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Monologue by Chantal Luhr

Luhr, Chantal
Ellison, Shelley
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now; Cultural Identification; Stories and Storytellers
Chantal Luhr talks about her grandparents` lives during WWII. She also tells a story about her grandmother, who lives in France; her grandmother came to visit Chantal and her family after September 11, 2002 and, due to a heart condition, had to be hospitalized while she was in the US
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Shelley Ellison interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
CL (Chantal Luhr): OK, um, just to give you a little bit background on my heritage my mother is French and Italian, and my father is American and German, but I am a born native of Charlotte, NC , if you can't tell by the accent. [Laugh] Um, I have traveled back and forth to France. Uh, the story that comes to mind the most for me, um, I guess in my life, is the story of my grandmother who's now presently 85 years old, and actually, had flew down here the Friday after the tragedy, so it was, um, I think it was the fourteenth of September she flew by herself from France to here to visit us, and is still here until December 24th. Um, her story actually is what impacted me the most in my life, um, when I think of the things she went through growing up, and, um, how my mother was conceived and everything on that nature, which it gets a little personal, but it's, you don't think of your grandmother telling you that, but she did. Um, my grandmother and my grandfather was in the error of the war, and so they were constantly moving. My grandfather was Italian, full-blooded Italian, and he was, um, a prisoner of war for a while. Um, he did escape and get out, and so him and my grandmother were like, he would travel, get missing, and come back, you know, but he would always be back with my grandmother and everything. And there was one particular incident where they were, um, there were bombs going off, because again, this was like in the war with the Germans and so forth. Um, and they thought, they literally thought they were going to die because they were on a train, and the train, part of the train that they were on wasn't hooked to the caboose. So when the train pulled off to get from away from all of the stuff that was going on, they were left behind. So they thought they were going die, so they decided, I guess [laugh], what better way to die than, um, to make love on the train, and that's how my mother actually was conceived, was on a train, and my grandmother had told me about that, you know, the different things they went through with that. Um, OK, um back to me. When I grew up my mother taught us French. It was me and my sister, and she taught us French before she thought us English. Um, and I remember as a child mixing the two languages, like I might say a sentence in French and throw in two words in English, um, because we learn French in the household, and then English in school. And all my life she constantly brought us back and forth from, um, France to, um, America, um, to visit my family there. So I still am fluent in French and I am very thankful for that, um, because recently, when my grandmother came to visit, she has never had heart trouble, and, um, never had anything go wrong with her heart or anything, and one day, while she was here, which was, here recently her heart rate dropped real low, so we had to, um, rush her to the emergency room, and this was something very scary for her because she doesn't speak any English. She speaks like one or two words of English, um, not to mention, she doesn't like to, going to the doctor, so it was like we had to hit her over the head to bring her there. But, um, we finally got her to the hospital and they, um, ended up doing surgery on her that the next day, and placing a, putting a pace maker, um, so for her, you know, to be here, you know, and get treatment under, under those circumstances was kind of scary, but she's doing better. OK, now she's supposed to still be going back December 24th. Um, and when they say it rains, it pours because my mom, um, recently moved back in with me, but I don't know how long that will be, but, um, she did and she had been up one night from, she had gotten up one morning at like five o'clock in the morning. By the time I had got home from work, and so forth, it was like 11 o'clock at night and she was extremely tired, but my mom is one of these people who constantly has to go and do something, she can't sit still, it drives her crazy. So she thinks she's going to make, you know, she moved all her stuff back in my house, and she thinks she's going to clean it up all in one day, so my house is like a tornado hit it by this time, but, you know, I'm fine. I haven't said anything about it because, you know, I know it's going take a few days, but she wants to do it all in one day, so she's still up at like 11:30 at night, going back and forth between the attic, which, you know, in the, in, the attic is in the top of my house. You have to climb a ladder, a pull-down ladder, to get, to it, and I was telling her, you know, she'd needed to be careful, she needed to go to bed because she was tired, and, furthermore there is like a hairline crack in my ceiling in my bedroom, um, where apparently she had stepped wrong or stepped on the wrong place or something before, and it created a hairline crack, and I was telling, and I stressed to her, you know, "Be careful," you know, "Don't step in this area." There's a hairline crack in my ceiling. So I'm sleeping, midnight, you know, it's past midnight, and all of a sudden, I hear this big loud noise [laugh], and I look up and she's hanging through my ceiling. [Laugh] And here's her feet dangling, and, of course, it startles me, but I'm a very quick reactor, so I jump out of bed, and I was pushing her feet up so she wouldn't fall all the way through my ceiling, um, but, mind you this is after I told her to specifically not to walk in this area, but I tell you if, you know, anything about my mom, it's like I can talk to the wall better than I can talk to her and tell her something. But, so then, if that wasn't bad enough, um, we were in the hospital and my instincts told me not to let her drive my car, but I'm thinking, you know, if my friends can drive my car from time to time, then why can't I let my mom drive my car from time to time? Dumb question because I know my mom and I know how she drives and she's doesn't, she's not careful but I'm thinking the hospital is 10 minutes from my house. OK, so I'm thinking 10 minutes from my house, what can happen? Well she's gone, and no sooner than she comes back, what do she tell me? "Oh I hit something." She hit something. So not only has she torn a hole in my ceiling, which still isn't fixed, by the way, but now my car is all dented up. [Laugh] So I'm just like, "Lord, by the grace of God, just let me get through this." But, um, you know, she felt real bad about it but this was after I specifically told her. I'm like, "Mommy, you know you're real emotional right know," I'm saying, you know, you know, "Upset, and be extremely careful, what you're doing, you know, when you drive my car home," and she said, "OK, OK." And then she comes back and she was like, "Don't ever let me drive your car again," and I was like, "You do not have to worry." [Laughter]