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Interview with John Dimier

Interviewee: 
Dimier, John
Interviewer: 
Blocker, Cary
Date of Interview: 
1998-10-17
Identifier: 
LGDI0621
Subjects: 
Relationships with people and places
Abstract: 
John Dimier talks about moving around as a kid, settling in Charlotte, music and a girl he fell in love with.
Collection: 
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Cary Blocker interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Transcript:
CB (Cary Blocker): John Dimier. Interview four. So John, thinking back over the years, uh, and on your childhood is there particular stories that you remember either being told or, or, telling yourself?
JD (John Dimier): Uh, [pause], yeah, yeah, I guess it depends on what period, you know, and, and, because I got plenty of them.
CB: Uh-huh, how about, how about like when you were in elementary school or when you were younger?
JD: Elementary school, yeah, I guess I remember, uh, I remember when I was getting ready to, to, uh, I took up an instrument. I took up playing drums.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: In, uh, fifth grade, and I wanted to quit, and my dad, I remember my dad trying to explain to me like why, that someday I may use it playing in a band or something like that and, uh, in college, help pay my way through college or something. And I should stick it out, and as it turned out, I stuck it out and I learned, uh, became first chair in the band. Eventually, and I learned to play a drum set and then I learned to play a guitar, and then I learned to play bass guitar and that's where I'm at now, playing in a band, playing bass guitar, which is, which turns out is my love.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: As opposed to what my regular job is. So, I just, little things like that.
CB: Where did you guys, where did you guys live?
JD: This is when I lived in Pennsylvania.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Yeah, we had just moved from Florida to Pennsylvania. I actually grew up. I spent ten years in, uh, Fort Lauderdale area, which is where my family's from, all my family's from, and, then, moved to Pennsylvania in the fifth grade. Spent that through, through ninth grade and up, and then my parents go divorced and right, right at the end of my ninth grade year.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And I went away to high school, to, uh, Mississippi, uh, for three years there.
CB: You went to a private school?
JD: To a private school there, which, was, that was a trip, just because I had, uh, moving away from your parents. You know, you're in the tenth grade, that's pretty much grow up pretty quickly, and, then, uh, went to, uh, had an argument with my mother my junior year over whether she had moved from Pennsylvania to Charlotte with her job.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And she wanted me in Charlotte for a year, and, so I basically had, it's either, either my senior year of college or my senior high school and my, my freshman year in college. So my senior year, oh, I, I wasn't switching schools, my senior year in high school.
CB: Right.
JD: So, I said alright I will go to college here.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: So, I applied to UNCC and that is the only school I applied to, and, I've been here every since. So, that's kind of like how I ended up in Charlotte.
CB: Uh, when looking back over the years, where there any, uh, any particular, uh, books that you read that had an impact on you?
JD: I didn't read a lot. I'm not a big reader. I read, uh, my grandmother got me the Hardy Boys Series [laugh], when I was a kid and that's pretty much what I read like all the time.
CB: What was your favorite one? Do you remember what your favorite one was?
JD: Uh, no.
CB: I always like The Phantom Freighter. I don't know if you remember that one.
JD: The Phantom Freighter, man, I haven't thought about these it's been so long [laugh].
CB: [Laugh]
JD: Oh man those are great, and then I read National Geographic, just for the pictures. But other than that [laugh], I just didn't read a whole bunch. But, I like the mysteries. Mysteries were more of what I was into.
CB: When you went to private school, did you guys get assigned to read a lot of books?
JD: Uh, no. This was a, uh, it was a Christian boarding school.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Uh, so the books you read, or the things you read were more religious related.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: So it, it, and it wasn't like what you, like go away to a good, good private school academically. This was like, uh, a school for people who were, uh, kids were divorced basically. So, we, we and they're, troubled kids [laugh], and they wanted to stick into a Christian environment.
CB: So, you all did a lot of Bible reading?
JD: Yeah, we had class, uh, we had Bible class and we had Vestibules on Sunday nights, Wednesdays night. We had Chapel for 15 minutes between third and fourth period.
CB: Wow.
JD: We had Sunday school, church Sunday night.
CB: Did you guys do, do a lot of writing, or, or what?
JD: Uh, we did yeah, we did writing. Like we do papers, like I did a term paper on, on, uh, the different, uh, views from the different, I guess the, uh, what's the word Protestant viewpoint on how the Rapture is going to happen.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: You know when Jesus comes back.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And there's like a thousand year millennium and there's like a whole different, like all the different groups have like their own viewpoints of how it, interpretation of how that's supposed to happen, as part of their.
CB: That sounds pretty cool.
JD: Uh, yeah, actually, it's pretty interesting. I mean, I, it didn't, I didn't realize how different, like all the different, uh, divisions or whatever of, uh, of Protestant church, the Baptist have one way, Presbyterian have, Methodist they all think different, think differently, which I'd never gotten into up to that point [laugh].
CB: So uh, when, when you came to Charlotte, uh, what kind of, what did you like major in, in college?
JD: Uh, accounting, well, no, I started out as electrical engineering.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And spent two and a half years there, and then, uh, hated it. And, just decided I was going to take, uh, accounting class over the summer time and, uh, did, did well, and stuck it out, changed my major. So, uh, so, I graduated in five years.
CB: So, when, when you read now are there, there particular books?
JD: I read magazines, now, I don't, really don't read a lot of books.
CB: Ah.
JD: And, I don't know if that's how I am or what.
CB: // ( ) //
JD: // Yeah, // I just like to keep up with what current events, with like what's going on nationally, and with style, music, fashions, and things like that.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Yeah, but other fictional stuff, I really don't read much.
CB: How about yourself as, as a storyteller? You know, what, what kind of stories do you find yourself telling at parties or when you meet people?
JD: Ah, mostly it's stories recently. The most recent things that have gone on in my, my life, just because it's, it's just been a whirlwind man, just with playing music. I, just, a new job, uh, band, mostly band related or music related generally. That's pretty much my hobby.
CB: Can you think of one that, something that happened to you recently that you have been thinking about?
JD: Uh.
CB: You tell me about that, the girl going back to Japan?
JD: Ah yeah, this is, uh, the last three months, well the beginning of the story actually [laugh] is, uh.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: My roommate, one of the fraternity brothers, who I, uh, moved in with up at Lake Norman. His name is ( ). He works, he does, uh, uh, he does a lot of promotion in town. He does like, uh, Center City Feast, that own World Mardi Gras, that kind of thing, anyway.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: I moved in with him. And his girlfriend at the time, when I moved in was this girl named Jennifer ( ). And, just the most beautiful, coolest girl you've every met in your life. And, but, I never really got a chance to get to know her that well, while she was dating him. Well they broke up.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: This is like three years ago when I met her.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: They broke up like six months ago, I think four, five or six months ago, and uh, and we just started hanging out.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Just really hanging out hard core. I mean just like falling in love, basically hanging out, you know just having a really good time together. Well, she just decided that she has to get out of Charlotte. She has to get away, get away for now, go, go somewhere else and get, get her perspective on things and, uh, one of the guys that she had once dated, lives in Japan, invited her and her sister to come to Japan. So, uh, she's leaving for Japan. Basically, today was her last day.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And we've just been hanging out like every single weekend. Just every time we get a chance and today was a good vibe. So, that's, it's been a good vibe the last couple of weeks. But, it's been like pretty intense. So, that's been kind of hard for her. That's been big.
CB: Did she, did she graduate from college?
JD: She went to UNCC. Yeah.
CB: Uh, oh, ok, ok.
JD: She's younger though, I am thirty. She's like twenty-six.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: She has the same birthday as my brother. That's the weird thing. I mean we have just like these weird little connections, like that.
CB: Yeah, well maybe you will see her again, you know, it sounds like.
JD: I am actually hopeful. I really am. I don't know why, I just am.
CB: It's kind of hard to turn down an invitation to Japan too.
JD: Yeah.
CB: It would seem that way.
JD: Yeah, I told her that I would go [laugh].
CB: [Laugh]
JD: You know, but the thing is, the hard part is I really don't know if I will see her again or if she will fall in love with this guy there.
CB: Yeah.
JD: I don't know what's going to happen in one month, six months. It's really, but we, she's the first girl really who ever asked me to go to church with her. Which is kind of, I didn't realize, is an important thing in my life. But, now I look back on my life and say yeah, very important. But uh, and, uh, we started going to this Covenant Presbyterian Church together.
CB: Oh yeah.
JD: We just, would meet at lunch time, like go over like Wednesday. Have this little 15 minute session you know, a bunch of old people.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Sitting in there and we would just sneak in there, and all it would be just, just us on the two back rows.
CB: Where is that church?
JD: It's on Morehead. It's right across from, uh, like, 9-11.
CB: Ah, ok, what, what size is it?
JD: It's pretty big. I don't know. It looks, it's got several buildings, ( ) buildings. It's called Covenant Presbyterian Church.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: It's pretty nice.
CB: Is that, you said you work over there?
JD: No, I work. Uh, I just took a new job with IBM. I am a consultant for them now.
CB: Oh, wow, over by the college?
JD: Ah, actually I work out of my house and I fly to clients, I fly to Chicago right now every week. I leave Monday morning, uh, they've got a corporate apartment in Chicago for me to stay at.
CB: Man.
JD: And, I fly back on Thursday nights, uh, and play music on the weekends and what I had been doing was hanging out with Jennifer too.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: So, uh, that's pretty much what I've been doing, that's pretty much been the most whirlwind thing happening to me. I guess I just focus on the recent stuff in my life versus stuff when I was a kid.
CB: Yeah.
JD: But.
CB: Can, can you see, uh, like, uh, stories that you tell now, can you see it, them been affected by how you, how you grew up, or?
JD: Yeah, yeah, and I didn't, didn't realize it but yeah, you see, sometime just don't realize it, but thinking back on it definitely. You get, I am extremely independent. And I, when I moved away from my parents basically I grew up, learned how to do everything for myself, wash your own clothes, clean the house, take care of yourself.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And so, I'm just, you know it's, having, uh, having had that kind of background and growing up, makes me slightly different. I handle situations a little bit differently than some people, so.
CB: What, what do you think it is that draws you to music? Is it something-.
JD: It's, it's a spiritual quality, for me man. I don't know, uh, it's, it's something that, uh, like affects me emotionally and like, uh, actually physically too, like I can feel emotion really well up inside.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And, and, and express myself, I don't know, it's a real, uh, physical and mental stimulus for me [laugh]. And, and I've always been that way. And, I think back, I've always loved music. Even before I ever thought about playing, uh, in the junior, being real little, singing in the chorus, you know before my voice even changed.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: I'm singing in the car, I mean I remember one time I'm singing in the car and I couldn't sing, and uh, my brother just turning to me and saying, "John, please, please, just shut up." [Laugh]
CB: [Laugh]
JD: He said, "You sing terrible." But, going away to school is where I learned how to sing to, so, it was.
CB: Oh, yeah.
JD: I had a choral professor who went to Davidson.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: And he, he got a, a chemistry degree at Davidson but he was teaching chorus at my high school, which is called A French Camp Academy.
CB: And, this is in Mississippi?
JD: And, this is in Mississippi, he taught me, uh, he taught me how to sing, that was cool.
CB: How was that place, was that place pretty, is it a little culture shock, going down there?
JD: It was definitely a culture shock going down there. Coming from Pennsylvania first off, which I didn't, I didn't realize it was a real North, South thing until I got to the South [laugh]. They're still pissed off. They lost the Civil War [laugh].
CB: [Laugh]
JD: It's so true, I, for the first month there they called me Yankee.
CB: Ah.
JD: No, no doubt, and it, it, I didn't know quite how to take it. But I, I pretty much just blew it off. But I, first they didn't know my name. But, they knew I was from the North. I had this Northern accent. I was just like, "What? You are a bunch of rednecks." [Laugh]
CB: [Laugh] Were most of the people from the South that went to school?
JD: Yeah, yeah, they were from like Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, that, that whole area. It was weird how I got down there. The president of the school was the pastor of the church that [phone ringing] my mom and dad belonged to when they were young. And uh, he moved to Mississippi to run this school. And then, then my parents moved up North. And when they got divorced my mom wanted to go see him, just to talk to him, and uh, which he was working at this school.
CB: Right.
JD: So [phone ringing] when we got down there and saw this school, just wanted me to go there I guess. It was a trip. But, that's when I first fell in love with the South.
CB: Oh yeah.
JD: Actually, it was because Southern people are so dam nice. I just couldn't get over how nice everyone was and how polite with actual manners. You know, and how people like wave at you.
CB: Huh.
JD: Not even know who you are, you know.
CB: Have, have you been, up to the North, uh, recently, or?
JD: Up to Chicago. I've, I've been hanging out in Chicago.
CB: Is it, do you still feel like you like you belong more in the South.
JD: Absolutely
CB: Oh yeah.
JD: Uh-huh, that's my home now. I mean I've been in Charlotte 12 years, that's the longest I've been anywhere. Uh, I've moved you know from all away around. From the east coast pretty much. My dad lives in Maine now.
CB: Oh yeah.
JD: So, it's like, I'm one of the few people that I know of that has actually settled in like Charlotte. I just love, love this town. It has everything I need, uh, or that I am looking for.
CB: What do you like most about it?
JD: Uh, everybody, the people, the people, I think the people are what make this city great.
CB: Is there, certain, certain qualities about them, or?
JD: Yeah, just, uh, uh, the ones, that I've hang out with anyway, uh, are very friendly. They're not out to, to hurt anybody.
CB: Huh.
JD: Generally, they're, they're, there's a definite musical theme to my friends. And just music is involved in most everybody I know in some way or other. If it's either just appreciation for it, or, uh, or actually playing it. Uh, and there's, and, which is that is such a big thing for me. When, so, I find a bunch of people like that, that's cool. And, and Charlotte though it may not be a great music talent in itself as far as start up bands-.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: -We get a lot of great music through here.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Or, or relatively, short driving distance. Uh, you know, there's several things, that's that I'm grateful that I discovered in college when I was in Charlotte. And that, uh, had a big affect on my taste in music. Phish and all those bands, county jam bands.
CB: Um, yeah it seems it's a real livable city.
JD: It really is.
CB: It's not all, not all, in the North.
JD: Right.
CB: You have those segments, you know, you have, uh, little pieces. It's like a whole city here.
JD: Right, right, it really is. It is a big town. We call it C-town for short.
CB: Uh-huh.
JD: Just because it's just a big town and everybody knows each other. But, uh, plus you know the fact that, uh, people like to travel from here. It's not, like, uh, anything here, except the city itself, the trees. But, uh, there is no physical landmark, like a mountain or something [laugh].
CB: No rivers.
JD: No rivers, you know, so, uh, the closest thing to it is Lake Norman. So, so people like to get out of here to go you know, to travel. But as far as living permanently, I like to live here.
CB: ( )
JD: But I like to go see other things. I can go down to Atlanta in three and one half hours, and be in DC in five.
CB: You got the mountains.
JD: You got the mountains yeah.
CB: Yeah, you're right a good home base.
JD: It is very centrally located, weather is great. It is really, really mild weather. Which I really realize that I don't like about the North as well [laugh].
CB: Extremes ( ) to the 90s.
JD: You still get as hot. Yeah, it gets just as hot there.
CB: Yeah.
JD: And muggy and, I mean uh, I like, I like Denver. Denver is really nice out west. I mean that's, that's kind, uh, what I like to do, to do, I like to travel as well. Even, I really can't afford to travel like heavily you know, or uh, anything like that. But, uh as far as like for fun that's definitely thing, uh, I like to do. That's a good central base for that.
CB: OK, alright, that will do it.
JD: Really.
CB: Yeah.
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