction.
B2: Your brother came to help us there. Ninety-four degrees outside I got nothing on but a jock strap, [laughter] I'm still dying it's so hot. You're sweating. Grandpop's drowning, I mean everything on him is soaking wet and Ryan's got on a long, honest to God he had on a long sleeve shirt with the collar buttoned up.
SF: I know. I think he had on a short sleeve. I know he had on blue jeans.
B2: Yeah, I know he had on pants, he had on a long sleeve I think the cuffs were rolled up once or twice.
SF: Yeah. I couldn't have done it.
B2: I would have died. I'd a screamed.
SF: Because that was, we would wake up at, at six in the morning.
B2: We'd be sitting there waiting on daylight to be able to go to work.
SF: Couldn't some mornings, couldn't even see just hoping that it would be cooler.
B2: Yeah.
SF: And the afternoon would come around around two.
B2: Oh yeah, I want to quit early today.
SF: We would be there until five, six o'clock at night.
B2: Five. Well it's starting to get cool now that's how you justify it.
SF: Go in for an extra long lunch. How about the day that um, how about the day that I would, to help you with the two by six's. Rafters out on the back porch and I went to reach a board to hand it you and another board slipped. Do you remember that? It fell right across my foot.
B2: Oh yeah! Did a number on your toe didn't it?
SF: Yeah.
B2: Your mother wasn't real happy about that.
SF: I think we hid it from her didn't we?
B2: Yeah, you didn't tell her too much about it until later that you smashed your foot up pretty bad. I forgot about that. Grandpop slipped through the floor joists there too.
SF: That's right. [Laughter]
B2: That did a number on the inside of his leg.
SF: That one time you were trying to take that floor joist. You had put some type of beam between the two floor joists and you went to hit it with a hammer and you were hitting it backwards and it smacked it into your chest.
B2: Smacked my chest. Oh I've done that a number of times. Had my head up between ceiling joists nailing rafters glanced off the rafter and hit myself in the head with a hammer.
SF: How about um, how about this story of Grandpop and his son, of your dad?
B2: Oh yeah. That was when we first moved here to NCwe uh, had a job across the street from where we build him a house uh, Truman house. And uh, we were borrowing a guy's saw, chop saw, miter saw and um, I upstairs nailing down trim and I hear the saw every once in a while so I know he's down there working and all of a sudden don't hear the saw and I run out of new trim. "Are you down there?" I look nobody is standing at the saw. I look around well he was right here. I see a few drops of blood on the floor. I look out the window and there he's booking across the yard heading for the house. I get over to the house. He said that saw drifted down and hit him right across the back of his thumb.
B3: Ouch.
B2: Yeah so he's kind of standing there at the kitchen sink and my mom's running around like a chicken with her head cut off. [Laughter] "Need a Band-Aid, need some gauze, need some tape." Well she can't find any of it. My mom's not real organized when it comes to things like that. [Laughter] Band-Aids are at the kitchen sink, the peroxide is in the basement you know, the gauze is in the bathroom and the tape for that is upstairs.
SF: Right.
B2: Oh lord, she's running around carrying on well, Dad makes the mistake of looking at his wound and his knees go out from under him. He buckles down onto the floor. I think uh-oh 200 pounds of mush going to be laying on the floor, [laughter] I'll never get him up you know. [Laughter] So we quick think and I go, well grab a paper towel and wet it and throw a couple of ice cubes in and put it on his hand, get him up to his feet and haul him off to the emergency room. Well meantime my mom is running around she doesn't hardly know that we left. She's still looking for Band-Aids. [Laughter] Take him to the first med place. They stitch him up good went back to work later that afternoon. He's a trooper that way he, that doesn't make any difference as far as him being hurt he'll work.
SF: Yeah.
B2: He'll work it off. I remember um, one of the best trips we had, which was why we've since created the Borel Family Reunion, was a funeral we had a funeral for my grandfather, Grandpop Borel. My sisters and I decided we would all ride up together in the upchuck wagon. You were there, the upchuck wagon.
SF: I think yeah, Ryan and I were there. Yeah now you have to explain the upchuck wagon.
B2: I believe it was a Dodge wasn't it?
SF: If my father bought it, it would have to be a Dodge. [Laughter]
B2: Yes that's true.
B3: It was a Chevy.
SF: Oh.
B2: It was a Chevy. A Chevy conversion van at 70 miles an hour would make the freakiest noises which would wake my sister up to prompt her to poke me and tell me to slow down. [Laughter] And uh, somewhere in the middle of VA.
SF: Because we were driving from NC all the way up to Riverside, NJ.
B2: NC all the way up to Riverside, NJ. Of course we had to do it in a day because we couldn't take enough time everybody. Somewhere in VA Marsha sees a billboard for this restaurant to eat at. It's a very attractive billboard, but it was not anything franchised where you could actually say, "Oh yes I know that." So we took a chance on it and started following the billboards. I swear to God it must have been 17 miles later, like on three secondary roads, down a dirt road, at the end of a trail was this nice kind of western looking restaurant that we ended up eating at. I believe that there was a pond even that it kind of overlooked in the back. It was kind of, it was nice. But it kind of killed an hour out of our trip as far as time, but we had a lot of fun at that uh, that funeral. I had a cousin there that had a, he was I guess in his twenties and uh, he loaded the trunk of his car with beer and after the funeral we all kind of stood out in the parking lot drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and it wasn't um, until after Grandmom died and uh, we were sitting at uh, a cousin's house, sitting in his basement and um, his name was Raymond Ward and he was kind of hosting the post funeral procession there that goes on. And I said to some of my cousins that I had only the last I had seen was at Grandpop's funeral. I said, "You know, this really sucks we all have a really good time and it's a really sad occasion. Why don't we do this in spite of not don't have a funeral let's just get together." And we were just sitting there and the majority of the family at that point lived in PA and the rest of it lived here in NC and sitting there with him we just kind of said, "You know we ought to find a place in the middle." And uh, my parents and I had stopped many times in a little town called New Market, VA which was just a little, yeah it seemed like a halfway point.
SF: Halfway.
B2: And uh, so we uh, put some plans together. My older sister Rayona she put together that reunion. Turns out it was 226 miles to New Market from PA and 320 miles from NC to New Market. And now we can sit around drink beer by the pool, smoke cigarettes and tell stories without somebody dying.
SF: Right.
B2: But I know, ironically I don't think, why in fact I know we had one reunion and then we lost a family member that Raymond Ward that we met at his house. Any more interesting stories you know that I tell?
SF: I was just, well I always thought the one with um, about Aunt Ann and the bird.
B2: Aunt Ann and the bird?
SF: The bird that, that flew into the house.
B2: Oh well that was Rosemary, her mother was gone. They lived across the street from us in PA. That's my dad's brother and uh, his family and um, one of his daughters call over there and she says, "We got a bird stuck in the house and it won't get out." And Aunt Ann has a lot of knick-knacks.
SF: Uh-hum.
B2: A lot of crystal and plates and she had a plate rail in the dining room that ran around, you know so far down from the ceiling and that damn little bird would walk behind those plates and you, you just knew he was going to knock a plate knock off, a plate off but he never did. Chased him all the way up to the upstairs, I don't think the bird ever even pooped in the house not that we found--
SF: Wow.
B2: Not that we found, but he got upstairs in the house and we locked in the bedroom and opened all the windows in the bedroom and after about half an hour it kind of ran out, but I don't think Aunt Ann ever noticed that. I don't think Aunt Ann noticed that bird was ever in the house. [Laughter]
SF: I won't tell. [Laughter] We won't let her see the tape.
B2: OK. [Laughter]
SF: Thank, thank you for your stories.