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Interview with Matthew Kimber Haneline

Haneline, Matthew Kimber
Percy, Patricia
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with People and Places; Childhood Adventures; Stories and Storytellers
Matthew Haneline recalls shooting his grandfather with a BB gun on purpose.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Patricia Percy interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
PP (Patricia Percy): Interviewing-.
MH (Matthew Haneline): Matthew Kimber Haneline.
PP: Matthew, we want to enlist a narrative to display the widest range possible of English varieties, languages, ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, etc. in order to create a collection showing Charlotte at the turn of the twentieth century. Tell me a little bit about where you were born.
MH: I was born in Statesville, North Carolina at Iredell Memorial Hospital, um, June 7, 1982, was when I was born.
PP: And how long have you been around the Charlotte area?
MH: Since, since I was born un-, until now, uh, I grew up in Statesville, which is the outskirts of Charlotte, but now I actually go to school at UNC Charlotte, so I live in Charlotte.
PP: And how long has that been?
MH: That's 20 years, almost 21.
PP: And how long have you been at school?
MH: I've been here going on maybe, three years, no, has it been three years, now? I'm a junior in school, all right I know that much. Sorry.
PP: OK. Can you think of any stories from your childhood that were humorous or amusing, something fun that you did?
MH: Yeah, I can think of a few stories. Um, the one that most people make fun of me about is the time when I shot my grandpa with a BB gun. Um, is that one good enough, I guess?
PP: That would be great. Let me here \\ about that. \\
MH: \\ It would be great, alright, \\ um, I don't know exactly how old I was, I was probably, [sighs] I was probably 10? 10 years old when I got a BB gun for Christmas. And, yeah, I remember I got it for Christmas 'cause it was in a long box and um, it was sometime after Christmas day, but it wasn't, it wasn't directly after Christmas, but for some reason I was at my grandpa's house, grandparents' house, in, uh, Troutman, which is a little closer to Charlotte than Statesville. But um, I don't remember much, I remember just kind of sporadically what happened but uh, let's see here. My grandparents' house is a, like a two and a half story old, old, old country house and it's about to fall apart now. But, um, in the backyard, it was actually a farm and so they had, they had chickens, and rabbits in cages, I remember rabbits in cages, and they had horses and uh, they used to have like, some kind of other bird too, but it was kind of weird. Not peacocks but something kind of like that. Anyways, um, I, whenever I got my BB gun I took it with me everywhere. And my dad of course gave me this whole spiel about BB gun safety and all this stuff and never to shoot at anyone or um, he didn't let me shoot birds or anything or they told me not to, I still shot them when I first got it. But mainly what I would do, and what I did before I got the BB gun because going to my grandparents' house was something boring, um, to me [Laughs] when I was a kid, so I would take these cans, I'd find aluminum cans and sit them up in their driveway and throw rocks at them. That's what I did before I got my BB gun. After I got the gun, I would just sit cans up and then shoot them with my BB gun, right? So, I got there, I'd, I had my BB gun, this is sometimes after Christmas after I'd got my BB gun. And how many times am I going to say 'BB gun?' [Laughs] I'll just refer to the BB gun as "gun" for now, now on, all right? So, I, I, took the gun and um, after I got through shooting the cans, I started shooting trees, and, and so I get around to the back of the house, and they got some trees back there and some bushes around the trees, pretty big bushes. And so I, I started acting like I was, like I guess, ah, some kind of sniper or something and so I would, I was in the bushes and I would shoot a tree like whoever it would be a person or a enemy or something. Um, but at the same time my, my grandpa was, uh, down at the end of the gate, this is probably about a, a 100, not a 100 yards, probably about 50 yards away, um, and, and their backyard was kind of like a, a straight, it wasn't a really wide backyard because there was kinda trees on both sides and the pasture's on the left side and um, there was a shed over there and then the cages, the rabbit cages, and where one of the dog's stays was kind of on the woods on the right side, so it was kinda narrow backyard probably, probably 20 yards across it was a pretty big back yard but probably 50 yards deep. At the end, away from the house was the gate where they, where he would feed the horses. Well apparently he was, he'd just got through feeding the horses while I'm being 'Johnny Commando' and shooting stuff out of the bushes, um, and he started walking back up from the gates with the pails in his hands, like, two, two metal pails. And I, I, do remember this quite vividly. Um, but he was walking back up, and I remember in my mind thinking to myself, "I could." I always refer to him as 'Papaw Johnny,' his uh, his first name is Johnny, he, his, that's where I get my middle name, Kimber, um, his name is John Kimber Haneline, my grandpa he's, he's dead now, but, um, but not from the BB gun. [Laughs] But anyways, he was, um, walking back up with two pails, um. I, I think they were pails, they might not have been, ( ), I remember he had something in his hands. But anyways, I remember thinking in my head, "I could shoot Papaw Johnny." And so then I almost had like a war in my head for a second like, "Why would you shoot Papaw Johnny?" And then I thought to myself, "All right, I'm going to do it!" And so, I lined him up as he's walking back up to the house, like I said, there was a ( ) I know this sounds terrible, but I lined him up, and I, I, I don't, I knew not to shoot like at his face or at his chest or anything, but I um, I lined him up and went after his legs. And, um, it was his, if he's walking to me, it was, from my sight his left leg, but, so it, it was his right thigh, and I guess I had got a pretty good aim or become a pretty good shooter whatever, because I aimed for his right thigh. And, and I remember the BB gun you're supposed to pump it, um, the stock, you pumped it 10 times to get the air pressure there, but I only pumped it five so I had a little compassion, a little bit of love for my grandpa. And so then, I took the stock and folded it down to give it a good rest and I, uh, as he was coming up with something in his hands, I remember shooting from the bushes where he couldn't see me, hit him in the thigh and I remember him dropping, dropping whatever he had and grabbing his thigh and saying something, and he probably cussed or something, I don't know exactly what he did, but he um, I remember him grabbing his thigh and looking down and then as soon as he kind of started looking up around, I guess, I think he thought a bee had stung him or something like that. But when he was looking around that's when I took off running, um, and ran back around the house and he didn't, he didn't see me. But um, I, as soon as I had shot him, I realized what I had done. [Laughs] I had shot my own grandpa. And so I ran around and kind of ran and hid like, uh, uh, hid for a while. I don't know what I was doing. There was, there was another kind of tree canopy like you could go in under, in their front yard and I kind of probably went in there. They had a lot of land so I could have went anywhere. But um, it was probably about an hour later I heard my mom. Well, I don't know how much time went by. Um, probably five minutes but, [Laughs] some, it took in my mind it was a long time um, 'cause I'm thinking about me just shooting my grandpa. But I hear my mom calling me that it's time to go, and so when I got in the house, um, the first question I hear was, "Did you shoot your grandpa?" Um, or, "Your Papaw Johnny?" And I, I cried a lot when I was a kid, I was pretty shy, um, and I think I started crying and I made up just a bold-faced lie that I was shooting at a tree and hit him and ran away, um, because I, I thought I'd hurt him or, or something. But it ends up that the BB just hit his, he had some like, uh, thick kind of, can- I don't know, not canvas pants, but something kind of even a little more thicker than, uh, than jeans and it just kind of just hit him and stung him more than anything. But, um, and so it was kind of a big, like I'm sure a lot of people are doing now, as they listen to the tape they're probably laughing. It's kind of like a, a joke around my family, even when it happened. I don't even think I got a spanking for it. Um, but, uh, I remember getting another lesson on hunter safety after that. But, um, it was, I think I was 15 years old was when I finally told my mom that I did it on purpose. Um, [laughs] told my mom and dad, it was af-, it was, no, I, yeah, I did tell them before Papaw died. Um, and I remember having to talk to him and, and it was great 'cause he went through a lot of medical problems towards the end of his life and, and, uh, talking to him about that was always fun between me and him and then me and my parents. But, uh, I did, that story definitely came back up. When he died I was a senior in high school and, um, all the good memories you got to share about somebody, I remember that was one of my good memories even though I shot, you know, shot my grandpa it was still a good memory, so. Um, and it is now, you know. When I think about, when I hear something like that, Paul, John or whoever, you know, if we're talking in our family or whatever, um, that story definitely is going to come up, and people still make fun of me in my family for shooting my own grandpa. But then another memory is, I, I have at his funeral. I was a pallbearer, me and my two brothers, and he had, he only, he had a lot of granddaughters, but he only had six grandsons, I think, and we were all pallbearers. We went into the church for the funeral, and uh it was really cold, it was in January, January 21st I think, and it was really, really cold, and it was supposed to snow but it hadn't started snowing and when we came out we, uh, led of course with the, the body and it snowed like two inches and it was just beautiful outside and, and I remember and if it snows now, I think about that. Um, I think about this kind, the purity of it and um, my Papaw in heaven and, and all that good stuff so, um, that's another little bit of a memory there. But, um, yeah, I definitely, I definitely, uh, shot my own grandpa. [Laughs] So there's, there's a good memory of growing up, um, and all the other mischievous things that boys from Iredell County do. So, that's my story, I guess.
PP: Thank you so much for sharing your story about your memories of your grandpa.
MH: Thanks.