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Interview with Florence Mackin

Mackin, Florence
Mackin, Jeff
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures
Florence Mackin talks about her mother-in-law and her kids destroying the house with paint.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jeff Mackin interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JM (Jeff Mackin): OK, this is Grandma, uh, here we go.
FM (Florence Mackin): [Laugh] Well, this is a story, uh, of my mother-in-law. Uh, one night, uh, it was about 11 o'clock and my son Gary and his friends were making a racket outside of the house. And, my mother-in-law got up, came out of her room and she walked into the living room. I didn't think much of it. It was pretty late.
JM: Uh-huh.
FM: For her anyway, she's usually asleep by then.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: So, I went to bed soon afterwards and I gave it not another thought, until I hear a rapping on my door.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: And, it woke me up about, I guess it was around about, well I guess it was still dark outside.
JM: About four o'clock in the morning.
FM: About four in the morning.
FM: And, uh, I opened the door and she is standing there with this worried expression.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: And she said to me. She says, "It's the end of the world."
JM: [Laugh]
FM: "The world has ended." I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "Well the telephone works, the, the TV is all mixed up."
JM: Right.
FM: "The shows are all mixed up and the sun hasn't come up.'
JM: [Laugh]
FM: "It hasn't come up at all." I said, "Grandmamma, what happened?" I said, "You probably woke up last night and thought it was eleven o'clock in the morning."
JM: Uh-huh,
FM: And, she said, "Oh." She, I said, "Well go sit in the kitchen and look out that window. And in about an hour, the sun will come up."
JM: [Laugh]
FM: I guarantee it [laugh]. So, she looks at me and she [laugh] couldn't understand what was going on.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: But, she went and she sat in the kitchen and she looked out the window [laugh].
JM: I bet she said, "Oh my God."
FM: [Laugh] Oh.
JM: What else does she do?
FM: Oh, well she, the night she came into your room Jeff.
JM: Oh, my God that was hilarious.
FM: Well, uh, what, she had a robe on. Uh, she wasn't wearing your robe that night, was she?
JM: Well, no, uh, no.
FM: No, that was // another time. //
JM: // Well, that // was another story, I never told you about // that one. //
FM: // Oh, dear, // well anyway, she came into you and she woke you up.
JM: Uh-huh.
FM: And uh, it was such a sight to see her standing [laugh].
JM: The sword.
FM: The sword, [laugh], that's right the sword.
JM: Remember, she came into the room with a sword.
FM: That's right, and she told you that she had some story about your aunt.
JM: Karen had died.
FM: Had died or I though, think she killed me.
JM: Yeah.
FM: She killed me.
JM: Karen killed you.
FM: Karen killed me.
JM: Duffy was missing.
FM: Oh, the dog.
JM: I think he had been dead for years, anyway.
FM: Oh.
JM: Two years anyway, a lot of bunch of stories rolled into one. [Phone ringing]
FM: [Laugh] And OK.
JM: I'm just going to get the phone.
JM: It's recording now, so you now, uh.
FM: Oh, yeah [laugh].
JM: Let's brainstorm, what kind of stories do we have?
FM: Oh, dear.
JM: In the family, what are some that you remember?
FM: I could tell the story of Karen when she was little.
JM: What did she do?
FM: Oh, I woke up and, uh, all I did was scream when I looked at her.
JM: Oh, my God.
FM: She was a lit, she had gotten into grandfather, had been // painting. //
JM: // Uh [laugh]. //
FM: A portrait of them when // they were little. //
JM: // [Laugh] //
FM: And, she got all this paint, oil paint and she stomped on them and the paint.
JM: Open them up.
FM: And the paint squirted out all over the floor.
JM: Oh, my // God. //
FM: // And, this // she did during the night. And she walked in with them, you know, she had the feet in the pajamas. And, she walked in the paint. And, she gobbled up paint. She painted the furniture. She gave your brother, who was in the crib, your father, rather, who was in the crib.
JM: Oh my god.
FM: Her brother and she gave him gobs of paint. He painted his crib.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: Himself, the windows, now this is not washable paint.
JM: This is oil paint.
FM: This is oil paint.
JM: Oh my God.
JM: Grandpa must have been happy.
FM: Grandpa was very angry.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: And, I'm telling you when I woke up and saw the mess, all our furniture had to be thrown away, I mean.
JM: Oh my God.
FM: I mean there was, you had to redo it all. The rug was completely ruined, because she had squirted the paint [laugh] all over.
JM: Did you wake up in the middle of the night?
FM: No, this was in the morning. // She was covered. //
JM: // ( ) [Laugh] //
FM: Her hair was, she was all different colors. The whole front of her, she had yellow pajamas, back of it was still yellow.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: The front was all different colors.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: And all I did was scream every time.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: I looked at her, I smacked her.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: She was-.
JM: Oh my God.
FM: I called my mother. I'm in tears.
JM: [Laugh] // Oh, Lord. //
FM: // My mother starts to laugh, // thought it was a riot. And, I said, "I don't know how I am ever going to get this stuff cleaned up." Well, it took me, uh, never did get rid of it all.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: Never, I think it's still around [laugh].
JM: [Laugh]
JM: Oh my God.
FM: That's the story of Karen, oh.
JM: Karen never told me that story.
FM: Oh God, it was so, and the funny part of it was he hadn't painted in a while and all these tubes, the, the tops, he had to use, pry them off with his teeth.
JM: Yeah, I remember how they would get.
FM: Yeah, he couldn't open them they were so stuck on there.
JM: May be, that's why she stomped on them.
FM: Yeah, that's right.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: [Laugh]
JM: I could // just see her. //
FM: // So //, it couldn't come out of the top, came out the sides, so gross.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: [Laugh]
JM: Well, what did grandpa do?
FM: Oh, he was furious.
JM: Oh my goodness.
FM: He, he went in to look at the painting he had started.
JM: Oh my goodness.
FM: She had smeared it.
JM: Oh my God.
FM: Or all colors, all colors, everything, uh, I had to wash her hair in vereline.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: No, I did, I couldn't get the paint out of her hair.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: Oh, and she was screaming the whole day [laugh], and I was screaming the whole day after [laugh].
JM: Wow.
FM: [Laugh]
JM: This would explain Karen though.
FM: [Laugh] Oh I don't know. She was only a couple years old and your father was only about a year old.
JM: Yeah.
FM: Well, I don't know if he was even walking yet. And, she gave him the tubes to paint in the crib, so he wouldn't have to get out of the crib. He could play with it there.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: [Laugh], he made [laugh] stain glass windows.
JM: Oh, oh they got the windows to?
FM: Yeah, oh yeah, he was right next to the window. So, he painted everything in sight.
JM: He must have had fun.
FM: Oh he did.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: It, oh they had a wonderful time and I'm telling you, when I saw her and I just took one look at her, when she stood by my bed.
JM: I, you probably screamed.
FM: I, I did.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: I stared screaming and, I.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: [Laugh]
JM: [Laugh]
FM: Because I knew it was going to be bad [laugh].
JM: [Laugh]
FM: [Laugh] // It was worst than bad. //
JM: // Oh my God. //
FM: Oh yeah, that's one of my stories.
JM: That's a good one.
FM: That's a good story, that's a true story.
JM: What about the time you, uh, tore up the car at the bank.
FM: Ah, oh yea, a brand new car.
JM: I told Jen about this one and-.
FM: Oh. We had a brand new car, a Ford station wagon.
FM: We brought it from George, Roger's brother. And, uh, we had it only about, not even a week.
FM: And I had the two kids, I guess two, may be it was one, I forget when it was, but I had one of the kids in the car. I guess it was Keith. He was very young. And, uh, he was a baby. I went to the bank and they had this slot that came out then, those days. And, they, my wheel must have gotten caught. They had this thing in the middle.
JM: Uh-huh.
FM: And, it pushed my car over, so I didn't drive in carefully you know.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: And, uh, I took, and this flap, this thing that came out was medal. And, it lift the whole side of the car, it sliced it just like, uh.
JM: A can opener.
FM: Yeah, yeah, it just sliced, a big slice, right in the brand new car. And, I was almost in tears when I looked at it.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: I didn't know what to do. So, I had Keith in the car, he was a baby in the back. I drove, I drove to my brother-in-law and showed him the car.
JM: Uh-huh.
FM: And, he was still in bed, but his wife got him up.
JM: Was this George?
FM: George, and he looked at it [laugh] and he, he couldn't believe what I did [laugh].
JM: He probably laughed his ass off [laugh].
FM: [Laugh] He did. But, he took it to the place to get it fixed. He brought it to the Ford place, well we brought it and you know he fixed it. He got it fixed that same day. You know, your grandfather // never even knew. //
JM: // Never // even knew [laugh]?
FM: Never even knew, we sold that car and he never knew that happened.
JM: [Laugh] You sit there with a grin on your face.
FM: Never told him, that's about the only thing that I ever got away with.
JM: [Laugh] That's a good one, that's a good story [laugh].
FM: [Laugh] Ah, but, it did look good. It looked brand new. I was surprised, I was amazed. I don't think I paid him for that either. I don't think that they charged me for that.
JM: They, they probably were to busy laughing to think about.
FM: Yeah.
JM: [Laugh]
FM: Then, I went the next time I went to the bank. The guy said I broke the bank thing and we had to have it repaired.
JM: Oh.
FM: [Laugh] I thought he was going to send me a bill [laugh], but he didn't. Now that was a good story and that was true. They were all true [laugh], every one of them, really.
JM: OK this ends.