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Interview with Megan Emrich

Emrich, Megan
Barefoot, Jamie
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures; Storytellers and stories
Megan Emrich did not enjoy reading as a child or as an adult, which probably stems from what she considered punishment when her grandmother made her read "The Owl and the Pussycat" every time she visited her.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jamie Barefoot interviewed a variety of people currently residing in North Carolina for a class project at UNCC.
Interview Audio: 
JB (Barefoot, Jamie): All right, this is, um, Megan Emrich and she, she grew up in Philadelphia and she's lived here since May? April? March? April?
ME (Emrich, Megan): April first.
JB: April first.
ME: April first.
JB: All right, Megan, when you were growing up, do you remember any stories that you read or were read to you that uh, stick in your mind?
ME: I don't remember any stories that I read. I remember reading, the uh, um, my nana, and we were just talking about this at Christmastime, my nana had read a story, had wanted me to read a book, and we had gone to her apartment and she was um, reading The Owl and the Pussycat, and she would read it with me, I think, just to teach me how to, how to read, basically, but I remember and apparently, that was her favorite story or something like that, but I remember being forced to sit down and read it with her and I really didn't want to do it, but I always remember. I can remember now the beginning part of it and that's really all I can [pause] remember of the story.
JB: OK. Did, um, was this at a particular time of the year, like did you say at Christmas or holidays?
ME: Whenever. This was not at Christmas, this was whenever we would go over and visit, visit her. She always made me sit down and read this [pause] book. I don't even know, The Owl and the Pussycat, the book or a poem, I'm not really sure. She always sat down and read this with her and I, I always thought I was being punished by sitting there, having to read it. I guess she really liked it and she wanted me to learn it.
JB: OK. Um, Did, did she, like read it to you or--
ME: She would read it with me. She'd read it with me.
JB: She'd have to actually read the words.
ME: Yeah. She'd actually have to read the words.
JB: Did you like the story?
ME: No.
JB: [Laughter]
ME: I didn't like anything about it because I thought I was being punished. But I could always remember, you know, The Owl and the Pussycat in the beautiful pea-green book and that's what I remember, but I don't really remember enjoying it. I just thought I was being punished because every, my brother and sister could do whatever they wanted, and I had to sit there and read The Owl and the Pussycat you know, I wasn't too happy about that.
JB: Do you know why she made you sit there? Did she ever make your brother and sister sit there?
ME: No! I don't remember them having to sit there. I don't really know why I had to sit there. I don't know.
JB: She did this every time you'd go over there like on a regular basis?
ME: Yeah! It seemed like it. This was before, this was when my grandfather and her weren't married so we would go over and read it with me I was not even sure what was going on, but um, [laughter], but I just remember having to read that and that was it um, with her.
JB: OK. Do you remember in your family, any particular stories that were told, like you know at Thanksgiving or just, maybe even now stories that you uh, know you remember when so and so did such and such?
ME: Um, no, but I always, not really stories, I guess hearing my mom talk about stories about her, her brother and her mother and stuff like that, things I never even knew about that would interest me now that she tells me now. But I don't remember um, being told a whole lot when we were younger.
JB: Um.
ME: It was just, you know, we just went on with our lives, but now, now as I am older she would tell me things that, you know, I never even knew about. Lived with, we lived with the whole time, but I never even knew about, so, it was a little different.
JB: Is there something particular or like really weird that she's told you that stands out in your mind.
ME: Well, she told me, she just told me last week that my, her mother had breast cancer and I never knew that.
JB: Wow!
ME: I never knew that. And she had tuberculosis [laughter] and I never knew that either.
JB: [Laughter] Is there any reason why she didn't tell you?
ME: I don't know. [Laughter] It never came up, I don't think she ever, you know, she ever kept it a secret or anything like that, but I don't, I just, she just never told me, it never came out in conversation. Um, and that's just more of those every day, I don't think there's any, I don't know. No, I don't think there's any reason why she doesn't tell me anything I don't think. Maybe she told everyone else and I wasn't paying attention at that particular time. So I'm not really sure why. Um, as far as never being told--
JB: OK. Um, are there any, you said you don't remember reading anything in particular, like when you were older in school, were there any books that you read that you liked or hated?
ME: [Pause] Um, no, to be honest, I never read any of the books I was supposed to. I know that's horrible. That's why I didn't graduate college, but I never, I never read any of the books I was supposed to. I mean, I remember having to read um, you know, all the, all the books that everyone, I don't know, John Steinbeck books and stuff like that. Um, but I don't recall ever finishing any of them. And more looking through the Cliff Notes to be honest with you. So, I don't have any specific stories.
JB: OK. Um-hum.
ME: I don't know. [Laughter]
JB: OK, all right. That's fine. Thank you very much.