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Interview with Julia Katie Morris

Morris, Katie
Foster, Marshall
Date of Interview: 
Stories and Storytellers
Julia "Katie" Morris tells how reading has influenced her life, from childhood to adulthood.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Marshall Foster interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
MF (Marshall Foster): Let me start off by asking what is your full name and is there any story behind your name?
KM (Julia Katie Morris): My full name is Julia Kate Morris and there's really no story of any importance or interest. I was named after my grandmother Katie Sharp.
MF: OK. Do people in your family normally name children after family members?
KM: Oh yeah, it's a big deal in our family we've got more Catherines and Margarets running around than I can count.
MF: That is interesting. Well, my second question leading into the whole reason for the interview today, is childhood stories, and what is the first story that you remember from your childhood?
KM: I think the first story I remember, is um, Rapunzle. [Pause] you know, "Rapunzle, Rapunzle let down your gold hair."
MF: Hum. Why? Did you like that story?
KM: I guess.
MF: Do you remember who told you the story?
KM: My mother [pause].
MF: Was that your favorite story?
KM: I think so, I heard it a lot and I think I maybe um, related to the princess. I think all little girls do, because we both have blond hair.
MF: OK. So you and your friends used to play-act out some of these stories?
KM: Oh sure, I think all kids play-act things they hear from their childhood. You know Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, that kind of thing.
MF: So of all these stories, what do you think might have been your most favorite from your childhood?
KM: I guess Rapunzle. That's the one I heard the most.
MF: What part of the story did you like the most?
KM: I think when she'd let her hair down and the prince would climb up the tower, to the tower room.
MF: OK. What was it about that that you liked so much?
KM: [Pause] I don't know, I just thought it was kind of neat.
MF: The fact that her hair could be that long or something?
KM: Oh yeah.
MF: What was your least favorite part of the story?
KM: I really don't think I had a least favorite part. I thought the whole story you know, was very interesting at that age in my childhood. The whole thing was just amazing to me.
MF: OK. Of all the stories you read as a child, do you think any of those childhood stories had an impact on your life?
KM: Not that I can really say, you know. As you get older you realize that they're fairy stories and not based in any real truth, but that they were happy times for you as a child. But I can't say that they made any real impact.
MF: At what age do, did you realize that they were more for the fun or mythology or--
KM: Oh I don't know, probably around [pause] seven, eight, nine, something like that.
MF: OK. Speaking of your reading habits, as you got older, as a teenager, what type of reading material, what type of stories did you read? You know how were they different?
KM: Oh, I don't know that they were so much different. I read the um, Nancy Drew books, and I read the Hardy Boy books and um, whatever was, [pause] Black Beauty things of that nature. You know whatever was popular with young teenagers and um, kids my age at that time. You have to remember, this was a long time ago [laugh].
MF: Reading into your young adult life, what type of reading materials did move into then? [Pause] And why?
KM: Um, there was a series of books I read, as I got farther into my teenage years, and for the life of me I can't remember the name of the character, but it was um, a series of books about a young woman that was a nurse. And um, I think those made, must have made some lasting impression on me, because here I am today.
MF: And what's your profession now?
KM: I'm a nurse.
MF: So I, so, I guess in some small fashion you associated with some of the characters?
KM: I'm sure.
MF: Alright. Do you have a favorite author?
KM: Um, yes. His name is Frank Perreti.
MF: What types of stories does he write?
KM: Um, he's a Christian author and he writes very dramatic stories uh, concerning um, such issues as, the second coming, Satan being among us, and they're not, they're not so much preachy gospel type books as they are very good um, drama, you know, almost scary type stories, but they're very good.
MF: So what was it specifically that drew you to these particular books?
KM: Well to tell you the truth um, it was the fly page on one of the books that I read. It was the little synopsis on the back, on the inside cover that drew me to the book. And I had no idea that the gentleman was a Christian author when I bought the book. It just sounded very interesting and uh, I've become quite a fan of his.
MF: OK [long pause]. What uh, does your family have any collection of books or anything like that? Childhood books that maybe they passed down through the generations, that maybe, that was read to you as a child or anything like that?
KM: Not myself specifically, but I know that we still have a copy of a um, [pause] book your mother had from childhood that we read to you as a little boy.
MF: What was that?
KM: 101 Dalmatians.
MF: [Laugh] Let's see. Going back to the stories about the nurse. Would you say that story had an impact on your life, or do you think that was just coincidence?
KM: No, it probably, in the long run it probably did, because it made me think about the you know, the desire to do for other people. The interest and excitement I guess there is in the medical field. Working in hospitals, specifically emergency rooms, was always uh, a thrill for me. And um, I guess that kind of, those books kind of set me to thinking, as a younger person.
MF: Were any of your childhood stories somehow related to that, in any fashion?
KM: No, uh huh, they were the typical Little Golden Book childhood stories.
MF: How many stories do you remember from your childhood? You know, what types of stories do you remember?
KM: [Pause] Um, oh, books like, your typical childhood books, like Black Beauty. Golly let me think. Oh, The Grimm's Fairy Tales, um [pause] books of that nature, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
MF: Now you said earlier that your mother read some of these stories to you. Did you ever read any of these stories on your own time?
KM: Oh sure we had, we had, like I said the Little Golden Books that came in sets, and other storybooks. Um [pause], I remember reading them myself as a child, and certainly as I got older um, reading was important. It's still important to me now, because I have such um, a reality based profession that when I, that when I do read it's solely for the purpose uh, of escaping reality. I'll read, I'll read just about anything I can get my hands on, that does not have anything to do with the medical field. Which I can't say is particularly, that's not completely the case, because I have read several of the, several of the Patricia Cornwell novels and her main character um, is a pathologist named Kay Scarpetta. So, but that's not really the primary sense in her book. Hers are, of course, murder/mystery type novels. Um [pause], I read, yes I admit it, I've read Louis L'Amour, uh, but mostly the Sackett novels, because that deals a lot with um, the part of the country that I was born and raised in. Um, and I enjoy reading novels about that, but as far as reality based reading material, I don't, the newspapers about as reality oriented as I get.
MF: So where were you born?
KM: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
MF: Do you think that particular area of the country had any influence on the types of things that maybe you read as a child or as a young adult?
KM: Um, probably starting in high school it did, because my high school English teacher um, is a published author and is very popular in that part of the country. And I've noticed in the past couple of years that they're starting to sell his novels out here too. And uh, which really thrills me to see that, because he's such a talented person.
MF: Do you remember what his name is?
KM: His name is Rudolpho Aniya.
MF: What types of stories did he write?
KM: His books, course you know they always say you should write, write about what you know. His books are centered in that part the country in New Mexico and specifically in the um, Hispanic culture. His first uh, book is called Bless Me Ultima, and it was about his grandmother. Uh, and the rest of his books are kind of, have kind of a mystical quality to them because there's a lot of mysticism in the uh, Catholic uh, religion in the Hispanic culture in New Mexico. And uh, they're quite interesting.
MF: Would you say that some of the stories that you read growing up were more geo, geographically based in that area? By authors, I mean. Um, having lived in that area, obviously having a strong Hispanic influence, were some of the stories integrated in that fashion?
KM: Oh uh, sure they were. You always heard stories about that part of the country, about the conquistadors coming into the southwest and a lot of the reading material and, and uh what not centered around the history of the area. Because there was so much of it. Um, books like Rudolpho Aniya's books, um, Tony Hillerman's books, even though they're basically fiction, delve a lot into Native American culture and history. And uh, that area the country especially the area they call the Four Corners area. Really brings a lot of that to the fore there. They do a lot to help promote the uh, culture of that area of the country.
MF: I say, going back to some of the childhood stories in specific. Did you ever hear any stories, you know, like children's stories, not necessarily even books, but uh, maybe stories that had sort of Hispanic nature to them? Or background? You know like a bedtime story or scary story or anything like that?
KM: Oh, sure they're your usual scary stories. I don't remember any, any childhood stories about, specifically about children, like, like Hispanic fairy tales. But I remember um, one story in particular about uh, it's pretty similar to the lady, the one they have in South Carolina. About the lady at the beach that lost her children and she walks, you know, the, the beaches at night. This is similar, it's about a woman who lost her children, they were killed, and she walks the banks of what we call out there "arollos", they're, they're runoff ditches for flood water, calling for her children. I think every culture has a similar story in it.
MF: Alright.