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Interview with Jennifer H. Reece

Reece, Jennifer H.
Scardina, Trish
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Cultural Identification; Childhood Adventures; Stories and Storytellers; Tolerance and Respect
Jennifer Reece talks about teaching her son through stories and her father driving a convertible hearse around Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Trish Scardina interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JR (Jennifer Reece): Can I talk now?
TS (Trish Scardina): Yeah go ahead and try it.
JR: OK, I was four years old, from what my mom tells me I was four years old, and I was walking on the beach with my grandfather and apparently I stepped on a sticker bush and I had like four stickers in my foot [laugh]. And it just stressed me terribly and I was crying and crying and I kept on just saying, "I need a doctor [laugh], I need a doctor. Get me a doctor." [Laugh] And I guess my grandfather convinced me to take them out of my foot and I lived to tell this story.
TS: Good thing.
JR: Well, Okey-dokey [laugh]. Um, let's see, some other stories that I remember, let me think. Stop me, can I, stop me while I think? Um, um.
TS: What stories do you tell Gage? Like books do you read to him?
JR: Um, we read, what do we read? We read all kinds of books. Whatever he pulls off of the shelf. And he has a hundred books.
TS: What's his favorite?
JR: Um, he doesn't really have a favorite, he picks whichever one is going that night. He just got a book it's called, um, Eagle Boy, and it's about a, um, a Indian tribe on the California coast, who does, uh, they run out of food in the area where they are. And ( ). Anyway, so it's about this Indian tribe on the California coast and wherever they are, they run out of food and they decide that they have to move. Well, this one little boy had always, um, been real nice to the eagles and thought they were really cool and all this, and, um, for whatever reason the tribe decides that they need to leave him behind, and they leave him on the beach as they paddle off. Well, he was starving and an eagle came by and dropped a salmon down for him or some fish and he was able to eat. And it's because he had always been nice to the eagles and talked to the eagles and all that and they saw that he was in trouble. Well, he really liked one of the little girls who had gone off with the rest of the tribe and so he told the eagles to drop her some food because he knew they were starving too and the eagle did. And then they realized that it was all because of the, him that the eagles were dropping them food, and so they came back and got him and it was one big happy tribe again. And the little girl and boy married and lived happily ever after. And so that one he just got, and he likes that one. Um, he likes, what other stories do we tell? He really likes to make up stories. He'll like, it's usually about a Power Ranger. And the Power Ranger has to overcome some huge enemy and it's usually a bloody battle [laugh], but the Power Ranger always wins. He'll make up those from Eden to Greensboro, which is 40 minutes long, and you have to do it. And so, he, that, he usually does that with his grandmother, and they make up a story the whole way home. And he tries to get me to do it, but I cannot talk to like that 40 minutes, so we just usually make it halfway with our stories. Um, what other stories do we tell?
TS: Any good life experience stories?
JR: No [laugh]. Um, we tell Gage about, like we'll tell him about like if you do this, you know, could be hurt. Like, um, "When I was little I knew a boy who stuck his head out and got hit by the by the telephone pole while he was in the car and killed him. Don't stick your head out." Um [laugh], like when he, one time we were at my mom's house and she had just made pies and he saw them come out of the oven, and he knew they were hot but it had been sitting on the stove for a little bit. And he went up to grab it and he burned his fingers and so we told him, you know, times that we burned ourselves and that it hurts and that it will stop. And plus, you know, Rob can talk away fire so we had to call Daddy and tell him to talk away Rob, Gage's fire. And, um, so we tell him about that.
TS: How does Rob talk away this fire?
JR: He, he does some, I don't know. See, he can't tell you [laugh], but he does something like this, and then he has to know your birth date, your birth date, your age I don't know, something else and it, it works, I'm not kidding.
TS: It makes things stop hurting?
JR: It makes your burn stop hurting. The next time you burn, call Rob and he'll say, "How old are you and what's your birthday?" And then you just hang up and it will go away. He does, he says something, it's very weird. I'm being serious though, it works. I've burned myself and called him and he does it and it stops hurting. Now maybe if I never called him, it would just stop hurting anyway, but I don't know [laugh]. So Rob can do that. Let's see what's another story? Um what's something else?
TS: Anything good you remember just like childhood story like something you did when you were a child, teenager?
JR: No teenager stories [laugh].
TS: ( )
JR: When you know my dad had that hearse, that convertible hearse? Well he used to like, there was like--
TS: A convertible hearse?
JR: You knew about that. You knew the hearse that he, anyway we had a neighbor who said, "I bet you can't take a hearse and make it into a convertible," and my dad said, "I bet I can." [Laugh] Dad went out, bought a hearse, cut off the top, and painted it like bright yellow, and it had red velvet seats in it. He had a convertible top made for this stupid thing. I mean, oh my gosh, it was in our garage for years [laugh]. Anyway, so Dad, Dad made this convertible hearse and he used to take all the neighborhood kids, and there was like ten of us. He put us all in the hearse and we would go hooker hunting downtown.
TS: Hooker what?
JR: Hooker hunting [laugh]. So, we'd go downtown and go, "There's one." [Laugh] But see, and really it was just to go to Dairy Queen, 'cause you had to go downtown to go to Dairy Queen, and he was really taking us all for ice cream [laugh]. But we used to call it hooker hunting [laugh]. And so, the kids would come over and go, "Phil can we go hooker hunting?" We'd do that and, um, that's my dad, Jesus. What else would my dad do? My dad did all kinds of crazy things to our house. He would he had the canoe strung up in the tree on a pulley system so all he would have to do is pull the car up underneath the tree and he'd let the canoe down on the car, unhook it [laugh] back by the hearse was the canoe in the tree. Damn, to be me.