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Interview with John Klisz

Klisz, John
Lorenz, Phillip
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with People and Places
John Kilsz talks about a family trip in Europe and about deer hunting.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Phillip Lorenz interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
PL (Phillip Lorenz): Here is interviewee number one, John Klisz.
JK (John Klisz): Hi, my name is John Klisz, born in San Leandro, California to a mother born and raised in "cotton country" Mississippi, and a father born and raised in New York City. So I come from a blend of dialects and accents, and, uh, generally, I can flip right between one and the other, but being from California, you know, I just kind of, am right in the middle, I suppose. But, uh, I'll tell some stories, I guess, from my childhood just to fill some of this tape. Uh, it's tough to really think of things sometimes, especially, you know, when \\you're right on the spot. \\
PL: \\Right on the spot. \\
JK: Right on the spot, I had like three that I was going to say. Um, all right, here's a good one. When I was about 16, my parents were nice enough to take the family to Europe for a month and a half vacation during the summertime, and we've got relatives in England and Italy, so we were able to stay on the cheap over there and then dollar was strong so we lived like kings and queens and it was a real beautiful time of our lives. When we were in Italy we met up with a family from America that shared a common background, so we kind of traveled for a few days and ended up in Venice with them. There was a grandmother who seemed to be in her 80s and her two grandsons, both of which were under ten, so she had her hands full [cough] and it was sort of left with my brother and myself, who is about my age, to baby-sit them for a few days while she, uh, did sightseeing and stuff with my parents. Well, we were in St. Mark's Square [cough] and with all the pigeons flying around and everybody seeing them and taking pictures that sort of thing. We developed a little game [cough] we were throwing peanuts and nuts and that sort of thing and popcorn onto people's heads so that the pigeons would land on people's heads, because we were having a conversation about the grandmother who we, uh, suspected of wearing a wig [laugh]. Well as we found out there were a lot of people in St. Mark's Square that day wearing wigs and toupees and so forth, because the pigeons would land on their heads eat the nuts and fly off with their hair in their claws.
PL: That's good [laugh].
JK: And sure enough the grandmother comes out of the museum, or something, or out of the café and sees us doing this stuff, starts screaming at us running across creating a whole, you know, uh, commotion about that, and screaming at us in English which you know makes everybody look around 'cause they're all Italian. And I don't how, and we don't know who did it but peanuts ended up on her head [laugh] and sure enough pigeons flew down, landed on her head and took her hair away with it. [Laugh] And it ended up, it ended up being two-, 3,000 people turning and looking at her and just laughing at her.
PL: ( )
JK: That was probably the end of their good time in Italy and, uh, of course, it was the beginning of our good time in Italy [laugh]. That was the funniest thing I'd ever seen in my life. Needless to say that they took a train the next morning they got out of town. That was the last we saw of them. [Cough] No postcards, no phone calls back, and when we got back to the country-.
PL: Oh really.
JK: There was nothing like that.
PL: Have y'all talked to her since?
JK: Never talked to her since but, ah, she was a real nice lady. Uh, but embarrassment will do that to you.
PL: Yeah [laugh] I guess so.
JK: That was, that's my funny one [laugh].
PL: [Laugh] That's pretty good.
JK: Uh, that was kind of crazy. Uh, it's, it's funny 'cause I've got a bunch of crazy stories and now on the spot I can't think of any of them.
PL: Uh-huh.
JK: Uh, you've probably heard some of them-.
PL: ( )
JK: That are not necessarily acceptable for this.
PL: [Laugh] Right.
JK: But, um, I will tell a strange story from, uh, just a couple years ago. Uh, I was out, uh, hunting with a friend of mine and that's when I decided that hunting wasn't for me. We were out with his father, he was my best friend, and we were out with his father hunting deer in Scott County, Virginia, and, uh, I had done some growing up hunting but never really liked it, and, uh, I kind of went into this with a negative attitude. But sure enough, about seven-thirty in the morning we see out first and it was my turn, uh, I was starting the day off as their guest, as that was going be my kill, and about a hundred-fifty yards away, and I'm a good rifle shot, so I wasn't too bad, but I shot the thing in the rump and it takes off running, which is the worst thing that you can possibly do.
PL: Right.
JK: If you're gonna shoot a deer you need to put it down we end up chasing the thing all day long tracking it and the blood and broken branches, you know, all that kind of good stuff, and, you know, looking for it in creeks, 'cause that's the first place they go is for water. Well we finally find it about five-thirty that afternoon and I had been crying my eyes out all day, even though I was 25 years old, and I mean I thought it was the worst thing. We finally run into it and have to put it down with at pistol and the last thing that deer did was dead, look me dead in the eyes and then it closed it's eyes and that's the last time I ever went hunting. Uh, but, so there's two stories, uh.
PL: Did y'all eat, eat the deer or-?
JK: We didn't, we were on private land so we had to turn it in to, uh, the people whose land it was and they, they would do what they wanted to do with it.