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Interview with Adam Effren

Effren, Adam
Effren, Jodie
Date of Interview: 
Then and Now; stories and storytellers; relationships with people and places
Adam Effren talks about urgan legends, the toothfaery, and his memories of childhood camping and family life.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jodi Effren interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
AE (Adam Effren): They'd skip classes call the gorge and everybody would go swimming there but apparently it was a place where some people that messed up on the vines swinging on the vines from on tree to a, another fell down either hit a rock or hit a tree. And apparently there was stories that there were so called dead bodies there so there, there was a place where they would tell the freshmens to uh not go because based on coming and going there based on their curiosity if they went there they tried to build up this story so that they would be scared but apparently people did get hurt there. That was one story I remember.
JE (Jodi Effren): Is this the same um place where the Lennox son, grandson got hurt?
AE: Uh probably could have been.
JE: The reservoir?
AE: It was a secluded area where people drove in to dirt roads and it was uh an area with a lot of rocks and water I've never been there but I've been told-.
JE: By the reservoir?
AE: Yes. Um as far as other stories that was obviously when I was older um-.
JE: Do you remember hearing any-?
AE: As a kid um used to go to a swim club as a kid and uh did a lot of uh aquatic activities and remember not, not being, being told when you go in to stay away from the deep end because the deep end slopes and when it sloped down there was a drain and the drain would suck me up. So I particularly didn't care for any, any areas that had drains whether they were shallow or deep because I thought they would suck me up. Um camp stories, camp stories, I went to a camp called Camp Playland and um every group was assigned a name like the All Stars or Roadrunners or whatever and every Wednesday we would have cookouts. And the cookouts would consist of uh hamburgers and hot dogs that we would cook on a basically a man made grill that we would make out of rocks and then it had a metal grate over the top that you would put the hamburgers and hot dogs on. And then after we were done eating our hamburgers and hot dogs they had bags and bags of marshmallows and we would take sticks and sit over the campfire and I remember being told that uh if we, if we went to these campsites without adult supervision the boogieman would get us. And uh I had a friend Remy Faulks and the two, the two of us were never scared by any of these stories so we used to go back into the campsites in between athletic periods where our counselors would stop to go to the bathroom or make pit stops where they wouldn't know where we were and we would sneak out and we got caught a couple of times going out there and somebody spooked us but we didn't really believe in the boogieman but that was uh the boogieman story. Um let me think of some other stories, as a kid I, I never, I never particularly cared for going to bed unless there were lights on because I would to think that there was somebody there waiting to attack me so I had a habit sometimes as a kid of running into my room and grabbing a flashlight and looking underneath my covers before I got in thinking that somebody, some boogieman was going to be inside my bed or monster and eat me. Sometimes my dad would play the game and hide from me and make like somebody was in bed when there wasn't. Um trying to think if there's any other stories.
JE: Do you remember hearing any stories about living in Connecticut? Like I remember hearing about the um what was his name the Ruddy Man and about how he lived and all out there and had, he chewed tobacco and smoked tobacco and he actually lived in his cave and he chewed so much tobacco he burnt a whole in his lip. So do you remember hearing many stories like that when we lived in Connecticut?
AE: No not, not to my knowledge. The only story I remember is there was this triangular house next door to the camp that we went to that this weird man lived in that nobody ever knew was this vac-, it looked like a vacant house but somebody actually lived in the premises. And um there was tennis courts where we used to take tennis lessons going down this big hill where you come into camp and you could see this house and I remember always looking at it and being spooked out thinking that this guy was going to attack us one day going to our camp buses leaving camp but I don't remember any stories about any particular things relating to uh living in Connecticut um to date, I can't say I do.
JE: Do you remember any ghost stories?
AE: No I never particularly was afraid of ghosts to be quite honest.
JE: No you don't have to be afraid of ghosts-.
AE: I don't remember any ghost stories, no I don't. [Pause] ( ) I remember um so called tooth fairy stories about when a tooth fell out you put it under your pillow the tooth fairy would come and give you money. Well I had problems because only two or three teeth fell out of my mouth four teeth at the most and I had to have the rest of them pulled out to have braces but I do remember that at the time my tooth fairy wasn't too generous with what he was giving me or she was giving me so I decided to spook out the tooth fairy and not only did I put two uh teeth underneath my pillow, er, well I should say a tooth underneath my pillow because never more than one or two fell out at a time, I put a note under my pillow that I would prefer to be given something other than a dollar or a quarter so if the tooth fairy was generous enough to please leave me something to eat because at least if I was going to wake up it should have been worthwhile. So the tooth fairy which was one of the only things I believed in because it was the only thing that when somebody told you it was going to happen it happened, I never got sucked down the drain, the man from the, from the triangular house next to camp never came out and attacked me but the tooth fairy seemed to come up with something even if it was a cheap little tip. Well I managed to get candy a few times that made me quite happy I thought the more candy I ate the more teeth would fall out but that never happened unfortunately they had to be pulled out. But the tooth fairy, yeah the tooth fairy story was another, another infamous story that if you put your teeth out that he would come and help you out by leaving you money or so on and so forth. Uh another story as a kid I remember every year you know when you have your birthday parties they said that if you, when you blow your candles that if you make a wish the wish will come true. Well for some reason every year I'd been told that if you make a wish the wish would come true for some reason it never did. So I'm thinking maybe in my later days that maybe some of these stories about wishing for uh something on your birthday when you blow your candles out it will possibly come true. Um, [pause] oh here's a story about living in Connecticut or in the North I should say because Jodie's making me think so hard here. I remember being told as a kid that when you walk outside in the winter there's a certain smell for what snow would smell like.
JE: It does have a smell.
AE: So I don't know, necessarily know if it's so much. [Pause] It's not so much the, the smell when you're, you're standing outside and you do have that, that scent it's more the- from the cold when the cold gets inside your nose it's, it's almost like frost is building up and it, and it- if you stay out there long enough I remember once being told that your nose would freeze on you from the, from the smell and the cold and so on and so forth. Another story my wonderful mother-in-law when I first started dating Jodie she used to tell me that when it was going to rain or when it was cold that she could tell, she, she could tell when this type of weather was coming and I used to ask her how. And she used to tell me that when the, she only knows when the weather's going to turn cold or there's going to be precipitation by her knee whether it, whether it aches or tightens uh stiffens up on her so on and so forth. That's all due to an injury that she had many years ago. And then there was my grandfather who fought in World War II and uh he was a bombardier and he flew a B-24 bomber and where the bombardier sat there was an open area so they knew they could look down and, and see air I mean and the sky and see land if they were flying low enough and because they were flying in this type of situation he was exposed to all the elements and because it was so cold during the time that he was flying, um, the cold would come in and it caused people to get severe frostbite sometimes. And because of the frostbite that he had developed during the war which he was lucky it was his only war injury if you will. He developed this spot on his finger that turned purple whenever it would rain or it was cold so he used to tell us as kids the story that he can always tell when the weather is going to change so on and so forth by the way his finger would look. And what I mean by that is it would turn, it would actually turn purple so um. One more story I have an Aunt Gerdy that when I was a kid she used to tell us that um if we were bad boys and girls and I had cousins that were girls and boys that she would give us the pin, she would actually give us a little stick with a pin if we were bad but the story was she never liked us to be out of her sight. So everybody- whenever we wanted to go down into her basement or garage because my great-great-grandfather was in the junkyard business and she had lots of stuff in her, in her basement you know from parts from cars to old thermometers to all you name or whatever you could find in a, in a junkyard. Well if you went down in the basement apparently a monster would attack you and eat you if you went down there when you weren't supposed to. So as I got older, much older and she didn't care where I was, when I was there recently I asked her if I could go down in the basement and when I came upstairs I asked her why the monster didn't get me and she said no monsters get old people, people that are old enough to go down there by themselves so I'm 27 years old, 26 years old, I'm sure I'll have some more stories down the road but Jodie will be graduated by then so she won't be asked for a project to come up with stories from when you're growing up so I enjoyed this interview if you will and thank you very much.