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Interview with James McCall

McCall, James
Collins, Kim
Date of Interview: 
Childhood adventures; Relationships with people and places
James McCall talks about flipping a Volkswagon every morning before school and rescuing his daughter from the lake.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Kim Collins interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JM (James McCall): Okay so like I got this drinking problem. Anyway and now if they came out with a six pack like this, I could buy one a week. I'd be down to a six pack a week. Aren't you so proud of me? I don't want to do this. Do I have to? Can I just talk like this? ( ) Is it recording now? [Break in recording] My family, their from Charlotte, their family is from some other place like Mars or somewhere else, another planet. They were, ah, I grew up on the south side of Charlotte Southside of Charlotte. Southside. I went to several schools. Which grade? First through sixth, I went to Nations Ford Elementary. Seventh through ninth, I went to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. High which is bad section of town. You've probably never heard of it. Anyway, grew up on south side, a pretty good childhood, um, passed all my grades other than burning down the mailboxes and turning that Volkswagen over, egged a few houses.
KC (Kim Collins): Tell me about that.
JM: Both things? There was a guy named, um, his name was Billy Hanes and he had a Volkswagen parked out there on the curb and every morning when we, uh, congregated at the bus stop waiting on the bus we turned the Volkswagen over.
KC: You literally turned it over on it's side s o when he'd come out to go to work it was turned over?
JM: We didn't do it every morning just like every other morning [laugh] as long as he parked it there we flipped it over it was easy. We was on vacation up in the mountains ( ), Blowing Rock. Little resort up there I had control of the kids I had Jesse and Alicia. Jesse was three and Alicia was four months. At the time the wife went shopping with her parents, so I thought I'd take them down there by the lake, you know. One minute Jesse was walking beside me, I was strolling Alicia. I got down to the park bench on a little bank, pretty lake, and behind them the backdrop was a gazebo, flowers and stuff. I had my camcorder. I wanted to take some pictures of you. Well Jesse was sitting on the bench and had Alicia in her stroller right beside her and you know I was looking through the view finder out there and I was looking out filming them then I lifted up to get the backdrop the flowers and stuff around the gazebo and as I'm looking, I hear this noise splash like somebody dove into the lake. I turned around and it seemed like a long time but it was really like just three or four seconds, realized that Jesse had pushed the stroller head first into the lake. The only thing that was sticking out of the water was the rear wheels of that stroller. She went down that quick [snaps finger) then in like a split second your adrenaline pumps so much you know. I lifted her out of the water with one arm. Swear to God. One arm over my head and sat her down and, ah, she was a, her face just purple. That water was fifty-four degrees. She had sand coming out of her nose and ah, I freaked out, all the safety shit I been. And this lady, thank God was nearby, 'cause you start, her mouth, trying to clean her mouth out, but she was hacking you know so I knew she was getting some air in there so I didn't do no CPR or nothing like that. You probably couldn't have anyway. I was freaking. She was turning purple as a grape. That was scary, pumped her stomach out, she was fine. She don't remember it, but I do. I had it on tape up until I dropped it. Well you can hear me. The last thing I say was "Jesse." It went snow, never could watch that again.