Accessibility Navigation:

Monologue by Sara Ann Snyder Mott

Mott, Sara
McNiel, Mindy
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Childhood Adventures
Sara Mott talks about her birth, growing up, her loving family, and the town in which she grew up.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Mindy McNiel interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
SM (Sara Ann Snyder Mott): I was born Sara Ann Snyder in Vicksburg, Lou--. Mississippi, excuse me. The reason I said Louisiana is because that's where I lived all of my life. Everyone went to Vicksburg, Mississippi to have their babies at the Mercy Hospital because we had no facilities in Lake Providence, the most beautiful place on Earth, surrounded by um, lakes, Cyprus trees, good people, right on the banks of the Mississippi. And so when I was born my mom went over there and stayed 10 days in the hospital, with her tummy strapped afterwards because that's the way you did it back in the 30s to assure yourself of a flat tummy when you got home. Um, I grew up in a very um, warm, loving, together, traditional family. Um, good manners were extremely important, my father would send us from the table if we laughed. We all had special places at the dinner table and I, being the oldest of four, sat at the end opposite my father. My mother sat to his left and he served the meat and she served the potatoes or rice and the vegetables and the food was passed around to everybody. And at the end of dinner I would get to serve the dessert. But, if I would spill a glass of milk, which I often did, then I was sent from the table, but I would often be tickled. My father was extremely um, uh [pause] firm but fair, totally unemotional and maybe you might be surprised to hear that because I am extremely emotional. And my mother, on the other hand, was a, "Darling this, darling that, I love you." Constantly. Constantly we were told how much we were loved and maybe that made a great, [pause] um, that was a great influence to me but, on the other hand, my dad um, [pause] kept a level of, of intensity, a level of, of uh, [pause] of wanting to do the right thing always, um, especially to please everybody. Um, he died when I was 21 years old of a heart attack. It was a congenital heart condition and I've often thought that he would still be in my presence today had we had the medical advances then as we do now. When I married my husband, soon after, well five months after he died, I cried every night and didn't realize how much his presence was in my life until he was actually gone. My mother was a beautiful woman. Very, very spoiled. Always wanted her way about everything and she was courted by men of all ages after my dad died. She remarried, much to my dislike. I don't think my younger sisters mind so much of the time, they were young, they were still in high school, uh, but my stepfather was a very nice man but he was 10 years older than my mom. He was a party man and he had sort of a florid face and I, it made me a little suspicious. But it turned out that they were married actually longer than my mom and dad. And I really began, and continued to, love him very much. And his name was Don. Um, my brother and I were two years apart and I loved him but not until we were 13, I think 13 and 11, we were typically quarreling siblings [pause]. We went to Florida on a family vacation one summer. The only vacation, by the way, that my daddy ended up taking us because all the way from Louisiana to [pause] Miami, Florida was almost too much for six people in a car to be together for a 10-day period. But coming home we stopped in New Orleans and my dad had been on a roller coaster in San Francisco and he thought it was such fun and so we went to Pontchartrain Beach in New Orleans and that was nearing the end of the vacation and he said he wanted my brother Fred and me to go for the experience, he thought it was going to be so much fun. So we were all excited about it and got on. My two younger sisters did not, they were three and seven at the time so they were not made to do this. And so we got on and, as we climbed the first little hill, it just looked wonderful, we could look out over the, over the beach and wave to Mom and Dad and Gay and Annette, my sisters. And then we got to the top and my brother and I were at either end of the seat, we still were not too fond of being, of sitting together so we got up and then suddenly, in our lives began to flash in front of us we were going so fast. Faster than the speed of sound I know. And I looked at Fred and he looked at me and the only thing I could say, "Dear God, if you will let me off of this thing, then I will never ever again fuss with my brother." And so, with ashen faces, we finally got back and I have never yet, by the way, been on another roller coaster. That was many years ago. And my brother and I, from that day, curiously, became very close. I don't know if it was a pact we both made. I have no idea what he prayed for. But, um, anyway, that was an um, early remembrance of family relationships. I was extremely close to my sisters because I was 10 years older than the baby and I virtually called her my own. I helped rear her because my mother played bridge. Every, it seemed like every day, but every other day and she would have her lady friends and I would have to go in and tend to the babies and make sure that they were dry or had their pacifier or their bottle. And, then, my sister Gay was seven years younger and I felt the same way about her. And we've remained close all through these years, we're extremely close family. We connect, we talk. Every little family happening we get on the phone. Everybody has to know all of it, whether it's good or bad and sometimes it is bad, or naughty. Um, where was I? I was talking about my sisters. There are just so many things that I remember of my childhood. Lake Providence was a town of about 5000 people. And it was um, lined with wonderful little um, hometown, small town stores. My grandfather had a hardware stare and we all worked there. My father was a graduate of LSU and majored in Physics and he opened a radio shop in the back of the store. And I used to work there and I, the most fond memory was that I had my own special number on the cash register, which was a great big piece of equipment in the middle of the store. And it's really strange but I still dream about that hardware store. I love to um, weigh nails. If somebody wanted to come in and, and purchase some type of hardware then I would get the nails, put them in a sack, and weigh them. Then I would go to the cash register and punch my number in and hand ring the cash register. That was really exciting.