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Interview with Renita K Nance

Nance, Renita K.
Phelps, Susie
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Stories and storytellers
Renita Nance talks about reading Dr. Seuss and the story of Noah's arc
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Susie Phelps interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
SP (Susie Phelps): Um, what I would like for you to do is tell me what stories or books you remember reading as a child, if you had a favorite, color, size, things like that. You remember any?
RN (Renita K. Nance): OK, uh, mostly I remember I had Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, um, Little Jack Horner, um, they were about eight to ten pages long, Mom read them at home.
SP: Did she read them to you at bedtime?
RN: Well, just whenever I, I wanted to read them.
SP: Did you ever have bedtime stories?
RN: No, no bedtime stories.
SP: What about during the day?
RN: During the day, after school, quiet time.
SP: The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. //
RN: // Green Eggs and Ham.
SP: Green Eggs and Ham. OK.
RN: Green Eggs and Ham was my favorite.
SP: Why was that your favorite?
RN: I don't know but I remember I loved it.
SP: Really? ( )
RN: No. [Laughs] [Laughter] ( ) I remember the guy and I remember the green eggs and ham on the plate. I remember all that. Not the whole story.
SP: Do you rememb-, did you, do you read to your kids now?
RN: No. We don't have books around.
SP: Really?
RN: Cat in the Hat.
SP: Oh. OK. Um, do you remember somebody reading to you, uh, that is recent? Has somebody read like your husband read to you ( )?
RN: Um, my husband does read to me, he reads articles regarding events. Um, he reads recipes-.
SP: // Uh-huh. //
RN: // -A lot. //
SP: He likes to cook?
RN: Yes. And he will read recipes for me ( ). It sounds weird, but we do it.
SP: That's a great idea.
RN: // [Laughs] //
SP: // He cooks with you? //
RN: He cooks, he does the serious cooking.
SP: Um-hmm.
RN: He loves to cook.
SP: Oh, boy that's what I need.
RN: // [Laughs] //
SP: // OK, // how about, do you remember any stories that your family told you when you were growing up that you are telling your family now?
RN: Um, the only thing I can remember is the family get-together stories, um, the small family reunion stories, um, who all was there, what they did, and who all was, was dead, who was elderly. Not very fun stories. Those are the only stories I remember.
SP: Yeah?
RN: Yeah.
SP: Was there one particular relative that seemed to have more stories about him or her?
RN: Of course my grandmother.
SP: So stories about your grandmother // or-? //
RN: // Well, // she told more stories because she knew more detailed stories. She could still name all of the people, uh, she knew a lot of people who were passed away who were her age, and she told great detailed stories.
SP: Oh, good. What nationality is your grandmother?
RN: She's African American.
SP: And she was raised in what?
RN: She was, she was raised in Tennessee-.
SP: Oh.
RN: -A very small town in Tennessee. So they had to walk to school, they didn't have much money, she shared shoes, the shoes were too small. Those kinds of stories.
RN: Those kind of, we were poor but we still got our education kind of stories.
SP: Did, um, do you share that with your children?
RN: Um, she actually shared with my oldest. She shared the stories with my oldest before she passed on, before she passed away about five years ago.
SP: Oh. [Tape interruption] ( ) His new little brother and sister-to-be?
RN: No, he doesn't. Those aren't the kinds of stories he like, they depress him, I think-.
SP: // Oh. //
RN: // -More // so than anything. Yeah.
SP: What kind of stories does he tell his little brother?
RN: Um, he doesn't tell stories, they listen to rap music.
SP: Oh, OK. Well, that must be part of being a teenager?
RN: Uh, yeah. [Laughs] So I guess they tell the story to the rap. [Laughs] Don't know what about.
SP: OK. If you had, um, a favorite story as an adult, what would you think it would be?
RN: Uh, I think my favorite story as an adult, which I was glad to have learned as a child, um, the Bible story about Noah's ark.
SP: You think that is your favorite // story? //
RN: // Yeah, // I think that is my favorite story, as a matter of fact, um, we talked about that this week, we talked about the story, but my husband said something about rain and, "Let's go grab the animals," or something and my oldest son was like, "What are you talking about?" And it just hit on Noah's ark.
SP: // Oh. //
RN: // We // were referring to that. It kind of reminded me of the story, that just happened this past week.
SP: Wow. Well, I appreciate the time you spent. Thank you.
RN: All right.