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Interview with Jan Hecox

Hecox, Jan
Scardina, Trish
Date of Interview: 
Stories and Storytellers; Childhood Adventures
Jan Hecox talks about her children, her surgery, and the hearse her husband turned into a convertible.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Trish Scardina interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
TS (Trish Scardina): Any good stories about Jennifer and Bradwhen they were growing up?
JH (Jan Hecox): Um well I do have one good story about Jennifer and Brad. Jennifer was in the Girl Scouts and um I was the, I guess not the den mother but the um scout one of the scout leaders.
TS: Uh-huh.
JH: And we went down to Lake Norman for a picnic and so I had Jennifer and Brad in the back seat while I went out to do something I can't remember to get something organized before the kids got out and everything and Brad had uh a wad of chewing gum in his mouth [laugh] and Jennifer had long hair and so they were looking out the side window and Brad is just chewing away and chewing away and he's also chewing Jennifer's hair in his mouth. [Laugh] And we had to cut half uh [laugh] of Jennifer's hair out. I just remember that. Oh let's see I remember Brad, um Phil was teaching Brad how to skip rocks and we were up in the mountains and he was finally getting the hang of it and he threw the rock but it went the wrong direction and broke the rear end of the car rear window shattered into what was millions of pieces.
TS: Oh let's see. Were they demanding children did they make you always read to them at night?
JH: Oh yeah we had to read but I can't remember any stories ( ) but yes they were demanding Jennifer in particular I had a D and C and uh came home Bill had come gone into the hospital with me and then he had a meeting and so he left me at home kids came home from school and it was Halloween and I was laying down and they wanted their costumes right then [laugh] and so I had to get up out of my sick bed and um get them their costumes and then Phil had built them a tree house and they put Duke up in the tree house and couldn't get him down so I had to climb up into the tree house and carry the dog down this was the day of my D and C. And so um let's see I'm trying to just think of some things um Jennifer um we went to a park once and we told her not to take her hand along the railing but she was just taking her hand and just you know running just doing and she probably got 500 um splinters in her hand. We had to take her to the hospital. [Laugh] Other than that I can't think of too much.
TS: Well tell me about the convertible hearse.
JH: Oh shoot. [Laugh] What aspect would you like to know about the convertible hearse?
TS: Your take on the convertible hearse.
JH: It was horrendous. It was the worst thing in the world now I know Phil probably said it was a wonderful experience but did he tell you about us going down Providence Road he didn't tell that part of it? OK well we had the hearse it did not have a top on it and we were driving it from one end of Charlotte to the other to somebody who made convertible tops. The car was primed gray it had no seats in it and so Phil is sitting on a on a milk carton driving this car now that's the only thing that's in the car [laugh] is this milk carton and we don't have a license on this car so he's I'm driving a little I'm driving my Mercedes I believe and so he's saying come on get close up behind me so that no one would could tell um that he didn't have a license. So we're going down Providence Road through Meyer's Park which is rather ritzy and here he's driving this, this yellow [laugh] no it wasn't yellow then this gray hearse and um.
TS: Without a top.
JH: Without a top and I'm following close behind. And the windshield wipers started going they just started going it was a beautiful clear day. And so Phil pulls into one of those fancy churches on Providence Road and he says I've got to get these windshield wipers to stop because it's going to scratch that glass and it was an old Cadillac and so it had that sort of rounded and he said that will cost a fortune to get that replaced I've got to get those stopped and so here we are pulled and he's got the hood up and he's doing all this stuff and he can't get them [laugh] to stop. So what he does is he pulls the windshield wipers out so they're not going against [laugh] the windshield but they're still [laugh] going back and forth. OK that's one thing [laugh] about that car. The other thing was that we had it at a corner and it started pouring down rain and we had the top on it then we were trying to sell it and I had to run down and have a friend drive me 10 blocks away to take this car home and I drove it back to Dilworth in the pouring down rain. I hate that car.
TS: Why were you trying to sell it?
JH: I don't know. [Laugh]
TS: Probably because of the red velour seats. [Laugh]
JH: The red velour seats and the uh gray carpeting and it was just a pain in the ass.
TS: Well now Phil said they used to go hooker hunting in it.
JH: Yes, yes.
TS: What was that about?
JH: Yes well. He would get the kids in the neighborhood he had the Dixie horn on it. [Laugh] He would get the kids in the neighborhood because you could fit 15 people in there we would go downtown and of course.
TS: The back where the hearse \\ part was? \\
JH: \\ Part was \\ right because see.
TS: Uh-huh.
JH: And then we had the front seats and the second seats and the back was completely open.
TS: Uh-huh.
JH: And uh so yeah we would do that and uh Phil would go under the viaducts and do the Dixie horn. But you know back then in Charlotte downtown was all hookers and so they would just go down the street and go, "There are hookers there are hookers," and do the Dixie horn. Did they tell you anything else about the-. [Laugh]
TS: That's pretty much it. There any more to know?
JH: Um no I can't think of anything else with that except when he took the top off he just took a cutting torch like and took the top off.
TS: So he took the top off.
JH: Oh yeah he did everything and we had the top in the backyard and I said if you don't get rid of that top I don't know I kept saying that in another week in another month I'm going to call somebody and have them just haul it away so uh It was just a pain. And when we bought the thing this is something else when we bought the thing it was black and was a hearse and we pulled in front of the house and we had several neighbors who thought someone had died.
TS: Now why did he buy the hearse to begin with?
JH: Just because it's Phil that's the only thing I can say.
TS: Well that would also explain Jen also mentioned the canoe in the tree.
JH: Oh yeah [laugh] Phil is quite inventive um [laugh] we didn't really have a place for the canoe and so plus it was heavy and at that time we had a Volkswagen bus so it was very hard to lift [laugh] that canoe and put it on top of the Volkswagen bus. So he got the idea that he'd just hoist it up and put it in the tree and when we wanted to use it we'd bring [laugh] the, the bus underneath it and lower it down and it would be on top. Phil's an interesting person. [Laugh]