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Interview with Brian DeLucia

DeLucia, Brian
White, Emily
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now; Childhood Adventures; Cultural Identification
Brian DeLucia remembers his favorite childhood books that his mother read to him and his sister as well as the stories his parents told him about his grandparents' lives as immigrants. He relates a story about his childhood friend falling through a frozen pond to how he will teach his own children different things through real stories.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Emily White interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
EW (Emily White): State your full name.
BD (Brian DeLucia): Brian DeLucia.
EW: What is your native language?
BD: Uh, my native language is English.
EW: What is your occupation?
BD: My occupation, I work for Bank Of America and I work on a, uh, website.
EW: OK. Um, when do you remember hearing stories as a child?
BD: Uh, I remember hearing stories as a child when basically my mother reading stories to me, not so much my father, but more my mother when I was, I can't even tell you how old I was. But I just, I know for a fact as a child my mother would read to me before I went to bed.
EW: Do you remember any stories?
BD: Um, there was one book that I always remember. I don't know if my mother ever finished it. But one sticks out and it's still, um, at our home in New York and whenever I go back up there I always see the book lying around, um, in my room actually, or on the bookshelf. And it's actually called the Trumpet of the Swan. So that's, that's the, that's the main story that I remember that, that sticks in my head, as far as my mother reading it to myself and my sister when we were younger.
EW: Can you tell a little bit about it or do you remember anything?
BD: Um, I think the one thing I remember mostly about it actually is just the, the front cover of it. And it was just a, uh, uh a small boy, it looked like, on the edge of a lake and he was doing something, either like feeding, you know, the swan, or holding out his hand to it, or something to that effect. But the actual, um, the actual plot of the story, I probably don't really remember.
EW: Do you remember hearing stories that your parents would tell you as a child, maybe about their past or--?
BD: Oh, yeah. I can remember my, uh, my father telling me, um, the story of my grandparents coming from, uh, Italy when, uh, they came over. Um, so that kind of stands clearly in my mind. I also remember, uh, my mother telling me a lot of stories about, uh, how hard it was for her when she was growing up because, uh, there was about, I think she was one of, um, four siblings and um, my grandmother never really worked or anything like that. She was always taking care of the kids. And my grandfather was always working like about three different jobs. So I remember my mother telling me all kinds of interesting stories about my grandfather, as far as, uh, he was a New York City cop, um, you know, and worked in a, he was a bailiff in, in court, you know, for the New York courts for awhile, like at the same time actually, and he was also doing like a, a security job as well. So, those kind of stories.
EW: Hmm. Do you read stories now?
BD: Uh, I read books and, and magazines, if that, that counts as, as stories.
EW: What kind? What do you tend towards?
BD: I tend to read, uh, mostly, uh, fiction books. I'm not really, uh, into, uh, a lot of the non- fictions, though occasionally I'll read a biography or, uh, something like that if, if, you know, I see something in a bookstore. But, uh, yeah, I read a lot of non-fiction. Um, I like fantasy-type stories 'cause I always liked that when I was younger. The, the Dungeons and Dragons type stuff and even up until, um, you know, I still enjoy reading that kind of stuff about, you know, swords and magic, that kind of stuff. And I've actually always, uh, enjoyed stuff, reading books about like vampires. Like, you know, fiction books about, uh, vampires and, and that kind of stuff. And I also tend to, um, hear about authors from, you know, friends or, or hear of a famous book from a friend and I'll read one and if there happens to be a series on it then, you know, I'll start reading those. I actually just started reading, uh, the first three books of the Harry Potter series and I think those are intended for a much younger audience, but I've actually read all, the first three that have come out and I've enjoyed them 'cause that's basically, it's about a kid who's a magician, basically, finds out that he's a magician. So that kind of, you know, peaked my interest when I started reading it.
EW: So when you first started to read you tended towards the fantasy books?
BD: Um, yeah when I started to be able to decide what I wanted to read, as opposed to having somebody read it to me, I tended to lean more towards, yeah, fantasy-type books.
EW: Is there a story that changed in significance, as you've gotten older? Like maybe you've read, you remember hearing a book, and then you heard it again or read it again that changed in meaning or meant something different to you?
BD: Uh, yeah actually. I remember, my parents actually read to me, um, Watership Down, which is a story about a bunch of rabbits who, um, get driven out of wherever they're living, I forget the technical term for, for what their home under, under the ground is called, but they get driven out of that and they have to go and basically find a new place to live. And I remember my parents read that to me. It's a really big, long book. The paperback book is like about like six hundred pages long. So I remember my parents read that to me and I thought it was just really like cute about the rabbits kind of thing. And I think they might have skipped a lot of pages, too, because I actually read it in high school and it turns out it was like, you know, somewhat of a violent book. Like some of the rabbits get killed and it's, it's much more deeper and it's actually, it has like political undertones to it 'cause it's, you know, different factions of rabbits you know, kind of like fighting against each other and, you know, it was really interesting. So that, that kind of, that story like, I remember being younger and hearing it and thinking like oh, it was cute because it was rabbits and then reading it and actually, you know, en, enjoying it a lot more when I was in high school 'cause it was actually a really, really good book.
EW: Um, do you or would you like to read to children?
BD: Uh, yes. I, I'd read to children, but probably not, I'd probably tend to read to my own children. Um, I don't know how much I'd be into reading to just, you know, like a, a program of just reading to children kind of thing. But when I do have children, I'm going make sure that either, um, you know, my wife reads to them or that, you know, or make it a point that I read to them 'cause I think it's, it's really important. And actually, uh, my sister has two young children and, um, she's constantly reading to, to her child and, who's two years old now. And she just seems like a pretty bright, intelligent kid compared to some other two year olds that I've, that I've encountered.
EW: Are there any personal stories about your past and history and growing up that you're going to tell your children?
BD: Um, yeah. I'm sure that there's going be stories that I'll, I'll tell them about. Um, to tell you the truth, I'll definitely tell my kids, you know, things about, you know, stories about when I was growing up and maybe some things that, you know, you should or shouldn't do. Um, in particular I could, I could think of a few things. Um, I know when I was really younger, I'll tell them this story, about never going near, uh, a frozen pond because when I was really young, um, the lake by my house had frozen over, actually it was just a pond, but it was a pretty big one, um, and we always use to play ice hockey and what not on it. And it started to um, get warmer outside, but there was still a layer of ice on top of it, and a bunch of my friends had gone out on to the, the dock. That is, you know, you could easily get to it. It was attached to kind of like the shore, but at the deep end of the pond. And we were out there and one of my friends was kidding around, and I think we were in like, about seven or eight years old. Um, and one of my friends was joking around on it and actually fell through the ice. And, uh, a bystander had to come over and basically fish him out and the kid could've died. So, I'll tell my kids to, to stay away from thin ice.
EW: Do you think your parents told you stories more out of humor or more out of, as a warning? Like about, stories about growing up with them or their past. Do you think they used their stories as teachable moments?
BD: Yeah, I think they had a mixture because I think, um, it's kind of like two different, you know, things that they would tell me as far as stories. You had the things that they would read out of books, which were purely for entertainment, it always seemed like. Um, and then if it was anything that was, you know, that I kind of correlated with, if it wasn't coming from a book, they were probably trying to get something into my head. You know, trying to like, you know, teach me something in some way. So it was kind of like if it was coming out of book, I knew it was for pure entertainment, whereas if it was something they were telling to me, I might be a little more receptive to, you know, maybe trying to find a little, a little meaning behind it and say, "Hey, why are you, why are you telling me this?"
EW: Now, your grandparents or great-grandparents came from Italy?
BD: Uh, my grandparents.
EW: So your grandparents, had they told you stories about Italy?
BD: Oh yeah.
EW: Can you think of anything?
BD: Um, yeah, I mean they just, they mostly, they didn't really talk about what it was like being over there. I mean, they more talked about, um, coming over here. Like from the time when they came over here that was hard for them at first to adjust. And how they came over with, with basically, you know, nothing or you know, not, not that many possessions looking for a, looking for a better life and you know, just how they had to work hard to get, you know, where they were. And that they, their entire lives they were just trying to make a better life for my dad and his sister. So I didn't really hear too many stories about, um, you know, where they came from. But more of like the actual journey over and, and what it was like to first come here.
EW: OK. I think I've got everything. Thank you.
BD: You're welcome.