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Interview with Aki Neal

Neal, Aki
Cleveland, Vickie
Date of Interview: 
relationships with people and places; stories and storytellers; childhood aventures; then and now
Aki Neal tells stories about his life and what he did while he was in heaven waiting to be born.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Vickie Cleveland interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
VC (Vickie M. Cleveland): OK. We are talking today to, what's your name?
AN (Aki Neal): Aki Neal.
VC: Aki Neal. How old are you Aki?
AN: Si-, six, six and a half.
VC: Put it down.
AN: Six and a half.
VC: OK. Let's leave it right here. Now you just talk into this. You're six and a half. Where do you go to school?
AN: At St-, um, the, the, um, the Great Aunt Stella.
VC: Great Aunt Stella?
AN: Yes.
VC: Oh!
AN: Some-.
VC: What kind of school is that [clears throat]?
AN: Community charter school.
VC: It's a what? I can't hear you when you're chewing.
AN: Community charter school.
VC: Oh. That sounds really cool. So you want to tell me a story today?
AN: Yes.
VC: What's your story going to be about?
AN: On Fridays.
VC: Um-hmm.
AN: OK, on every Friday, I'm glad it's Friday 'cause I can stay home two days, then go back to school, 'cause I, then we get to play and stuff.
VC: Oh, what kind of games do you like to play?
AN: My Play Station and, and my piano and some of the times I call Miss, I call Miss Susan.
VC: You call Miss Susie?
FV (Female Voice): Stop!
AN: Miss Susan. That was my teacher's phone number 'cause I got ( ) right here.
VC: Oh, OK. Miss Susie, OK.
AN: I always, I call her a couple of times today. She never got my call yet.
VC: Oh, OK. Well what kinds of things does Miss Susie teach you?
AN: She, um, teaches how to talk in English.
VC: Um-hmm. Can you eat those later?
AN: What's that?
VC: Can you wait till, wait till we're done till you eat?
AN: Yes.
VC: We won't take long. So, your-, tell me about the story that your grandma told you on the farm.
AN: I was not on the, on the farm. I was up in heaven.
VC: You were up in heaven?
AN: Yes.
VC: And what happened while you were up in heaven?
AN: I heard my mama say every time they go near the bull they, the bull always get red eyes and stomp back in. They always go and run, run in, in grandma's house.
VC: The bulls run in your grandma's house?
AN: No, they run in towards Grandma's house.
VC: I don't understand.
AN: Like my mama and her friends was run-, they were [smacks lips] looking at the bull and the bull got mad, so he just stomped their feet and they were scared, so they were running to the house.
VC: Oh, OK. What did you do when you go down on the farm, to your grandma's house?
AN: I just touch the bull. He just, he just, he just did like this.
VC: You touched a bull before?
AN: Yes.
VC: Really?
AN: Yes, they all, the bull, the bull, um, likes me ( ). The bull don't likes anybody else but me.
VC: He likes you? Did he tell you that?
AN: Yes. 'Cause I don't, when I was little, when I was a little baby I used to rock him and he loved it. So he just loved me.
VC: You used to rock the bull?
AN: Yes.
VC: So you mean the bull was a smaller baby than you were?
AN: Yes.
VC: Really?
AN: Yes.
VC: What's his name?
AN: His name was Kennedy.
VC: Kennedy?
AN: Yes.
VC: Can I go ask him about that?
AN: What's that?
VC: Can I go talk to him?
AN: Yes. No. He's, yes. He's, yes.
VC: Sit down.
AN: He's still got our farm.
VC: He's still at the farm?
AN: Yes.
VC: Does he, do you still go rock him or is he too big now?
AN: I still rock him 'cause he's just four months old. He's four months old.
VC: Oh. Are you sure? I think you're playing with me.
AN: Yes, while I was up in heaven.
VC: Oh, all this happened while you were in heaven? OK, well what happened since you've been down here?
AN: I just [baby cooing] never saw the farm. Shh!
VC: He's OK.
AN: //I just// I just been just watching everything.
VC: //So, tell-.// Uh-huh.
AN: And my TV shows, and like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Fox Kids.
VC: Uh-huh.
AN: That's what I always do, just watch TV-.
VC: So.
AN: -On the weekends.
VC: Um-hmm. So everything that happened to you has happened while you were in heaven?
AN: Yes.
VC: Well, tell me some more things that happened while you were in heaven.
AN: I saw people fighting.
VC: You saw people fighting?
AN: Yes. And I saw people drink, doing drugs and stuff and I didn't like that so I just tell God to give them some faith instead of fighting and doing drugs.
VC: Um-hmm. Well that was very kind of you. Did they stop after you asked God to give them faith?
AN: Yes.
VC: Good!
AN: And they find their own home.
VC: Um-hmm. What else?
AN: And I saw firemen, firefighters fighting over the fire that, who, which, who wants to burn the house to, um, burn the house down.
VC: Um-hmm.
AN: Some bad firemens. And I saw some robbers stealing, stealing jewelry and money and stuff.
VC: Um-hmm. So what did you do for them?
AN: I just told God, uh, "Just let the whole world be good."
VC: Well that was really sweet of you. I like that. And now you're a big brother. [Baby whimpers]
AN: To my little brother.
VC: Are you going to be a good big brother?
AN: Yes. One time I told, I showed my mama, and this was at night, told, "Look mama, I'm holding the baby." And she dropped the phone and just ran.
VC: Oh.
AN: And picked up the baby.
VC: Um-hmm.
AN: 'Cause he was heavy to me.
VC: Um-hmm, wow!
AN: Are we done yet?
VC: If you'd like to be done. Do you want to tell me anything else, or would you rather go watch cartoons? [Baby coos]
AN: How'd you know that was on cartoons?
VC: I can see it from here.
AN: Um, we will just be done. But anyway Ms. Vickie, tell me about when you was a little child.
VC: Well, when I was a little child, I was a cat.
AN: A cat?
VC: A cat.
AN: Huh-uh
VC: Um-hmm.
AN: [Laugh] Tell me the real truth.
VC: OK. Well, when I was a little child, oh, what did I do? I didn't get, I didn't get to remember what I saw in heaven. I only remember things once I got here, and I used to like to look at the sky all the time and watch birds and planes fly through the sky.
AN: I just like to lay on the grass and, and look, and love to watch clouds make faces and stuff.
VC: Ooh, what kinds of faces do you see in the clouds?
AN: Costumes.
VC: I can't hear you when you're chewing.
AN: [Laugh] Costumes.
VC: [Laugh].
AN: And clown faces, that's it.
VC: Um-hmm. Well, we can finish now, and I thank you very, very much for your time, and I appreciate you telling me what heaven looks like.
AN: [Burp] Whoops. Excuse me [laugh].
VC: [Laugh] OK?
VC: Say bye.
AN: Bye. What'd you do that for?