Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Richard Sherrill

Sherrill, Richard
Cummings, Zakia
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Tolerance and respect
Richard Sherrill talks about his life and family and a story about his stolen car
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Zakia Cummings interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
ZC (Zakia Cummings): First let me tell you a little bit about myself real quick. [Lapse in recording] So you picked Arts and Culture. Um, first question is are you proud of being an African American?
RS (Richard Sherrill): Yes.
ZC: OK, you are. What makes you proud of being an African American? Why, why are you?
RS: Well, it's 'cause I've been around.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: In other countries [ ] you got a little bit more freedom.
ZC: You got a little bit more freedom?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And I've been African American.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Well, we have a lot of advantages.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: You know, up in the education of being in America. And I think about it.
ZC: [ ] OK. Um, what are you most proud of about being an African American?
RS: Oh, being free and black.
ZC: Being free and black? [Laugh]
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Um, what kinds of music do you like?
RS: Um, I like jazz.
ZC: Jazz.
RS: Anything, anything except rap. I don't like rap.
ZC: You don't like rap? [Laugh] Oh? Why, how come you don't like rap?
RS: Well, to me, I don't get too much out of it. It doesn't make too much sense to me.
ZC: [Laugh] And you, so you say you like jazz?
RS: I like jazz and regular music.
ZC: Regular music? And, uh, what do you like about that music?
RS: Jazz has most of the instruments in it.
ZC: The instruments in it?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK, all right. Good, um, what is your favorite song?
RS: Uh, now I've heard well Marvin Gaye do it, had a song called [ ] Heard it Through the Grapevine through jazz. I heard that.
ZC: Oh, Heard it Through the Grapevine, through jazz. OK. I haven't heard that. I like that song, too but I haven't, I never heard of it in jazz. Um, what other types of art do you like? Whether it's painting, arts and crafts, um, playing an instrument, drama, what other types of arts do you like?
RS: Well, I try to draw a little bit.
ZC: Drama, oh, draw?
RS: I try to.
ZC: Try to draw? [Laugh] So you, uh, do you like to sketch things?
RS: Yes. That's what I like.
ZC: Sketch things? OK, OK. Any other art that you can think about? Any type of art?
RS: No.
ZC: No? Just sketching, OK. Um, what about concerts? Do you like to go to concerts or watch movies or?
RS: I'd rather watch movies.
ZC: You'd rather watch movies. What's your favorite movie?
RS: Uh, well. I might say heavy drama in an actor.
ZC: Something that has drama.
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. All right, well, we finished the first topic. What's the next topic you would like to talk about? Part of the experiment is that you pick, so you can just pick any one.
RS: It doesn't matter.
ZC: It doesn't matter? Do you want to talk about that one? OK. Uh, what is your favorite meal served here?
RS: Uh, I'd say lunch.
ZC: Hmm?
RS: Lunch.
ZC: Lunch? Um, what, I mean exactly what is it, like what lunch, like what meal?
RS: And what?
ZC: Yeah, what food?
RS: Oh, uh, I like, uh, chicken.
ZC: Chicken?
RS: Barbecued.
ZC: Oh, barbecued chicken. [Laugh] OK.
RS: Stewed okra.
ZC: Stewed okra.
RS: Uh, beans.
ZC: Beans. Any dessert? [Laugh]
RS: Oh, yeah, banana pudding.
ZC: Banana pudding? OK, what is your least favorite meal served here?
RS: Served here?
ZC: Yeah.
RS: Fish.
ZC: Fish. [Laugh] How come you don't like it? Is it the way they cook it or you just?
RS: The way they cook it.
ZC: How do they cook it?
RS: Too hard to eat.
ZC: Too hard to eat? Do they fry or they bake it or?
RS: Fry it.
ZC: They, they fry it.
RS: Really, I don't have any teeth.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And I can't eat too hard.
ZC: OK. And, and so if you could give the cooking staff here any type of advice what would it be?
RS: ( )
ZC: Hmm?
RS: Um, just better cooking knowledge or education or something.
ZC: Cooking education? [Laugh] And why do you say that? Oh.
RS: Well, I don't really cook.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: I just don't need to cook.
ZC: Oh, OK. All right. Um, OK, what, I wanted to ask you about the new, the trends here, like, like you know, like the new, the new hats that's out that guys wear, um, like does it like, I wanted to ask you a question similar to is a man really dressed up without a hat?
RS: Yes.
ZC: He is?
RS: I would say so.
ZC: What are some of the, uh, hats that make up, uh, like make a man that wants to get dressed up, sharp, look sharp? Like the hats that, um, men wear?
RS: Well, I, I don't know too much about hats but I would say a, a cap.
ZC: A cap?
RS: Just a regular cap.
ZC: A regular cap? Like a baseball cap?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Or like a straw hat? Some of them have the-.
RS: Straw hat.
ZC: Straw hat? Uh-huh. OK, um, OK, all right. Um. OK, we're finished that one. All right, goes in there. Um, Quality of Life. Um, basically I wanted to ask what makes a person, what makes someone happy in life? What are the things that makes people happy in life?
RS: What makes them?
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Waking up in the morning feeling good.
ZC: Waking up in the morning feeling good.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Good breakfast.
ZC: Good breakfast.
RS: Just, uh, meeting new kind of people.
ZC: Meeting new-.
RS: Meeting the world with a smile.
ZC: [Laugh] Meeting new people.
RS: Yeah. And hoping everyone's feeling the way I feel.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Makes my day better.
ZC: To see people with a smile?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: That's good, that's good. Um, and so that's some of things that make people happy.
RS: Yes.
ZC: So what makes you happy as a person?
RS: [Pause] I like to be, uh, well I don't care too much about [ ] you know, being not left alone, just-.
ZC: Being not left alone.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. OK anything else you can think of?
RS: ( ) No.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: [Pause] That's about it.
ZC: That's about it? OK. Recreation, uh, you know, that's basically things that you do around the day. Um, like what is your favorite thing to do?
RS: Uh, I like to read.
ZC: Uh-huh. You like to read? What type, what are some of the \\ things \\ that you like to read?
RS: \\ I read\\ mostly about wildlife.
ZC: Wildlife? Oh, You like do you like animals and plants?
RS: I enjoy National Geographic.
ZC: Oh, OK.
RS: Anything wildlife.
ZC: Um, have you ever, have you ever heard of, uh, this show called, uh, it's this station call Animal Planet?
RS: That's one, yes. I listen to that sometimes.
ZC: Animal Planet? They have a lot on wildlife. OK. Um, what is your least favorite thing to do? Your least favorite thing to do?
RS: Oh, soap operas.
ZC: Soap operas. [Laugh] Watching soap operas? Why, oh, how come you don't like, uh, soap operas?
RS: I never really enjoyed it. It always continued the story tomorrow and all that.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: I don't want to see it the next day.
ZC: Uh-huh. OK. Um, what do you observe other people liking to do? What do see that other people like to do?
RS: Oh, play cards.
ZC: Play cards.
RS: And I don't know, bingo.
ZC: Bingo.
RS: Fish.
ZC: Fish? [Laugh] Go Fish?
RS: Yes.
ZC: You see a lot of people liking to play that?
RS: Yes.
ZC: Can you think of anything else?
RS: Something else?
ZC: Uh, just cards or bingo and Go Fish.
RS: Except for women they love to shop.
ZC: [Laugh] Women, they love to shop. [Laugh]
RS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Uh-huh. OK. And any anything else?
RS: That's about it.
ZC: That's it? Um, what type of, uh, activities do they have for you guys to do here at the home?
RS: Nothing.
ZC: Huh?
RS: Nothing here. Well, they play games a lot.
ZC: They play Bingo?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Do you wish they can have more? Do you wish they had more or this is enough?
RS: That's enough.
ZC: Is there enough Bingo?
RS: Yeah, I don't play.
ZC: You don't play. Do you, do you sit back and watch other people?
RS: No. I stay in my room.
ZC: You stay in your room? Do you know a lot of people here?
RS: No, I don't.
ZC: You don't. OK. Do you have a lot of friends here?
RS: No.
ZC: No? OK. Um, what, one second it's going to it's going to tape that, all right, OK, so we were talking about recreation. Um, so you said they had, they have Bingo and cards, um, but you say you didn't, you don't participate in them, right?
RS: Well, they don't play any cards here.
ZC: They don't play cards?
RS: They play Bingo \\all the time, but-. \\
ZC: \\ They play \\ but do you, you participate?
RS: No.
ZC: OK. Why? How come?
RS: I just don't care for Bingo.
ZC: You just don't care for Bingo. [Laugh] OK. Um, all right, Recreation. Next thing. Esteem, OK? Um, [pause] what makes you feel important?
RS: What makes you feel important?
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Well, uh, being a father is one thing.
ZC: OK. You have child, so you have children. How many?
RS: Uh, four.
ZC: Four children. OK, are you married?
RS: I have been.
ZC: You, you have been married. OK. Was it a divorce or, uh, deceased?
RS: Divorce.
ZC: A divorce. OK. Are you, you single now?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. And have four so, so being a father makes you feel important?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. What else what, uh, other things make you feel important?
RS: Well, something else, the way I saved my life in the last three months. I quit drinking.
ZC: You quit drinking? Uh-huh.
RS: And I'm trying to quit smoking.
ZC: Trying to quit smoking.
RS: That's it.
ZC: OK. So, uh, so to be striving to quit that, does that make you feel important?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. Anything else?
RS: I'm trying to live in the church.
ZC: Trying to be in church?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. You go to devotion here normally?
RS: No.
ZC: Normally, no. No have you ever been?
RS: No.
ZC: No. OK. Are you thinking about going one time?
RS: Sometimes I do.
ZC: Sometimes you thing about going? OK. Um, do you think young, younger people, uh, respect older people?
RS: [Pause] Some of them.
ZC: Some of them?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Please, uh, OK, so explain a little bit. Why do you, you know, think that way? You said some people respect, some young people respect older people.
RS: Well, some of them respect them if they're getting some out of them. If they're not getting anything out of them, they don't care nothing about them.
ZC: They don't care nothing about them. [Laugh] OK. [Laugh] \\ But. \\
RS: \\That's the truth.\\
ZC: It's the truth. So, um, uh, give me some examples of a youngster who, uh, respecting an older person. What are some the ways the youngster respects a older person?
RS: Oh, just by the way, some of the things they doing for me.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And no [ ].
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And they'll say they don't care.
ZC: They'll say they don't care.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: That's some of the ways they disrespect older people.
RS: Yeah, well, you said respect.
ZC: Respect. Uh-huh.
RS: Well, some that goes around, I'd say they go around asking, "Do you have anything you want me to do today?" And I'll say, I tell them, "I don't have any money." They'll say, "I didn't ask for any money."
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: They'll do it anyway.
ZC: So that's respect.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: And disrespect you said.
RS: Well, like some of them, they stand all day getting high and drinking and clubbing. And, uh, they say, "Here comes the old man."
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: I don't tell them, I don't pay no bills.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And they say they don't care.
ZC: Uh-huh. OK. Um, what do, what do people praise you for?
RS: People praise me from where? Or probably, uh, people that I know.
ZC: Yeah. Anybody, anything, anybody, what do people praise you for?
RS: I really polite, well I'm true and honest for one thing.
ZC: You, I didn't hear you.
RS: I'm honest.
ZC: You're honest. [Laugh] Anything else you can think about that people praise you for?
RS: No.
ZC: No? Just being honest.
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK, um, if you could change anything about your life what would it be?
RS: Well, that would have to be my education.
ZC: Your education?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Why do say that?
RS: ( ) You can't do anything that won't take a college education. I didn't have, I didn't get that much education.
RS: I quit in the tenth grade.
ZC: In tenth grade?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Did you finish up tenth grade or you, did you quit after you finished tenth grade?
RS: I quit after.
ZC: After you finished tenth grade. OK. Anything else you think about that you, uh, would change if you could change anything in your life?
RS: Yes, my health.
ZC: Your health?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: What about your health?
RS: Well, I have cancer.
ZC: You had cancer? What type of cancer?
RS: Uh, it's in my throat.
ZC: Oh. Not any mouth cancer? Uh-huh. So you would change your health?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Um, all right. So, OK. We did health. OK, we're going to go to, OK, so, um, what, do you take any medications?
RS: Yeah. I take, uh, blood pressure pills.
ZC: Blood pressure pills. Any other medications?
RS: No. Nothing else.
ZC: No? Um, how did you feel, um, before you began to take, uh, blood pressure pills?
RS: Um, I just felt pretty well. I didn't know. I was having a checkup, the doctor tells me-.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: -The doctor tells me my blood pressure's high.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: But other than that, I feel just normal.
RS: That's it.
ZC: Just normal. How do you feel after you take the medicine?
RS: Same way.
ZC: Same way, same way. OK, um, uh, so you do take medicine on a daily basis right?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. What, um, ill, illnesses have you been diagnosed with in your lifetime?
RS: Uh, I have, well, I had seizures.
ZC: Seizures?
RS: Well, I had, used to have them.
ZC: OK. How did that make you feel knowing that you had seizures?
RS: [Pause] Well, it's kind of scary.
ZC: It's kind of scary?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Why?
RS: 'Cause you don't know when you're going to have one.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: And it was all unexpected.
ZC: Unexpected. Do you, uh, do you still have them or you just used to have them?
RS: No, I used to have them.
ZC: OK. They, did they give do they give you medicine for that too?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK make did the medicine im-, improve those symptoms?
RS: Yes, I think so.
ZC: They did?
RS: And they told me to quit drinking and I did that.
ZC: Quit, quit drinking.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: And so you did?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Um, any other illnesses? You talked about cancer.
RS: Well, I had cancer.
ZC: You had cancer?
RS: I had cancer. It, uh, took my jawbone. They pulled all my teeth.
ZC: Uh-huh. So, uh, how did you feel when, uh, you found out you were diagnosed with, with cancer?
RS: Well, uh, it really didn't mean too much. I really didn't know too much about cancer.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: 'Cause the doctor told me if I didn't take the operation I would probably live about two years.
ZC: Uh-huh. If you didn't take it?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: If you didn't take it, you would only live about two years? So you took it?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. And how is the rehabilitation coming along?
RS: Fine.
ZC: Fine? OK. Ther''s, when was that when you had cancer?
RS: About three years ago.
ZC: Three years ago?
RS: Yeah, more about three.
ZC: Three years ago. Oh, OK. Um, OK. How do you think your life has changed since you, uh, were diagnosed with cancer? How do think your life had changed?
RS: Well, it changed a lot because my doing, doing many things for my health like listening to the doctor.
ZC: Listening to the doctor. OK. Um any, any, anything else? How it changed your life?
RS: No.
ZC: No. OK. Um, and how do you feel on a daily basis? From day to day? How do you feel?
RS: Some days fine and some days I don't.
ZC: OK. Um, are most of your days good or most just?
RS: Most of them good.
ZC: Most of them good. OK. All right. Social. Who do you like to spend your time with and why?
RS: Right now?
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: Uh, nobody in particular now.
ZC: Nobody?
RS: When I was drinking I had my good friends and the family.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: But now, none but my kids.
ZC: But your kids? Who would you like to spend more, uh, well OK, your kids. So do you consider them as, as your friends?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. Why?
RS: Because they always want to do things for me, but I say, "That's OK." But, "No Daddy. I'm gonna do it anyway." And they'll do it anyway.
ZC: Uh-huh. So they things for you. That's why you consider them as your friend? OK. Anything else? Any other reasons why you consider them your friend?
RS: [Pause] Well personally, well I think it's the way I treated them coming up. I didn't treat them, I wasn't much of a father.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: But you see, they say they love me, which I can't understand.
ZC: [Laugh] They still say they love you. OK. So you consider them as your friend.
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Who would you like to spend more time with?
RS: Anyone?
ZC: Anyone, anyone. Who would you like to spend more time with? Anybody.
RS: Well, I'd say my brother-in-law.
ZC: Your brother in law? How often do you see him?
RS: I used to see him everyday before I came here.
ZC: OK. And, and, um, why, why you want to spend more time with him?
RS: Well 'cause it's me and him, he's very understanding.
ZC: He's very understanding. OK. Do you consider him as your friend?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Yeah? Oh, uh, why?
RS: Well, he's all, he's all right. If you do anything wrong he'll tell you.
ZC: If anything wrong? [Laugh] So, he's honest like you?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: [Laugh] OK. Um, who were the, uh, most important people in your life right now?
RS: Uh, um, [pause] I have to say my family.
ZC: Your family. OK. Any, um, and why, why?
RS: Well, 'cause if I need them they always there, if I'm sick or need something.
ZC: OK, so they're the most important. OK. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?
RS: [Pause] I know I'd have to say that my wife when she was here, she bought me a car.
ZC: She bought you a car? [Laugh]
RS: Yeah.
ZC: What type of car?
RS: It was a '62 Ford.
ZC: A '62 Ford. OK. All right. Now we go to education. You mentioned a little bit about that. Um, you, your last year of school you said was, you finished tenth grade?
RS: Yes.
ZC: You finished tenth grade. Um, and do you wish that you, uh, if you could do it again would you stay in school or would you just, would you, uh, you know, do it like it you did before?
RS: I would try to finish.
ZC: You would try to stay in school? OK. What, what is something, what would you teach a young person?
RS: [Pause] Um, from the start it would be respect.
ZC: I didn't hear you.
RS: Respect.
ZC: Respect?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK, anything else? Why would teach them about respect?
RS: Well, you have to respect before you learn and understand.
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: That's the way I see it.
ZC: Uh-huh. You teach them respect... and anything else?
RS: You have to listen and obey.
ZC: Listen and obey?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Um, what are some things you would like to learn? Like if I was to do something, to write something, to know something?
RS: Yeah. [cough]
ZC: What would you like to learn?
RS: Oh, man. Spell better.
ZC: Spell better?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK, anything else?
RS: That's about all. I can read some things but I can't spell it.
ZC: Uh-huh. So you-.
RS: That's what I think it is.
ZC: It you, you'd work on your spelling?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. Is there anything else?
RS: No.
ZC: OK, all right. Moving right along. Um, security. All right. What are some of your biggest fears?
RS: My fears?
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: [Long pause] What? You mean like what is?
ZC: Huh?
RS: What do I fear?
ZC: I didn't hear you.
RS: What are you talking about?
ZC: Yeah like what are some of your fears. Like some people are scared of dogs, some people are scared of dying, some people are scared of being away from friends or family. What are you biggest fears?
RS: I didn't.
ZC: What are your?
RS: I really don' t have any except wild insects.
ZC: Huh?
RS: Some fear, like can it be an insect or something?
ZC: It can be anything.
RS: Worms.
ZC: Water?
RS: Worms.
ZC: Worms? [Laugh] You don't like worms?
RS: No.
ZC: What do you fear about them?
RS: I just don't like them.
ZC: You just don't like them. [Laugh] Is it the way they look or the way they act?
RS: Well, I had one fall down my shirt when I was a kid.
ZC: Oh.
RS: Stung me in my back.
ZC: Oh, it fell on, fell on your shirt on your back? OK. Um, name a, name some of the times within this month that you felt fear, if any, within this month.
RS: None.
ZC: None? Oh, OK. Um, have you ever had, have you or a friend of yours ever had anything stolen and if so what was it?
RS: Well, I had, someone stole my car.
ZC: Somebody stole you car. When was this?
RS: ( )
ZC: Years back or?
RS: Four years ago.
ZC: Four years ago? Um, and so what happened with that whole situation? Did you get it back?
RS: Yes.
ZC: You got it back.
RS: But when I saw it, it wasn't no good.
ZC: It wasn't ruined?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK, so you sold it?
RS: For junk.
ZC: [Laugh] You sold it for junk?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: OK. All right, um, what about a friend of yours? You remember a friend [sigh] that ever got something stolen, can you remember? [Long pause] Or you just, you just remember what was stolen from you?
RS: Yes.
ZC: OK. All right. Housing, two more, housing. OK?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Um, what do you like about living here at this place?
RS: Well, I like everything about living, uh, it's nice.
ZC: It's nice.
RS: And it's clean and everything. You have to, uh, it's not like having your own.
ZC: It's not like having your own. So you like that it's clean here? Anything else that you can think about that you like it about living here?
RS: [Pause] No, that's it.
ZC: That's it. What would, uh, what you improve about your housing? \\ What? \\
RS: \\ Here? \\
ZC: Uh-huh.
RS: I don't, nothing except, except the cooking.
ZC: Nothing except the cooking. [Laugh] Uh, how would you make that better if you could the cooking?
RS: Yes, that's all.
ZC: How would you make the cooking better?
RS: Well, 'cause, well, I mean well, they like to fix a lot vegetables. I don't care too much for vegetables.
ZC: Oh, OK, all right. So you would change that?
RS: Yeah.
ZC: Anything else?
RS: That's all.
ZC: OK and the last. What the last one we talked about esteem, about who makes you feel important. We talked about that. OK. Well, we've finished. Can't believe we've finished all 10 subjects, topics. And I want to thank you for taking your time out to talk with me. OK, thank you.