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Monologue with Jaye L. Hess

Jaye L. Hess
Harper, Shelley
Date of Interview: 
childhood adventures; relationships with people and places; then and now
Jaye Hess talks about growing up in Faith, NC and his pre- and post graduate work.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Shelley Harper interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JH (Jaye Hess): I grew up in a town called Faith. It's a small town, right outside of Salisbury. The population's small, probably only a few hundred. I'd say 300, maybe. Um, everybody says that everybody knows each other. Every Fourth of July, we always have a big Fourth of July celebration. There's a parade, rides, all that. [Clears throat] They say during the course of the week, the rides will start the week before the Fourth of July. And they say, generally, through the entire week, there'll be 100,000 people to come in to Faith and go to the parade, and the rides and all that. Um, probably the biggest thing with the Fourth of July that a lot of people remember is President Bush visited a few years ago. That would be the, Bush, George, the first one, the father, not the son. He visited, I believe, in '90 maybe? I'm not sure. And um, there's a small restaurant in Faith. Everybody calls it the Faith Soda Shop. It's, it's been there forever. A lot of people, most people, eat lunch there. It used to only be open breakfast and lunch. And it was a big breakfast crowd, big lunch crowd. Mainly, I would say, blue-collar workers frequented the restaurant, mainly. Um, you go in there at noon, you're going to see mostly people that do manual labor. Um, that's for whatever reason I don't know, that's just the way it is. Probably because it's convenient and it's not real formal. So, you can go in there if you're dirty, and all that. It doesn't matter. Uh, in Faith, of course that's where, my family, that's where I was raised, I have two brothers and a sister. All of them are older than me. Uh, we grew up it was a three bed, one bath house. I slept, as far as I remember up until my sister got married, she got married at age 18 and then of course moved away, not far, just, she still lived close by, 10 to 15 minutes but, she moved, of course, with her [cough] husband. And, up until then, she is 10 years older than me, so up until age eight, I always slept with my sister [laugh] in the same bed. My two brothers, they slept in the other room. And, of course, my parents slept in the other room. Um, with one bath, as you can imagine, the getting-ready-in-the-mornings was kind of hectic. But, from, you know, from four to five to age eight, you really don't think too much about spending a lot of time in the bathroom to get ready. So that really wasn't that much of a problem. Once I got a little older, then my uh, it was just, you know, me and my other two brothers, then getting ready in the morning was a little more complicated. But, I really didn't think about it too much 'cause it's all I really knew. We've always only had one bathroom in the house, so it's all I really knew, didn't think too much about it. Um, I lived in Faith until I went to, uh, college. I went to college in '93, after I graduated high school. Uh, my high school, it was about 1,100 to 1,200 students. Um, nothing, nothing's too special about high school. The biggest memories I have were probably my childhood um, and then college. And, once I went to college in '93, I went to UNC Charlotte for the first semester. And, I wasn't really ready for college. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. So, I went for the first semester, the fall semester. Then, I did not go back the spring semester. I decided, well I'm just going to work, decide what I wanted to do. So, my uncle here in Faith ran a rock quarry, he managed a rock quarry. So, I said, "Well, I could probably get on with him pretty easy." So, I just talked to him and like a week later, I was working in the rock quarry. And, it only took me about two days to realize college was probably going to be a little better for me than working in a rock quarry. So, I, I worked in the rock quarry a few months and then decided I'm just going to go ahead and, uh, I'm going to go back to school but in the meantime I'm probably going to find a job that's a little bit easier where I don't have to wear steel-toe boots and a hard hat and run a jackhammer all day, not really what I wanted to do at 19. So, I worked several odd jobs until I went back to school in the fall of '94, went back to Charlotte and that, you know, I woke up a lot during the spring, realized that I didn't want to do, I didn't want to be in a dead-end job. So, I was really, I was real motivated, I concentrated a lot on schoolwork, starting in the fall of '94 and the next couple years. Um, then I decided that I thought I would like to go to UNC Chapel Hill better. So, I transferred and I started at Chapel Hill in the fall of '96 and, which worked out good because my best friend from high school and is still is my best friend, he went to Chapel Hill, so that was good. I was closer to him and that was, that worked out good. But, I liked Chapel Hill a lot better. It's more of a college town, has a lot of tradition. So I really, I liked that. And, college went well. And, I graduated in spring of, which would be May of '98. After that, I wasn't real sure what I wanted to do so I went back to a manual labor job. My friend, another friend from high school, he framed houses and he just was going on his own, was going to start his own little business, his own, he was going to frame instead of work for somebody. He didn't have anybody so I went with him. It was just the two of us for a couple months framing houses. I didn't know anything about it and he taught me. And, it was, it was good cause, it was, I was through high school, with all the college, and I was tired of taking classes and all that studying. So, it was good to not to have to really use my mind that much 'cause I used my hands more, my body. And, it was OK. I mean, I worked with, you know a friend, a guy I liked so it wasn't really like I had a boss. [Clears throat] And uh, so I framed houses for a while, a few, you know, for almost a year. And, you know, framing houses, I mean, it's a manual labor job, so it's tough, in the summer it's hot, and in the winter it's very cold. And, I thought it'd be better to be a contractor because when we were framing houses the contractors would come around in their trucks, which had air condition in the summer and heat in the winter. So, I thought well, that would be a little better job for me. So, I decided to go and build a house instead of be a, I decided to be the general contractor instead of just framing. And, my brother already had his contractor's license, so I could use his license to go ahead and build. So, that's what I did. I built, I built a house and, with what I'd learned from framing. And, I'd learned with framing, you learn a lot about building, pretty much every aspect of building. So, you don't have to know how to be an electrician, but you know somewhat about wiring. You don't have to be a plumber, but you know where the pipes go, where the sinks are going to go and all that. And, same way with every other aspect of building a house. So, by framing I learned a lot. And so, I built a house and that, that went OK, but being young, I didn't have much stability financially because you don't have any cash flow in the business till you sell the house. And, so while you're waiting to sell the house, you don't have income. So, after I sold the house, I was unemployed from the time I started the house until the time I finished the house was about a year, from the time I started it until the time I ended up selling it. So, after that, I was not sure what I wanted to do after that. But, I wanted I knew something more stable. So then, through some contacts, I, actually my girlfriend worked for Salisbury Post and a recruiter that placed ads with the Salisbury Post she knew. So she said, "Why don't I give him your resume?" So, I said, "OK." So, she gave him my resume and it just worked out real good cause actually that day that she gave him my resume was the day that a finance company called and was looking for someone like me, young, and you know, college degree and all that. So, I interview, went, you know, met with the finance company, um, the branch manager, interviewed with him and that went well. Then, a couple days later, interviewed with the district manager. That went well. And, then two weeks later I was starting, so, in the finance business, so we do, you know, loans, real estate loans, mortgages, that type stuff. And um, so I've been doing that now for about a year. And, that's going well. And, I think I probably want to stay in the finance business for a while. Um, I don't think no job has no negative aspects. So, I look back at what jobs I have done in the past, from building houses to working in a rock quarry. This is not a bad job 'cause I have a paycheck every week, the benefits, all that that go with it, working for a good company. So, it's working out well. And like I said, every, every, no job has no negative aspects but overall it's pretty good. So, I don't know anybody that's never, that's loved their job every day. I, of course, would like to love my job every single day, um, but I haven't found that job yet and am not sure if that exists because if I could get paid to do whatever I wanted to do on a daily basis, that would be the perfect job. But, even probably, I would get bored with that after awhile. So, nothing's going to be perfect. So, and that's, that's where I am. So, I started in a small town in Faith and I grew up pretty normal, went to high school, and then college, had several different jobs and then, finally ended up with a job that has good stability, has got a good future and I'm happy with it. And so, that's where I am right now and so, we'll see what happens.