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Interview with Alicia Peters

Peters, Alicia
Waldron, Joan
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures; Tolerance and respect; Cultural identification; Then and now; Relationships with people and places
Alicia Peters discusses some of her favorite things, including music.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Joan Waldron interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JW (Joan Waldron): Okie-doke. I'm going to ask you some questions. Um, what is your name?
AP (Alicia Peters): Alicia Gail Peters.
JW: And when is your birthday?
AP: The 9th of May in the year of 1983.
JW: OK. You're 19 and you're going to be 20 soon.
AP: Yes.
JW: And what is your country of origin?
AP: The United States of America.
JW: And have you ever lived in any other countries?
AP: No, but I've visited them.
JW: Uh-huh. And, um, how long have you been in the Charlotte area?
AP: Uh, almost five years.
JW: OK. And your native language is English?
AP: Jah \\ [laugh]. \\
JW: \\ [Laugh] \\
AP: Da. Oui.
JW: OK. I will take that as a, "Yes." Uh, what other languages do you speak?
AP: Uh, I can speak Spanish.
AP: Un poquito.
JW: OK. And, uh, your education level?
AP: Uh, we just answered this. Um, I'm going to college right now, so, you can take it for what it's worth.
JW: And so you don't-, do you have a profession or are you just a college student?
AP: I have part-time work at a coffee shop, uh, called Starbucks, I don't know, it's a small little coffee shop, not many followers.
JW: What do you do there?
AP: I make coffee-.
JW: Uh-huh.
AP: -And espresso drinks, which is also coffee. I am a barista-.
JW: Uh-huh.
AP: -And I slave over a hot bar to make you delicious coffees.
JW: What a, what a great kid.
AP: [Laugh]
JW: Do you have any stories you'd like to tell?
AP: Well, see, it all started in a faraway land called New Jersey in the year-, just try to remember back to 1983, and God said, "You know, the world's just not beautiful enough."
JW: \\ [Laugh] \\
AP: \\ [Laugh] \\ So on that blessed day of the 9th of May, and I'm a poet and I don't even know it, God said, "Let there be light in Ridgewood, New Jersey." And so, and it was so. And on that day, a beautiful baby girl by the name of Clarice, no, no, by the name of Alicia [laugh] was born, and she was a good little girl, never cried, always woke up to eat her meals, and she was [laugh] she was a good girl. And now the real story. She, um, she didn't like her mommy for about the first two years of her life. She is a brat and she did not wake up for her meals and her mother poured cold wa-, cold water on her head to wake her up because she was a bad little baby. And her brother, on the other hand, who was God's little gift to the world, was a good baby. But she was not a good baby. Anyway, so time went on and her brother Alex and her played, and her grandmother had a little creek in front of her house and you had to cross a little bridge to get to her house. And her house was an igloo, but not like ice igloo. Not like, um, she, she sat there in the winter and, you know, she ate baby seals for food or anything. She lived in New York which is far, far, far away from North Carolina, farther than you can imagine.
JW: New York City?
AP: No [laugh]. In the country, in the rolling hills of New York. In the mountains where, where fresh water just rolled down the mountains into the creeks and you could cup your hands and see clear water and just taste the crispness like, "Poland Springs, [singing], what it means [laugh] to be from ME." Just like that. And there were flowers everywhere and, and you could run and be free and no one was ever killed or kidnapped except if you ran in front of a car or you were kidnapped [laugh]. This is a funny story, you're supposed to be laughing by now. Anyway, so it was upstate New York in the mountains in a small little town called Round Top, which was a-, which was a part of a bigger small little town called Cairo, which is part of a bigger small little region called Catskills, which is part of the bigger small region of the, um, Appalachian Mountains, and yes, it is Appa-lay-chee-an and not Appa-latch-ee-ann. And, um, which is known as, was it the Adirondacks? I think it was part of the Adirondacks, isn't it? Anyway, if it's not, then it's just the Appalachian Mountains, which is actually the highlands. If you, if you actually went to school, it's not the mountains anymore because they're too little. Anyway, so we lived in the Appalachian highlands of New York, and my grandmother was quite eccentric but she was a very, very, very cool grandmother. And you should be, you should be jealous because you didn't have her and I did. And, um, she-, we would, Alex and I would play in the creek and we would catch little froggies and Alex would throw algae at me at the spring 'cause he called it goo and he thought it was funny. And we'd take rocks and we wet them and we'd scratch them against other rocks and make Indian paints, which is very politically correct if you notice, and, and then my grandmother, Kay Kay, which we called her because her name was Karen but everybody called her Kay, and then she said, "Well, well, when Alicia's born and Alex is born, I want to be called Kay Kay." So we just called her Kay Kay. And she would make picnics for us and we'd sit in the creek or we'd go into the woods of the Appalachian Mountains which is part-, which is the Catskill Mountains, which is actually part of the Appalachian Mountains in New York where there's rolling hills, and we've already been through this, and, uh, glacier rocks and we called them the Big Rocks because we were too stupid or little to know any better and we'd have picnics out there, too. And Alex and I used to build tree houses out there which is where one time, Alex and I and his friend, Robert, who we called Oobie, um, we would build a tree house and they're all building a tree house and I, I said, " Well, I want to help." And they said, "If you help, Alicia, we'll let you be in our tree house." And so I worked very hard. And once I threw a, a well, I didn't throw, but I dropped a hammer on my brother's head and [laugh] that was kind of funny looking back at that, um, so I helped them make a little tree house and then when we were almost done, Robert and Alex decided that I couldn't be in the their tree house, so I decided to make my own little tree house with a trap door and made entirely of two by fours because I thought it would be cooler that way. Anyway, halfway through it, I was coming out of my little tree house, um, little-, I don't know what you call it, just like the outside crap, it wasn't, it wasn't finished, anyway, I was coming out of the tree house and there was a board with two little nails in it and I decided to plant my little tootsies on, on, on one of them and I punctured two little holes in my foot and I walked all the way back to my dad's and then we went to the hospital, which is fun and we got a tetanus shot. And that, and that is nice, but, um, that's what I remember about New York. My grandmother died in 1991. Her intestines twisted and then exploded. They twisted and then they exploded. Are you following me? I don't know [laugh] let me-, they twisted and then they exploded, didn't they?
JW: No.
AP: Yes they did. They twisted. Her intestines twisted.
JW: She had-.
AP: Anyway, moving right along, um, I lived with my mommy a lot and once she took me to Florida because she wanted me to experience the magic of Disney World when I was a baby. And I was like, four years old at the time and I was a cute little kid, even though I was a brat. And, um, we took the choo-choo train down for like a couple of days and I went with my two aunts, Auntie Kim and Auntie Amy, which are my mommy's sisters and we stayed at the Days Inn and we went to Disney World and we saw Mickey Mouse, even though I did not believe that Mickey Mouse could be in all those places at the same time. And we went on this ride with-, had, they had, um, Figment who was a purple dinosaur and he wasn't real, hence the name Figment. And we got into the gift shop that ends all great rides and, um, I saw Figment and I said, "Mommy, I want Figment." She said, "No, you have enough souvenirs little girl. You don't need a Figment." I said, "Mommy, I want a Figment." She says, "Look, you already have a Daisy hat and that stupid Mickey Mouse hat has your name on it and all that crap. You don't need that." So Mommy, 'cause I was only four, although I'm sure if I was 19 and this happened, I would do the same thing. I'd say, I said, "Mommy, I want a Figment," and I had a temper tantrum and started kicking and causing a scene and I did get my Figment and, um, I don't have Figment anymore I lost him somewhere when I was probably 11 or so. And, uh, so that was the story of Figment, but I'm sure that my mom had a great time with, uh, with, going to Florida with us when we were four or five, or three and four, one of those two. We were really young and, um, every five minutes we were either hungry or thirsty or tired [laugh]. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night and, uh, so we could go to the Electric Parade or whatever and I wasn't too excited about that, when you're asleep, it doesn't seem too exciting. And, um, so as time went on, this beautiful baby girl by the name of Alicia Gail Peters, born in Ridgewood, New Jersey far, far away from Charlotte, North Carolina, I'm sure you've never even heard of it, or New Jersey, I know, it's quite rare. Anyway, um, she grew and now she was like 13, or so, and she became obsessed with this band called the Smashing Pumpkins. And for you new, um, aliens and stuff, with-, when you listen to this, I'm sorry, I don't speak your native language, but, um, when you translate this, the Smashing Pumpkins are a band, OK? And they're a good band and they're known as alternative rock. And if you could see me I'm putting my tiny little fingers up in quotation marks which means that's what other people call it, but not me. And, um, headed by this guy named Billy Corgan. Um, some people called him Uncle Fester, or, or you know, the person who killed rock music, but don't listen to them, that's not true. Um, anyway, they're a totally good band and they started in 1988 in Chicago, Ill-in-noise, and, um, [laugh], she's laughing at me, Chica-, Chicago, Illinois, and they were, um, they're a tiny little band and then they finally grew, and, uh, if you find an old CD which is known as a Compact Disc, um, they're things you play music on, which is the stuff that bands make, um, you'll probably hear this song called, uh, "Bullet With Butterfly Wings." A lot of people like to call it, "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage." Anyway, they're a really good band and I have 62 of their CDs and I had probably about ten of their posters, but I've weaned it down to about five. Some of them got ripped and such. And I have a T-shirt for every day of the week, although I probably haven't worn them in three, no, that's a lie, probably two years. Um, I know all their lyrics. Um, this is over the course of many, many, many, many years. Probably a third of my life. Um, what else? Alicia moved to Charlotte. She used to live in, uh, New York, she moved to Charlotte about five years ago and she really didn't want to. She considers, well, she considered, Charlotte to be fake, although there are some outliers in that little equation thingy, or that survey or statistics, whatever you want to call it. Um, some people are not, not fake, if you actually look hard enough. Uh, my favorite part of Charlotte is either the talking mall, which is actually in Concord, which is also known as Concord Mills. It's bilingual if you didn't know that. It says, "Welcome to Concord Mills," "Bienvenidos a Concord Mills. Usted esta pasando a la entrada del numero tres," or whatever number you're going to. Yeah, anyway, so it is bilingual. So many, many people can come, although it does not speak Ebonics, so [laugh] anyway, um, moving right along, um, my other favorite part of, of Charlotte is the Light Up Building, which is at 7th Street Station. You can run around and make it talk and glow and stuff, it's very cool. Um, I'm saying, "Um" a lot.
JW: ( )
AP: Aliens, when I say, "Um," it doesn't mean anything at all, OK? It doesn't mean anything. It's, it's like a filler. It's like instead of saying nothing at all, we say, "Um." In France I heard that they go, "Poof." That's what I've heard that they go, "Pthhh," but in Spanish, I don't know what they do. Maybe they just go, "Ahhhhhh, yo no se, yo no se." OK. So anyway, "um," in English means nothing at all, unless you're saying, "um-mmmmmbrella," or "um-pire," but "um" by itself doesn't mean anything at all. "Uh" either, by the way. START OF TRACK 2
JW: Do you have any more stories? Things that happened to you?
AP: Su-, sure I do, sure. My life is not that short that I don't have anything to talk about. I'll talk about [sings] hmm, hmm, hmm, [laugh], let's talk about, what should I talk about?
JW: Hmm, let's think, how about the time that, um, you went to Europe?
AP: Oh. In the year 2000, the, um, blessed child, Alicia [laugh], I'm not really egocentric, I promise. Um, Alicia went to-, I'll talk in the first person, to Europe, and, uh, my band director, at the time I was a junior in high school, did-, uh-, picked a couple out of his band who were really good and he said, "You know what? You guys can go on the Ameri-, go on the American Music Abroad Tour, except you have to pay for it." And we went to seven different countries. Um, a couple of my friends went with me. And we met a lot of people from New Jersey and from Virginia and from New York. A lot of-, it was mostly from the east coast American Music Abroad 'cause we had a special tour that had like five or six different tours and the one that we went on was called the red tour. And so we traveled-, we started out, um, we went to, uh, Brussels first, we had to make a connecting flight from England, even though we just stayed in the, uh, airport, we didn't explore England at all, so technically we first visited Brussels, which is in Belgium, if you don't know. Um, it's called the Belgium dip. And, uh, it seems to always rain in Belgium. And then I think we went to Holland where I met my 'Hollish' family. And 'Hollish' is not a real word. And, uh, in Holland we actually had a host family where we got to stay with them for two or three nights. We stayed in their-, we didn't stay at a hotel or anything, we stayed in their home and they showed us around and talked to us. They all spoke English, which was good, for Americans. Um, so that was cool and they showed, we went-, well my house family went to this place called the Madurodam? Which is actually, it's really cool. It's all of Holland because Holland's kind of small, um, it's everything miniaturized like all their, their famous places that are in Holland and all the cool stuff in Holland, everything is like tiny buildings and you can walk around. It's like a park. You can walk around and see like miniaturized versions and everything is like perfectly made, whatever. And there's a little brochure that goes with it so you can understand that, "OK, this place is this and this place is that." Um, they have a really cool chocolate bar called Bounty which is kind of like Mounds. And at the end of trip there's like a little building and if you put in like, I don't know, like a Hollish coin in, you get like, a little truck comes out with little candy in it and you get to eat it and they're really good. Um, we didn't go to Amsterdam because my family didn't find it appropriate to go to. But we did walk around and we went to, um, a McDonald's. And they fed us lots and lots of french fries, so, or Freedom Fries. So if you go there, don't, don't be surprised if you have a Hollish family that eat lots of french fries. But we went to McDonald's and they were selling Winnie the Pooh stuff and Eeyore is called, uh, Leeyore, I think, in Holland. Anyway, so we went to a couple of other places. I don't remember the order of this but we went to Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland, France. I think that's seven. Did I miss one? Belgium is Brussels. I already said that one. Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, France-.
JW: Austria.
AP: Austria, which is my favorite out of all the countries that I went to. If you've, if you've ever seen pictures of Austria, it's exactly what, what Austria is. I mean, there's little shops, I got jelly off a street vendor. I mean, cobblestone little, little streets. France is OK. I went to Paris and actually did walk up the Eiffel Tower. I did not take the elevator and I'm pretty proud of that. I figured if I'm only going to go there once or twice or whatever times in my life I'd better walk up the thing instead of being lazy and climb it or take the elevator. But it was really awesome up there. Um, but Paris is just like another city to me. I mean, of course, it was in Europe and they have a little bit more, um, they're more accepting of the human body in advertising and such, but, uh, other parts of Europe are just so much more beautiful and so much more country like than I would suggest like Austria or, or parts of Germany. We went to this place called Dinkelsb