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Interview with Tanisha Dawes

Dawes, Tanisha
Dawes, Yolanda
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places
Tanisha Dawes talks about living in Charlotte.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Yolanda Dawes interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
YD (Yolanda Dawes): My name is Yolanda Dawes and the interviewee, is Tanisha Dawes. [Pause] So Tanisha, how long have you lived in Charlotte?
TD (Tanisha Dawes): Eight years.
YD: Eight years?
TD: Yeah, eight.
YD: So you must really like Charlotte?
TD: It's OK. I originally, I ended up there because I went to UNC Charlotte, that's how I ended up staying in Charlotte, I've taken a job there, um, but yeah it's OK, I'm going to move on and leave the area 'cause I've obtained everything I, uh, need. I've got my education, I've moved up in the corporate ladder, so, I have a title. I have no further need to stay in Charlotte.
YD: Um, sounds like she's trying to brag people, ah-um. So what I need is a 15 minute story, from you, and I may ask you some follow-up questions, you know. So, you can just talk about whatever you want to talk about, or you could say, [Pause] I don't care, you could tell a little nursery rhyme. Or you could sing, \\ I just-.\\
TD: \\ That is not a good interview. \\
YD: So, just go ahead talk for 15 minutes for me, please.
TD: OK, I'll tell you what, uh-hum, happened last night, or should I say early this morning, and that should take up the 15 minutes. I was down in the Raleigh-Durham area visiting my childhood, uh, one of my best friends, my childhood friend, her hu-, new found husband of five, going on six months. I was crashing on their couch, and, I don't know what time it was, I know it had to be in the early morning, 'cause it was around eleven o'clock when I got back to their place. The lights come on, and, he comes into the house with his dad. His dad is on the couch. He tells him to get up, go upstairs. Which, that threw me off, 'cause I'm like they moved from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom, because they're expecting their first baby's on the way, she got pregnant on the honeymoon. So she, he tells him to go upstairs, that is not for guests, that is the baby's room. The man calls, he lives in a homeless shelter. He will call, come every weekend, he'll call about ten times in the same day. Trying to come over there and stay for the weekend, even though he didn't raise him, and was nowhere to be found. He disappeared and they haven't seen him in a year, and now he pops back up living in a homeless shelter, wanting to crash at her place every weekend. The man's 52, can't work because he owes about 20 years worth of back child-support, so when he did try to work, the cops came and arrested him. But he still prefers, instead of paying back child support, which isn't that much, to live in a homeless shelter, and come live ( ) off his child, because he has no food, he'll eat their food, but it doesn't bother them. I was kind of annoyed 'cause, first of all, they come in, cut on a light downstairs where I am, they're all loud. He tells the man to go upstairs and crash up there, and that's the future baby room. This morning I'm getting up to leave, she's aware that I'm leaving, to go see my grandmother who's in the hospital. I, she comes downstairs saying she couldn't sleep because he snores so loud. Her husband didn't come home last night. So I'm sitting up here, of course I can't comment, 'cause this is her husband, and they only been married five, going on six months. Your husband didn't spend the night in your bed, and you're not alarmed, that's what's running through my mind. [Cough] Excuse me. Your husband did not spend the night in your bed, and you're not alarmed, but he stops in long enough, to drop off, your, drop off your daddy. Who, when last weekend, when you were visiting back home with their mother, who divorced him. She divorced him because he used to beat on her and the kids, come telling, tells them, "Don't let him stay with y'all, he'll use you. He get, he will get drunk." Told them a story, when he got drunk, kicked in the screen door, and the door and then come telling her he just wanted to see what she was doing. Now this is how awful psychotic this man can get. But he going to dump off and leave his father, don't tell her where he going to, and call her the first, but leave her, his father, with her as she's alone and pregnant. So she was like, "Well, before you leave Tanisha, um, I wuh, I'm not going to be left alone with that man, I'm scared to be left alone with him, I'm going to tell him I'm going somewhere with you, we going to get rid of him." Now she's getting ready, taking a shower, I go upstairs. She's telling him to wake up, she has to go, um, and her husband Craig, that's his name, was not there, but she's getting ready to go somewhere with me, um, he has to go. He like, um, "That's fine. I'll stay here, uh with Craig." She calls his name again, [pause], he's still just, "Uh, I'll be fine." Then she, I just said, I interjected, I said, 'cause it wasn't my house, but he acted like he didn't want to hear. So I told him, I said, "Look," I said, um, "Come on, get up," I said, "We got to go." And he talking about, guess he was trying to be smart, something. "Good morning." I said, "Good morning." And so then she was getting ready, she said, "I'm getting ready to go, and I'm going to be gone all day, and I don't know when Craig's coming back, and I want my house locked." So he finally got up, I think he was testing her. He thought she was going to, um, when he kept making excuses, going to let him stay there all day. He got up. When I came, 'cause I went to pack my stuff and put it in the car, when I was getting ready, when I was coming back out my car, he was already outside with his book-bag. [Pause] But point blank, we went and took him, she was like, "Where do you want to go? Back to the shelter? Or do you want to go to your niece?" He has a niece that stays nearby, maybe about ten minutes away. He says, he was like, he wasn't sure, but then he found out, that his niece, her little girl's birthday is today and she's throwing a birthday party and having a cookout, so he chimes in when she says that, "Well, oh, I'll go over there to their house." Like it's all, he wasn't sure before, but now that he knows they got food there, he's going to go over there. [Pause] So he go, so she says, we drop him off, he walks in the door. It's unlocked. She told me to go ahead. Just go ahead and give him his book bag and I'm like I ain't doing all that, going behind him and giving him his book bag. I'll let him come back out. He comes back out and says, "Yes he's there. Um, yes her hub-, her um, boyfriend's there. She's gone to work, the niece. So I'll stay there." And we drive off, we go back to their place. And I talk to her for a few minutes, then I head out. But I'm just like, point blank, I'm like, "You taking it very calm, chick." She talking about the daddy trying to stay there, and if the husband, her husband Craig lets him stay, or, 'cause he told her when he dropped the daddy off in the hour, in early hours of the morning, that he needed to talk to her about something. And I'm like, she was like, if she, he wanted to talk about letting his daddy stay there, I'm telling him no, and if he don't like that, she said, "I'll move out." She said, but I, and I told her I agree with that, I said, I don't, I said but that ain't right. I said, "It's you and him and your baby now, ya'll have responsibilities. You did not get the two-bedroom for a 52 year old man who doesn't want to work and who gets drunk on the weekend to stay there." I said, "You got to because you're expecting your child, and that's going to be the child room, that is not a guest room, and I don't know why he told him, to go stay in that room, giving him ideas." I said but, "Yeah, you need to nip that in the bud." And I said, "Just tell him, he can't even spend the night anymore." I said, "Your husband has a problem with telling him," I said, "You tell him." I said, "He has two other sons, who don't even talk to him whatsoever." I said, "One of his sons, the oldest, gave him a chance, let him move in with them and everything." And what he, how he repaid them, he set up there and robbed his friend blind. His friend came over there and he robbed from his friend. Now this is a man who did not raise them whatsoever, or helping raise them, but when he was there he used to beat him, like he would beat their mother. And then he, out of the kindness of his heart, let him stay with them, work him into his home, and then he turns around and robs his son's friend. And I told her, I said um, "If he can't do with your husband put your foot down," I said, "Tell your husband what you going to do, or have your husband sitting right there when you tell him. We have a family, it's hard enough supporting three, so we try to be nice to you, but you take advantage, you come up and sit in the house all day. You don't contribute. You don't do anything. You got to go." I said, "You can't even stay over here on the weekends anymore. You call my house, you cuss at me," because he cussed at her the other night, Friday night. I said, "You can't even co-, no, you can come and visit," I said, "But you got to be gone. You cannot stay over night. You can't stay here no more," and I said, "Ain't nothing wrong with that. Your husband should understand, the man doesn't contribute, he's taking away from your family." [Pause] And I said it, "Just tell him," I said, "If you don't want to tell him, I will. This ain't no disrespect but I got my own family. [Pause] You can sit up there and get," he gets a disability check, he was in the military, "You can get, the um, the government to pay for you for housing. Now that's up to you if you don't want to utilize it." I, but I told him, better her than me. I think she got herself into a heap of mess marrying that boy. I said because the boy will lie left and right, she'll ask him questions, and then he'll tell her none of her business, to a degree. I said, "And now he disappeared." I said, "Before you," I know she didn't expect him to be gone all night, I said she talking about the daddy, she ain't even talking about the fact her husband came in and out, stayed gone all night. I'm not the one, I said, "Believe me, when he get out, talking about be the first and last time. I don't care if I'm dead asleep, you are going to wake me up and tell me if there's an emergency and that you won't be back." I said and he ain't called her yet, I said it ain't too much of an emergency, he's off sleeping somewhere I said 'cause he hasn't called her back yet. I said the phone didn't, I said didn't ring once. [Pause] I said somebody better be in the hospital. [Pause] I said uh, I bet and he going to take me down and let me see him laying in the hospital bed. I said, but I shouldn't be so concerned but I'm saying I'm about my loved ones, and I said, "And there's a baby on the way, too." I said she got a bunch of heartache. Probably five years of a marriage that she wouldn't a been in if she had never got pregnant. [Pause] OK, and this right, I, hopefully this story should have taken about fifteen minutes, 'cause basically I am talked out.
YD: And, if you could just tell us, where you //are originally from. //
TD: // ( ) Is this the right place? // I'm originally from Kenley, North Carolina. That's 45 minutes south side of Charlotte, North Carolina. I mean, I'm sorry, 45 minutes away from Raleigh, North Carolina. Um, population? Is it even a thousand?
YD: It's over a thousand.
TD: Over, 1,500?
YD: I'm not quite sure.
TD: But I know what's the school population? When I graduate, graduated, I think it was like 800 just in the high school alone. But, um, it's not a very big, it's like, small rural community town, with, technically inside of the town two stop lights.
YD: That was further out.
TD: Two stop lights actually within city limits. OK, three stop lights within town city limits. But a very bur-, rural area, you see a lot of um, cow crossing and deer warning signs. So unless you know you may see some rural life on the outskirts. But yeah, very small and quaint, and when you truly have that true southern, southern cooking kind of stuff going on, not like in Charlotte. //In Charlotte //
YD: //That's how I'm talking about. //
TD: It'll have like that rural cooking. Always considered a specialty. Um, those barbeques smoked places off to themselves. Barbeque in Charlotte is nothing like in the rural town areas. In Charlotte it's like a sweet, taste to it, like um-uh I think somebody said it was a tomato base. And back home, in that small a-, it's not like that. The pig is on a grill, they smoke, yuh can taste wuh, whether its been smoked on an open grill, and it's like a vinegar and red pepper base. But it's not sweet whatsoever, what you get and is more common, you come across the corn bread, and like I said, the other uses of the pig like the chitterlings and the, pig's feet, all that stuff. That's very, very common back home. Um, southern cooking up here they have like specialty restaurants, little barbeque things, shops on the side, which there are not a lot, or those soul food restaurants. That stuff is everyday. So you ain't going to have a specialty restaurant back home and it be successful, it's going to go out 'cause it's in your mama's kitchen. Or you go to your grandma's house. So, it's not a specialty, back home where I come from.
YD: OK, and thank you, uh, Mrs. Dawes. Your interview is appreciated.