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Interview with Lenny Mackey

Mackey, Lenny
Cleveland, Vicki
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures; Then and now
Lenny Mackey talks about a childhood accident and his family.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Vicki Cleveland interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
VC (Vicki Cleveland): This is Vicki Cleveland interviewing-.
LM (Lenny Mackey): Lenny. Lenny Mackey.
VC: On November 6th, 1998. Uh, so Lenny, tell me about where you were born.
LM: Uh, I was born in Mooresville, North Carolina in the year 1956.
VC: 1956.
LM: Yes, a long time ago.
VC: Wow, that's interesting.
LM: Hundreds of years ago.
VC: Is there any particular thing, um, that happened between when you were born and now that has made an impact on your life?
LM: Um, [pause] not necessarily an impact but just certain things, I mean, you know, certain events that happened. Not anything that sent my directions you know in this, in a certain way or walk a certain way or live a certain way. Uh, besides normal things that happened during the course of a life, you know, hurt, enjoyment, and things like that, you know, physical pain, emotional pain, emotional joy, physical health, you know, good things. Does this, does this make any sense? No.
VC: Well, maybe if you just pick one.
LM: Uh, [pause] I could tell you about one of the worst birthdays I ever had.
VC: That's fine.
LM: I was about seven or eight years old. Uh, had a big party at our house and I had, uh, two brothers and one sister and I'm the second oldest. And I think I was seven or eight or whatever it was. And my younger brother and myself were having a birthday party together with everybody invited from the church, etcetera, etcetera. So some of us boys got tough and went down into the woods, and uh, started playing around down in there and all this kind of stuff. It wasn't too bad, I mean, we were just having fun and all that and this might not mean anything, but for some reason I remember this more than anything for most birthdays for some reason. Uh, and we were barefooted 'cause it was in the summertime because my birthday's in August. And so we went down the woods to fight and all this kind of stuff and then, uh, somehow I stepped on some broken glass and, uh, it, uh, sliced up my left foot real good.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: And, uh, I finally got back up to the house and everybody going crazy, you know, I remember that, you know, my mother and aunts and uncles, you know, things like that, family, and they finally got the blood stopped but I never have forgotten about that for some reason. And, uh, to this day I haven't walked back in the woods barefooted. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, you know, but, you know, uh, to me that I had, you know, that was a birthday where I was having a good time, but physical pain was involved, but the thing is, the important thing is that, you know, I still have that bonding with my family as far as the togetherness, uh, we've all went our separate ways and all that, but we come together as a family and we really love one another and care for one another, we get mad at one another. But a lot of this is, over the years, we talk about these old stories, that's one of mine. Uh, and of course, when we get together, they add things to it and make it better than what it is and I do the same with them too, you know. But, uh, the thing is that, what comes out of it, we end up sharing with one another where as we feel that some families don't share the way that we do. Of course that's, we're living in our world, OK? Um, but that helps us as a family, that helps us, you know, that helps us to bond together, stick together and we're apart, you know, we can count on one another. Uh, that day, you know, my oldest brother and youngest brother was the ones that helped me to get back up to the, you know, the house 'cause I couldn't hardly walk with it cut.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: You know, uh, but the assistance of the family that I have received, you know, since I was born and raised up in, even to this day, which is, like I said, hundreds of years later.
VC: // [Laughs] //
LM: // Uh, // has never went away.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: We've had our problems but we, we've, we've always come through those problems, we've had our hurts, we've had our deaths in our families, you know, sicknesses and, but we've always stuck by one another whereas we each, I know as far as my, my siblings, we feel like that's a bond, that's a closeness that we'll share 'til we leave this earth, and um, and we try to remain that way, and you know, but sometimes it's hard. Somebody you grew up with, you want to fight them, you know, that's happened, you know, but that's part of life, most of that's verbal, though, that's not physical.
VC: Well, do you think that, did, that day when you cut your foot, you mentioned that and then right behind that, you mention how close the bond is with your family. Was that the first time that you recognized how close you were?
LM: Probably so, because like I said, I was around seven or eight and I remember things before, you know, like before I ever went to school at five or six years old, falling off a little building that I'd climbed up on and getting hurt. But this was different, uh, it was just, I think, I had a real, what's the word, realization? I can't talk right, that, about the closeness of the family and things like that and, and, uh, those things have never left me, you know. Like I said, we went our separate ways and all that, you know, but, uh, we still have our, we have different walks in life. We, you know, we don't see the same on certain issues and things like that, but we still have that, that bond. But I think that was probably one of the first, if not the first times that I really realized how close we were, you know because, it was just a, a joining together. I don't know if a certain age, you start, you know, they talk about the age of accountability. Maybe that was part of mine, I don't know.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: You know, realizing the sense of family, you know, what family was supposed to mean. You know, not the way, not dictating what it means to somebody else, but, or what the world says it should mean and what it meant to us. And, you know, I appreciate that. That's, that's good. It's still with me.
VC: I see, that's good. So when you and your family get together now, those are the kinds of things you do.
LM: Oh yeah, we talk about all kinds of stuff. We talk about, uh, things we did when we were in school, you know, uh, high school, what we done after that, uh, what some of us are still doing since we graduated from high school back in the early days, you know, back in old days. And you know, uh, we still remember it, uh, I kid one of my brothers about their 10th grade picture that, that was taken about 30 years ago, you know what I mean?
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: That's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
VC: // [Laughs] //
LM: // And // the whole family knows it and they'll laugh about it and they do the same to me, you know. So we don't forget that kind of stuff. Now I think that comes from knowing each other the way that we do. You know, because when you know somebody and you're close to them, you think alike, you really do. I mean, the way you, I don't think that mankind can read minds. I don't think we can read thoughts, but you have that bond, I think you can share some of the same thoughts at the same moment.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: I really do. You know and that goes on a lot with us. You know, you know you close to somebody, you know what the other one's thinking. You say something that they say, "Yeah, yeah," you know, but, uh, it's good.
VC: Yeah. How do you think that happens? The, the, the knowledge that, you kind of think that, do you think that it's partly, uh, that you were raised by the same people. // Where I know it's a closeness. //
LM: //I think it was, // I think it was raised by the same people and, and we were raised, now this is us and we don't push our beliefs or whatever on everybody else, we was raised with a sense of, of God, you know what I mean? With a knowledge of God the way it was taught to us by our father and mother, you know and not saying that we exactly walked the straight and narrow the way that we should the way that some people think that we may should or the way that we feel that we should at times, you know. But that has never left any of us as far as we know where our roots come from.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: And I think a lot of that has because we were raised this, you know, not better than anyone else, don't mean that, it's just that we were raised with that sense of knowing that in our hearts and our beliefs, there's somebody higher than us.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: You know, whether we look at that being or that higher power all the time or not, it's just that we acknowledge that being, you know, that higher power, although we get a little mean at times, you know. But we know where we came from. But I think it has a lot to do with it. I think my brothers and my sister would agree with that.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: Uh, 'cause I know how they talk about things like that and, and their certain beliefs. I think, you know, we hit along, we, we hit that a lot, you know, you have those thoughts. And, uh, I think also at times that has a tendency to not to necessarily make you mad at them, but you have anger at them because you don't understand, that's the anger part, you don't understand why they're doing that.
VC: Uh-huh.
LM: You know what I mean? Such as a younger brother working two jobs when he's a manager on one job working for a big cable company for the world, making good money, thinks he's got to work two jobs to keep that big expensive house, OK? Whereas, his wife don't work. I understand, I'm the same way, married, my wife have to work, she don't want to. But we don't understand why this is, well, let me shut up. I get upset over that. See we just don't under-, you know what I mean. Uh, we might not understand what each other does, but that does not change the love that have or where we're coming from because that same brother, we can just get and just talk and I'll talk to him about that, you know. But he'll tell me what he's going to do or whatever, you know, but that's OK. We still have that bond so, uh, that's never left. I've repeated myself a bunch of times. You have-.
VC: That's really OK, it's OK. It shows to me it shows what's important to you and that's good. That's good [Pause] Well, I thank you very much.
LM: You're welcome.
VC: I really appreciate it.
LM: You're welcome.