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Interview with Tabatha Lloyd

Lloyd, Tabatha
Schley, Jessica
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now; Childhood Adventures; Stories and Storytellers
Tabitha Lloyd gives an historical account of Robinsville, TN, and talks about living in that small town and in Lincolnton, NC. She appreciates the time that she spends with her family and friends and hopes to travel to different places in the future.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jessica Schley interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JS (Jessica Schley): OK, this is my third interview with my friend Tabatha Lloyd who also lives in Lincolnton, NC, where I live. Have you lived here all your life Tabatha?
TL (Tabatha Lloyd): Yes, [pause] all but six months and we moved to Robinsville.
JS: And where is Robinsville?
TL: Um, it's at the tip of North Carolina and Tennessee, it's in North Carolina but it touches Tennessee.
JS: And that's where you have family I think, your mom's family lives there. Can you tell us a little bit about it? [Laughs]
TL: Um, yeah, both my mother and my father's family [cough] all live there, and um, my mother and my father moved here with Duke Power, um, in about '73. I guess they moved to South Carolina first and then my dad was transferred here, and the, so the rest of our family lives there, um, and we're the only people who live here, and it's just a total redneck town. [Laughs]
JS: What Lincolnton or Robinsville?
TL: Robinsville, um, [pause] what, why is it redneck? I guess, well, the whole town consists of nothing but white people and Indians. Um, the only chain that is in the whole town is an Ingle's grocery store, we used to have Hardee's, but they took it out. We do have Papa's Pizza now [cough], and the rest of it is just all family-owned businesses. There, [pause] there's probably, I don't know, the whole town consists of one block basically. It's just a big circle, uh, and, there's nothing to do there. If you want to go shopping you have to go about thirty miles, other than grocery store, um, you have to, everybody goes to Asheville to shop, because there's no, there's no stores to shop there except for just like family-owned, little clothing stores and stuff, stuff nobody wants.
JS: Isn't that where they filmed the movie Nell, and weren't your grandparents a part of that film?
TL: No, they, they did film the movie Nell there but, um, they, the pool hall was my uncle's pool hall that it was filmed in, but no my grandparents had nothing to do with it. Um, my uncle did rent out his pool hall, and in the grocery store scene, my aunt and my cousin are in the grocery store scene, and I guess that's all the family members I have in there. They've totally, all the tourists have destroyed the house, the little cabin in the woods where Nell was filmed. Um, they've just went up there and took planks of wood and stuff off of it and totally destroyed the whole place.
JS: Do you like living in Lincolnton, and the people here as opposed to the people in Robinsville, do you think they're nicer, um, I mean friendlier, and just in general do you like living in this area? [Cough]
TL: Uh, I wouldn't live anywhere but Lincolnton, I don't think. But as far as the people goes, people in Robinsville are much friendlier. Th, like I say, there's no, you can't go shopping or anything so there's a lot of family time spent, you know, you, there's a lot a, [coughs] a lot of visiting, and people take time for each other up there, there's not the hustle and bustle that's down here, so, life's a lot slower pace there.
JS: What about Lincolnton?
TL: Life's definitely fast paced here because everybody's always busy, an nobody visits anybody, we just don't have any of the old, the old school tactics I guess that uh, they practice in Robinsville. Nobody has time for people around here.
JS: Wow, and this is considered a small town to lots of people who might live in larger areas like even Gast--.
TL: Charlotte.
JS: Yeah Charlotte, uh, did you like going to Lincolnton High School? [Laughs]
TL: Um, no, it pretty well, no, Lincolnton High School pretty well sucked. [Laughs] Um, I think I made it there like seventy-five days out of my senior year, and I still managed to graduate with my class with a B plus average. [Laughs]
JS: This is something we're all proud of Tabatha. [Laughs]
TL: Hey I'm proud that I got out a there.
JS: Um, OK, well, so, do you think you'll ever want to travel, or, and if you do, where do you want to travel to?
TL: I would like to go to Scotland I know, Scotland and Ireland, um, just because I think, the, I think the land's beautiful, I like the accent, and I just think it would be a neat place to go. I'm not really, Paris, Europe, doesn't really drill me, um, I'd like to go to Scotland and Ireland, and of course the Bahamas, or Hawaii, everybody wants to go there, but, that's um, I guess Scotland would just be the place I'd most like to go.
JS: OK, um, your mom also lives here in Lincolntonand I've never known a, a family, and I'm talking about you, your sister, and your mom, and your brother, who is more close in such a functional yet dysfunctional way. [Laughs]
TL: [Laughs]
JS: Tell me a little bit about your mom and the things that you appreciate in her, or things that you remember about her best when you were younger.
TL: Um, we are really close and I guess that's because my mom was a single mother who raised us. She had to work two and three jobs our whole life to take care of us. So growing up she wasn't really around much, um, but she's always been our best friend. Um, my sister's just always kind of, she's the middle child, and she's always just kind of took care of me and my brother. [Cough] And, um, I'm the baby, so, Momma just always left everything up to Tonya to take care of us, and that's why I guess we're so close, because we all had to depend on each other, and we didn't depend on anybody else to take care of us. We, we all leaned on each other and we all took care of each other. We're, we're all best friends, and it's kind of hard for other people to fit in, you know, it's the four of us and then everybody else I guess.
JS: OK, and what about your dad, do you, I know you're not as close with your dad as your mom even though you do love him, um, do you remember your mom and dad being together when you were a child, and, you know, holidays or anything like that, that you remember them being together? I don't, I don't remember how young you were whenever they got divorced.
TL: Um, I remember Christmas, some Christmases with my dad, um, because, I remember one Christmas we got every, we always got everything on Christmas Eve because my mom couldn't wait. Um, and I remember the day that um, I was five years old and I was getting ready to go to kindergarten when my mom told me that my dad wasn't coming home, and um, it was the summer before I went in kindergarten. And I was sitting in my dad's chair waiting on him to come home and, uh, my uh, Momma told me Daddy wasn't coming home, but uh, that's really the only two things I remember about my daddy being young, uh, I remember one other night, with uh, when he took my brother and sister to a, um, a race car, um, a race or something, but I stayed at home with my mom, and that's really the only three times that I remember my dad, before they split up. And as for my dad, you know he's a great guy, I love him, but he's set in his ways, and he's always right, he's never wrong, and you know I'm too much like my mom so we're not the best of friends, but that's my dad.
JS: OK, Tabatha, um, we spent a lot of time together when we were younger, um, a lot of good times, a lot of fun times. What are the, now that we're both two old married women, what are some of the things that you remember and miss about our younger days, especially our years in high school when we had to kind of rely on each other as nonconformists to the groups in Lincolnton High School.
TL: Um, I guess I miss going to church together because you know we were always in the same youth group. And of course I miss Galen Radebaugh, but [laughs], um, I definitely do not miss the short period of time that I had to live with you. [Laughs]
JS: Oh God. [Laughs]
TL: Because that was immortal hell. [Laughs] Uh, um, I miss making fun of Alynne I guess.
JS: I hope Alynne never goes to the Charlotte Narrative Collection and pulls this interview up.
TL: [Laughs] Alynne we love you if you do, um--.
JS: Tell us about Alynne. [Laughs]
TL: Alynne was crazy, and speaking of my dysfunctional family, my, my brother was in love with Alynne and my brother's girlfriend wanted to kill Alynne, and Alynne was crazy and probably on Prozac, and, Alynne tries to kill herself you know, as we hear, she, she's constantly trying to kill herself, and, she contributes all her problems to the fact that my brother, I don't know, [laughs] that she wasn't with my brother I guess. But Alynne thought she had beautiful feet and she thought that she was holier than thou, and, [laughs] she, she was just a spoiled brat. Um--.
JS: [Cough] Golly. Besides Alynne, can you remember any fun things that we did together?
TL: Fun thing--..
JS: What were the funnest memories? I know, I know I remember staying at your house, spending the night, ordering pizza whenever we didn't have any money to do so, and having to steal money from your brother, or just--..
TL: Count out change. [Laughs]
JS: Count out pennies, [laughs], and, going swimming at the hotel where your mom use to work at night when nobody was there and we weren't really allowed to be there, that was fun. Um, [pause] so, what are your fondest memories. [Coughs]
TL: I have no idea.
JS: Oh that's nice. [Laughs]
TL: Um, I guess, I don't know, just hanging out, um, we use to hang out with like Steven Waites. I guess we had a lot of fun with Brad. We use to just hang out and have a good time all the time, we stayed with each other all the time, and, um--.
JS: \\ You taught me how to smoke. \\
TL: \\ Yeah I taught you how to smoke. I'm sorry. [Laughs] \\
JS: \\ Cigarettes \\, which we have both quit smoking, thank, praise the Lord.
TL: [Laughs] Um, I guess the funnest times we ever had I would have to say was right after me and Doug got married, but, I'm not going to talk about that so [laughs] um, I don't know. Th, that was the really memorable times, um, seeing who could stand outside the longest on the deck in the snow--.
JS: Oh I remember that, that was fun. It was never about partying, I mean we did party, especially after you and Doug got married, but it was never about that. I think when we had our funnest times, I mean those times were fun, but we also when, when we were involved in youth and stuff like that we had fun then too, so we didn't--.
TL: Did you go to the beach with us?
JS: Fort Caswell, yeah--.
TL: Oh.
JS: Like a lot of my other friends in high school all we did, was like party together and that's the only memories I have of them, when I ever want to remember something about them it's always, "OK, well, we did, we drank that night and did this that night." But, with you and you, and just, and maybe one or two of my other friends from high school really, we really had a friendship that didn't involve stuff like that all the time. We had good times without having to do that crazy stuff. So, I think that's good because a lot of people can't say that. But I digress, I'm sorry, anyway [laughs]. Um, I've been asked, I asked Dad and Linda the same question because it's such a cheesy question, but I'm going to go ahead and ask you, since we're coming upon the year two thousand, what was your favorite movie of all time and why?
TL: Um, I guess it would d, d, da, da, da, da, da, probably Dirty Dancing. It would be a close tie between Dirty Dancing and Up Close and Personal. \\
JS: \\ [Laughs] Oh God. \\
TL: \\ But uh. \\
JS: \\ Please. Dirty Dancing. \\
TL: I, I just love Dirty Dancing, and um, it wasn't because I thought Patrick Swayze was beautiful or anything, it was, because I really don't think he's that good looking, I just, the story was sweet, and it was a good story. I always needed that older man to come take me away [laughs]. Doug took me right here, to uh, Lincolnton. [Laughs] Um, and if it was Up Close and Personal it would be totally because of Robert Redford standing at the end of the escalator. [Laughs]
JS: Um, speaking of Doug, you guys have been together for how many years, not, not just including the years you've been married.
TL: We've been married for, for four, and, I guess we've been together eight years.
JS: OK we had to flip the tape over. Um, do you remember the very first time you ever saw or um, met Doug in high school, and can you talk about that a little bit?
TL: The first time I ever met Doug was at church, was at Covenant, and he came to church with a friend of ours Tammy Taylor, and, um, he um, he had, I don't remember if he had a mohawk then or if he was bald-headed, I'm guessing he probably had a mohawk, and had on a green and brown flannel shirt, I would guess, and he weighed a hundred and twenty six pounds and was six four, he looked like he was dying with AIDS, [laughs], he was pathetic looking, I felt so sorry for him, and he was a total freak, he did not talk to anybody, he was just a skater and he was just a total freak. And I decided I was going to be his friend, and I talked to him at church, but he was "Uh, uh," was all he would ever say. And then finally we had a class together when I moved and, because I switched schools in tenth grade and when I moved to Lincolnton, um, well to Lincolnton High School, I had a class with him. And um, he, the way we started talking is he had shaved his head bald, and he was going to let some of the guys draw a picture on his head with black magic marker and I felt sorry for him and I told him that they were not going to draw on his head, and we just started dating. And, the first time he ever called me, I was on the phone and he called, I was talking to my mom, and I switched over and I'm like, "MAMA IT'S Doug," and he said, "Huh," I had forgotten to switch the phone over before I screamed in his ear.
JS: Were you excited that it was Doug or horrified?
TL: I was very excited, um, I liked him a lot though I just think really, I really felt sorry for him, and I just wanted to kind of take care of him, and now he takes care of me. And, um, you were talking earlier about being friends, um, one thing I think through being friends through the years and stuff and uh, not all being about partying, is we have a friendship that we, I think we'll always be friends whether we're always together or not, you know, it's not, a, it's not about you know, seeing each other every day or hanging out all the time, its deeper than that and I think that's because God's at the root of it.
JS: I agree. Um, oh, I wanted to ask you about your, I know you love kids and you've always worked with kids, since you've been out of high school you've wanted to pursue a career with child care development and why do you like kids because I don't see why but, uh, maybe you can explain to us why you like them so much. [Laughs]
TL: I don't know, I've always liked kids, I guess because I've, I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that I was the baby of the family and I've always, you know, I was always just the kid of the whole family, and, um, there was times that you know my dad wasn't around or whatever, and I just, there were times he didn't treat me like he should have I guess, and I just wanted to be good to kids and I just want to show kids love, and even if they have dysfunctional families, or if things aren't the way that they should be, that's, that they have somewhere to go, and somebody who loves them, and, um, you know, its not just kids it's you know, it's teenagers, I have a heart for teenagers and though sometimes that's got me in trouble, I still have a heart for them and I still, you know, someday really want to help teenagers as well as children.
JS: Um, OK, it's very understandable why, seeing it from that perspective why you like kids so much. Um, I'm going to ask you just maybe one or two more questions. Um, OK, one of our favorite things to do is to tell ghost stories and scare the heebie-jeebies out of each other, um, tell me one of your favorite ghost stories. You have a friend Jennifer who lived like way out in the boon docks, and some scary stuff occurred at her trailer, can you tell us a little bit about that.
TL: Yeah, well, [pause] um, I had, OK, Jennifer, I, it been like a couple days about a week or so and I hadn't had time to go up and see her and I spent a whole lot of time with her and her kids, [yawn] this is before I got married, so you know I spent the night with her a lot, and um, we, we were friends and I went to lay down with her little boy one night to put him to bed because he wouldn't go to sleep by his self and I had worked all day so I was really tired and I went and laid down with him and me and him fell asleep. Well, Jennifer came back there and she woke me up, and, um, she said, "Tabatha," and I'm like, "Um-huh," and she's like, "Tabatha get up and spend some time with me you hadn't, you know I hadn't seen you all week, please get up and talk to me for a little while," and I was real sleepy and I'm like, "OK Jennifer." Well I opened my eyes and I like tossed my head over to look at Spencer, when I opened my eyes she was going back down the hall, I tossed my head back over to look at Spencer because he was laying on the other side of the bed, and uh, when I did, Jennifer was in the bed with me and Spencer, she was laying down between me and Spencer or on the other side of Spencer, Spencer was in between us, and I woke her up, I'm like, "Jennifer you got to wake up now," because, and I told her what had happened, and that hadn't been the only time something like that had happened, um, there had been times when, um, we were like we were going to sleep or something, and, um, one night I'd spent the night with her and some stuff had happened that night I forget what all had happened but--. \\
JS: \\ Didn't you stay the night with her a lot because her husband worked at night, or, something? \\
TL: Uh yeah, he worked third shift, and, um, she didn't like staying by herself because you know stuff did happen a lot in that house, but, uh, I spent the night with her one night and Patrick w, was actually home that night and s, some stuff had happened, you know we'd heard some noises and stuff and she'd ask me if I would come sleep in their room, she's like, "I'll make you a pallet at the end of our bed just come in there, you know, um, [cough] um, I'm scared," so I'm like, "OK Jennifer," and she made me a pallet at the end of her bed and we were we were asleep and I was almost asleep and all of the sudden we heard this noise and it sounded like it came from the bed, and Jennifer said, "Tabatha I hope that was you," and I said, "No I was hoping that that was one of y'all," and she said, "No, it came from down there," and I said, "No, it came from up there." Well, she looked at the clock and she's like, "Tabatha, get up get up now and come in the living room," and we went in the living room and sh, and I'm like, "What Jennifer," you know I wanted to go to sleep, and um, she said, "Did you see what time it was?" And I said, "No I didn't see what time it was," and she said, "It was two-fifteen," well at the time that meant nothing to me, but um, she explained to me and later we watched the Amityville Horrors, and then it really started making sense to me, and speaking of Amityville Horrors, my house [laughs] looks just like the house in Amityville Horrors, have you ever looked at it?
JS: Yeah.
TL: Um, but uh, um, and th, then some other weird stuff happened, and I really think the reason that such weird stuff happened there was because I was the only Christian influence in her life, and I think you know, I really believe that her house was possessed [laughs] and I believe that you know they probably wanted to get rid of me, but--.
JS: Tell about her little boy knowing about her grandma.
TL: Um, um, he, one day her little boy who was about three years old um, his grandpa's his grandpa's father was dead, and well, by that time his grandpa's mother and father was dead, but one time he was talking to Jennifer's mom, and it was Jennifer's momma's daddy whose father and mother were dead. OK, so Spencer was talking to his grandmother and he told his grandmother, he said, "I know," he said, "Your grandpa's crying." She said, "My grandpa's crying, my grandpa's, hey, you know, my grandpa's gone." He said, "But he was crying and he was running through the woods and, um, um." Debbie asked Spencer, she's like, "Spencer, you know, what are you talking about?" Spencer had never heard about this, and, um, he said, "He's crying and he's running from somebody," and she said, "Who's he running from?" And um, um, and Spencer said, "I don't know, but he's crying, he's running through the woods, and, she," he said, "and she shot him." And um, Jennifer's grand, uh, Spencer's grandma asked, "Who shot him?" And said, "H, his wife shot him," and her, um, her grandpa had been shot and killed but they had never found out who had shot him, they never knew who had killed him. And then Spencer was three years old he had never heard it, heard them talk about it before, so I mean he just knew, and Spencer would sit, like he would be sitting in the living room a lot of times too and he would just look off into space and he would just get terrified and start screaming, and he would run to you and just cry and would be still be looking at whatever, he was just off in space like something was just scared him to death. And um, there was another one I was just thought about, oh horror stories, oh, Jennifer always told me also about this um, this woman who, she got this call one and she it, it was this little boy and he said, "Um, I'm lost and I can't find my way home, and can you call my mommy?" And, and um the lady said, um, you know, "Yeah I'll call your mommy, do you know your mommy's phone number?" And he um, s, he gave, he gave, um, the lady his, his phone number and he, she said, "Well where are you so I can tell your mommy where to come get you at?" And the little boy gave her the address of where he was and said, "Please call my mommy. I'm lost and I want my mommy to come get me." Well, the lady called the little boy, the number that the little boy had given her and um, the, the lady answered the phone, or, I believe it was her husband actually who answered the phone and um, the, the lady said, "Ma'am, um, your little boy called here tonight," and she said, "Your little boy just called, your little boy said that he was lost and that he couldn't find his way home, and he gave me the address of where he was and he wants y'all to come and get him." And the lady said, "Ma'am," and the lady got really mad and she was really angry and she said, "My little boy's dead and I cannot believe that you would pull this joke on me," and the lady said, "Ma'am your little boy just called here and you know I would not play this joke on you." And she said, "Let me give you the address of where he said he was, because, you know, I would not make this up." And she gave the address, and the lady went, she gave the address, and, um, the lady told her, she said, "That's the house we lived in, where my little boy got killed at," or not had killed but I think he had died in that house or whatever, and, um, so um, the little boy, I guess, was just looking for his way home. Is that enough?
JS: Yeah, thank you Tabatha for those spooky stories. Now I have to drive home by myself. But, um, [pause] just wanted to mention again that that was Tabatha Lewis, Lloyd, sorry I'm use to calling her Tabatha Lewis, from Lincolnton, North Carolina.