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Monologue by Thomas Farrow

Farrow, Thomas
Adinolfi, Elizabeth
Date of Interview: 
Childhood Adventures
Thomas Farrow talks about various childhood experiences, including moving, going to grandparents', and throwing tomatoes into a neighbor's yard.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Elizabeth Adinolfi interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
TF (Thomas Farrow): One of my first memories, uh, occurred when I was about four years old. I was living, uh, right outside of Saint Louis, between Jefferson City and Saint Louis, Missouri. Um, my parents had a small house on a very friendly suburban street and, ah, one summer day I remember going out to the back of our yard, which seemed really big then. Uh, I reached into my parents small garden, it had quite a few tomatoes in it, and I just started lobbing the tomatoes over the fence, and I kept lobbing the tomatoes over the fence, and then my next door neighbor, who was probably about four, my playmate at the time, he rode his Big Wheel down the, down the hill there and came and started throwing the tomatoes with me and we were just having a great time not thinking about anything, laughing having a lot of fun [cough]. Then dad had to spoil it all. He came, he opened the door and I remember looking back and seeing the expression on his face, and I could tell that he was disappointed. He wasn't happy with me, but I wasn't, I wasn't really sure if what I had done was really, really wrong I just knew that he wasn't very happy about what was going on by the way he opened the door and by the way he told me I needed to come into the house, and I, I came over there and I stepped up and I didn't even say, "Bye," to my friend and was probably not into that kind of thing I didn't really notice at that time probably I just went into the house. And Dad said he had noticed, he had seen me throwing tomatoes in Mrs. Faulk's yard, so he told me that I was in trouble and I was going to get a spanking, and, um, I was kind of uh, uh looking for an out so I was smart enough to say, "Hey Dad! Before you give me a spanking, why don't you just let me have one big glass of chocolate milk first?" So anyway, Dad goes and makes this nice big glass of chocolate milk for me. I'm not even sure why he did it but I spent so much time drinking that chocolate milk, it was, I must have had that chocolate milk to my face for 20 minutes, and for some reason, you know, Dad was telling me, you know, talking to me about, uh, you know, what, what I had done and, you know, how it was wrong. I remember, yeah I remember that based on later conversations that I ( ) with him about it, but at the time I guess I really wasn't sure what it was about, but I knew [cough] that when it all came down to the bottom of it, I knew that what I had done was the wrong thing to do and he told me that I'm going to probably have to go down there and help Mrs. Faulk pick up the tomatoes when it's all said and done, and I remember being a little bit nervous about that. I didn't really know Mrs. Faulk very well she was about 80 and, ah, she was a nice person I had seen her a few times but I was really nervous about that. It was probably the first thing I remember from being a little kid about, ah, especially about something that I'd done wrong. Ah, another thing that happened there that I thought was interesting was one of the first memories of my sister, and that was in that very same backyard. There was a, ah, a rose garden back there and my sister, it's ironic her middle name is Rose. Her name is Christy Rose Farrow, and she was back there with me and we're going back and seeing these roses and Christy was smelling the roses and she started to put the petals up her nose, and I remember watching her put the petals up there, and I remember watching her put the petals up her nose, and I wasn't really sure why she was doing it. I didn't really ask any questions I just thought it was interesting that she was putting the petals up her nose, and it kind of became fun to kind of cheer her into keep doing it, so I was like keeping going, keep going, "Yes! This is great!" you know, and she's stuffing the petals up there and I didn't really know of any consequences. I don't think, I was just kind of, I was about four or four and a half and I remember stuffing those petals up her nose and I thought it was great and then Mom comes down and she was really disappointed in both of us. I think she was most unhappy with me because, you know, ah, ah, Christy was only one or one and a half or two and I was the big brother so from there I guess I remembered Mom being upset with me because ah Christy had all those petals up her nose and it took a long time to take them out there was a lot of them up there, but, ah, later on, as I grew older, we moved around a lot when I was a kid I remember the first day I woke up and there was a moving truck. One day I woke up and there was a moving truck in my, in my yard and I woke up to this sound of that and I looked out the window and there's this moving truck and there's people moving stuff in and I got up and I said, "Mom they're taking our stuff," and I was, and she was like, "Yes, we're moving today," and I was about four going on five at the time and so they're taking our stuff out so anyway we moved and they took all our stuff out and moved and she said, you know, "I told you we're moving. You must have forgot," and I must have because it totally took me by surprise, and we ended up at a new place and I remember this, this new house that we were at and, ah, in a pretty area and it had a much bigger yard than the one. I remembered a long driveway and it was surrounded by woods it was really nice area in Arnold, Missouri and, um, basically it was such a shock because when we first got there Mom said, "Today's your first day of school," and apparently I had forgot about that too and I started to get really nervous about that. We were watching something on TV. I can't remember what it was but I suddenly got really nervous that I was about to go to school for the first time and that was probably the most stressful day of my life. I had forgotten that I was moving to a new place and I had forgotten that I was, uh, going to be going to school. That was, that was a pretty scary day. Um, then we moved to a new house. Ah, oops! I'm covering the same stuff. Ah, fourth grade was a lot of fun. I like to laugh. I was probably, just laugh about anything. I remember, some of my friends, I remember one time when I went to lunch, and I always had this Pac Man lunchbox, pull out this Pac Man lunchbox, and I would, that I was so proud of, and, you know, do my thing, and I would be talking so much and laughing about the stupidest things that I wouldn't even, I wouldn't even eat my lunch. I would just laugh the whole time, and one time I did it so much that I never even opened my lunch out of the bag, and it was like a minute before, a minute before lunch was over and the teacher, the P.E. teacher came up to me, and he said, "Look, this is horrible, Thomas. This is just," you know, "Look you're in trouble. You're not eating your lunch," come with him, so I went, he, I had to follow him and remember being really nervous and he sat me down a corner and he told me I had to sit there until I ate all my lunch, and I remember, um, crying for a long time and I think that basically what happened there was that was just an amazing mood swing because I went from being extremely [laugh] happy, and I was [laugh] extremely sad. It was an amazing mood swing. I think that's why I remember that. Um, when I was young we used to go on a lot of yearly vacations. Every year we'd go from, whether it be Missouri to Illinois or Iowa to Illinois or Kansas to Illinois, the whole time I was growing up because in Illinois that's where my grandparents lived and every year we'd go up there and spend about a week with them in the summer, and we'd also go down there for Christmas too, but mostly I remember going down there every year, um, for the summer and it was, ah, a lot of arguing in the car, and I remember sitting next to my, uh, I had two sisters, so the middle one was always in the middle, for some reason. She was, she was, uh, the middle one's always in the middle. What I mean by that is that she's the next down she was like two, two years younger that me then the other one is three years younger than me, so, uh, basically, you know, you know, she would always sit next to me, and we'd get so mad, I remember my dad swinging directly behind him at us all the time because we'd always be fighting. One thing that she really had as a great defense. Was, she would eat peanut butter cups, and she knows that I hate the smell of peanut butter, so she would actually eat the peanut butter cup and then breathe in my face and there wasn't really any way for me to defend against that because I couldn't think of any food that she really thought stunk and you know it was like it was it was untouchable there wasn't anything I could do about that, so I would, I would get really mad at that and I'd say, "Mom, Mom," and she would say, you know, "She's just breathing," so there was really no way out of it, so I remember a lot of that. So when I was in, when I was at grandma and grandpa's house, we used to have a great time just fishing and hanging out with grandpa, and my cousins would go there and every Fourth of July we'd do fireworks. Um, it was on the river and it was, ah, it was very peaceful. Um, my grandparents were always very, very loving people and some of, my parents were and we'd just have a great time down there. And some of my best memories were, um, at the Fox River in Illinois with my grandparents. Um, um another memory with my family that I have is that we had a lot of weddings, ah, and these weddings were always really big weddings, and I've always been told the reason why they're so big is because basically it's Polish, you know. Half of my family's Polish, so Polish, we have big weddings and I remember at my cousin's wedding I was like 12 years old going to it and I had a my cousin Tim and he was about 10, and, ah we went to this wedding and it has like 200 people. My uncle, he's a great guy. He's also really big into the Hell's Angels and he brought about 50 of his friends to it and the wedding took place in a hotel one of those classic areas where you have, you have the weddings, and it was, ah, basically a really stormy night, real stormy and the power went out, and it was open bar so now we've got, ah, 50 Hell's Angels, no power, and it's the middle a summer, so it is getting really hot in there, you know, there's, there's no lights so you know there's a few emergency power lights that people brought, ah, and they had some sort of battery they were using for the ah for the radio system and it was, it was getting really crazy in there because we had Hell's Angels running around without shirts on, uh, people highly intoxicated, I remember by 10 year old cousin saying, "Bottom's up, Thomas! Bottoms up!" and the reason it was bottoms up was because, was, they serve champagne to everybody in these weddings that's something I can never figure out and if you're a kid you get champagne, if you're an adult you get champagne. Everybody gets champagne and some people don't drink it so what's left the kids drink so we were going around drinking all this champagne. And before you know it it's time for the kids Hula Hoop contest and they've got a stage of course there they do it's one of those huge areas and ah we get up there and they're playing this tune I can't remember what it was and Tim and I were up there and Tim my 10 year old cousin is really drunk and he fell completely off the stage I remember that being somewhat embarrassing but looking back on it I think it's really pretty funny, um, it was uh it was a really neat experience.