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Interview with Mae W. Ipock

Ipock, Mae W.
McMinn, Brianna
Date of Interview: 
overcoming obstacles; relationships with people and places; stories and storytellers; childhood adventures; then and now
Mae Ipock recalls memories of her childhood.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Brianna McMinn interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
BM (Brianna McMinn): This is Mae Ipock. These are stories about your past. What stories were you told in the family when you were growing up? [Break] [Laugh] What stories were told as a kid, about your family and stuff like that?
MI (Mae W. Ipock): Well, stories about my grandmother and my grandfather I guess.
BM: Like what?
MI: I don't know, I don't remember.
BM: I'm sorry [laugh].
MI: Yeah.
BM: Well, what are some of the stories that you tell now, about your family?
MI: Well, when I was real little we lived out in the country on a farm and there's not a whole lot I remember about that, but then we moved to, to, in, to New Bern in the city and my father was the jailer there and we lived in the jail downstairs. The jail was upstairs and we had the downstairs and that's where we lived.
BM: And what was it like down there?
MI: Well, it was real nice.
BM: Any funny stories growing up?
MI: Yes, sometimes the prisoners would get real raunchy and have fights and we, my [laugh] daddy would have to go in and beat them over the head, make 'em to shut up [laugh].
BM: [Laugh] He'd beat them over the head?
MI: He would have to take a strap to them sometimes to make them shut up.
BM: And what years were these?
MI: When I was six and seven and eight, along in there.
BM: So like 1920s, early 1920s?
MI: Yeah.
BM: Um, what other kind of stories do you remember? Do you remember any that your family told you? That your mom or dad told? And your brothers and sisters since you had so many older ones?
MI: They didn't ever tell me anything. I just remember things that happened as I was growing up.
BM: Well what other stories do you remember?
MI: You want me to tell you about the time I was kidnapped?
BM: Sure.
MI: It was while we were living at the jail. And a man came along. He had a car just like my daddy's. And we, my sister and I, ran and jumped up on the running board. There was a running board on the car then and I just jumped right on in and she stood on the running board and he took off with me. And we drove across the bridge, which was a mile long bridge, and I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and he finally turned around and took me back home.
BM: And your family didn't do anything about it?
MI: No.
BM: Why not?
MI: He was drinking.
BM: Oh.
MI: And he took me home and didn't bother me while we were going because he was busy driving and I was crying. So he took me back home.
BM: [Laugh].
MI: But it scared me, I mean-.
BM: What was-?
MI: They knew who he was.
BM: And they didn't do anything about it?
MI: Huh-uh.
BM: They didn't? What was your school like?
MI: Well [clears throat] I, I started [clears throat] to school out in the country, was in the first grade, and about Christmastime or afterwards, I was promoted to the second grade and at the end of the year I was promoted to the third grade. So I skipped, made, two grades in a year. And then when we went to New Bern, I was in the third grade. Uh, my teacher's name was Miss Fanny.
BM: [Laugh] And you were how many kids? How many were there?
MI: Uh, well, at that time Barbara and Billy hadn't been born, so there was six of us.
BM: So there were nine, eight total or nine total?
MI: Nine in all.
BM: Um, What was it like with that big family, growing up?
MI: It was horrendous [laugh].
BM: [Laugh].
MI: No, it was real nice, because we had a good relationship and there was no problems and, um, of course, by the time I came along there were four older than me and by the time I was six or seven, eight years old, the others, two of-, two or three of them were grown. And my brother worked at the, a shoe shop and my sister worked at a dress shop and, ah, helped support all of us.
BM: [Laugh] What stories do you remember when you were growing up reading?
MI: [Pause] Um [pause], Jane Eyre and Black Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and-.
BM: Which was your favorite? Do you have a favorite?
MI: No.
BM: Now, you just liked reading?
MI: I've always liked to read.
BM: Really?
MI: That's the reason I'm so smart [laugh].
BM: [Laugh] Any other funny stories about growing up?
MI: We used to go on picnics with my aunt. She lived in, in New Bern, too, and she had five children, four or five. And at Easter time and different times like that we'd go on picnics with them and, and go out to the river and have a picnic out there. And, um, Mama, an, my mama and dad used to like to go crabbing and they would, they would go out and catch crabs and we'd swim all, in the same water where the crabs were [laugh].
BM: How did they catch crabs?
MI: They'd put a line over with bait and pull them up catch them in a net.
BM: Oh.
MI: We'd come home with a tub full.
BM: [Laugh] Did you eat them?
MI: Yeah.
BM: Was it good?
MI: Yeah, it was then. [Laughter] I wouldn't eat them now. But, Mama didn't eat them, she didn't like crabs. That was the only seafood that she really didn't eat and she liked, liked all kinds of seafood. But, um, then in the summertime we lived not too far from Morehead City, which was at the beach.
BM: Uh-huh.
MI: And we'd go down there and go swimming. One time we were there and um, my sister and my brother were playing in the water and big wave came and he dropped her and the wave kept rolling her and rolling her and she rolled right up to Mama's feet.
BM: [Laugh].
MI: Right at the bottom [laugh], right at, it's a wonder it didn't drown her or something.
BM: OK. I think that's enough.