Katrina Watson and Courtney Gilbert

Recorded January 29, 2020 Archived January 29, 2020 37:53 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019611


Cousins Katrina Watson (26) and Courtney Gilbert (28) reflect on the summers they spent at their grandmother's house in Tennessee and how their parents created the space for them to make wonderful memories with each other throughout their childhoods.

Subject Log / Time Code

CG and KW reflect on the summers they spent together as kids at their grandmother's house in Tennessee.
CG and KW recall the bugs, creams and mishaps of their childhoods.
CG describes their late grandmother's basement and some of the memories they . had in that house.
CG recalls a breakfast the family had together one summer. She and KW reflect on the importance of those summers.
CG and KW remember their late grandmother, what she was like, and how she liked to bond with her family.
KW and CG recall the performances the kids would put on.
KW talks about her relationship with one of her aunts. CG and KW reflect on the adults' relationships.
CG and KW recall the dogs of their childhood.
CG and KW remember a summer RV trip their families took to Nebraska and Florida.
CG and KW reflect on how their parents were able to create spaces for them to make memories.


  • Katrina Watson
  • Courtney Gilbert

Recording Location

Downtown Santa Monica



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00:03 My name is Courtney Gilbert. I'm 28 years old. Today's date is Wednesday, January 29th in the year 2020. I am in Santa Monica California. The name of my interview partner is Katrina of that and she is my first cousin.

00:21 My name's Catrina. I am 27 years old. So I'm 26 years old. Today is Wednesday, January 29th. I am in Santa Monica California and the name of the interview partner I have is Courtney Gilbert. She is my first cousin. Hey Gilbert.

00:48 So yeah, we're totally cousins for sure and we've had so many awesome times and memories together. And that's like one of the reasons why I thought I would be like the cool to come here and do that because I've always thought it was interesting. Like like I said, we would spend Summers together and so many of my friends like At first cousins like that live like around the corner from them and like I knew like as soon as I get the summer comes back I'm going to see you all and then it was completely different from where I grew up like we were up in the city like a like a regular normal neighborhood house and I'm like, not only am I going to be like all my cousins, but I'm going to like be out in the middle of nowhere and like it was completely like that like, you know, like we didn't have access to Cable until we went to like Auntie's house or something like that. So it would literally just be like me and my brother you your sisters and your brothers and like it be perfect like it.

01:48 Looks like the right amount of like chaos and still fine. And then we had like family who is like also like partying around us. I got a memory like your mom like always having music like your dad sitting up with the DJ equipment like Rob still does that now like I think

02:07 Maybe after the funeral did we have like we basically had a party after the Nana passed party like so yeah, those are coming my feels but I was interested in knowing how you felt like when you knew someone was coming or at least like when you knew that like we would all see each other again. Like how was I feeling like I was always excited cuz I knew I'd see you and was like, that was just a for sure thing. Yeah, and you guys are so funny like the craziest stories on lady. What are they reading? Like they just seem more like more

02:51 What's the word on Wednesday educated? No way to it. Like they got big head like what has a big watermelon head. So and there is lots of stuff in it. Like you never not so much fun. Also, like family vacations like it was either, Tennessee or Florida, but it was like either way. I was going to see whether it be in the beginning of the summer or the end where I owe ya feels like

03:30 I think

03:33 I believe one summer you came to Maryland.

03:37 I want to say but I'm not sure that your house like a couple times and it's like been like sometimes in the summer, but I remember like a lot of times like everybody like in the winter. I remember one time it was like during Aunt Rita's funeral. Yeah married that and then I remember another time that we were there but I love dogs house. I remember I got on the motorcycle with your dad and I like your dad just got that motorcycle and like we rode around the block and then I got off and I have like short pants on or something and I just for a second. My leg touch like the pipes and I remember like coming back in the house. If I call Mommy like my leg issue my leg itches in like a hole burn like develops on my legs somehow. I ended up leaving your house and then we went back to Nana's house in Tennessee in like my develop.

04:37 And I remember like she like she got aloe from each other aloe plant and she like put aloe on it.

04:44 Do you remember that there was like a cream that Nana used to keep liking a green jar smells like Bengay. It smells like Bengay green and gold always be itching at Nana's house. I don't know what it was not strong didn't have a clue words. Will you call and chiggers? I was so terrified and my dad will always be like pull your socks up when you guys run outside cuz those triggers will get at you and stuff and I was like, I never really understood the concept of it. I got this new was like some kind of bug that was we get at you but it never happened to me. So I stuck it on all my gosh. I didn't know they had that cream and it would help but it was a player but then you'd have all these bumps on you like we had we were asthmatics me and Wes I know.

05:44 Do I remember you definitely remember in New York when he had the asthma attack in the family reunions yet? Like and that was like a crazy that was crazy to like cuz not only that he had a asthma attack and he likes survive that like he gets like rolling out on like a gurney in the middle of the night to go to the ER. He's seizing no are within like remember we were playing ring-around-the-rosy in the pool and then like that fat guy like rolled over on top of us.

06:15 We get out the water my brother like running around the pool slips and Beast. I remember that he looked at me like I'm going to come out the water and see like brains and blood and like and he pops right back up like it was nothing and more like my sister grabbing him and be my son me to sit down he is a big head though. I survived a lot less could live through it because I'm saying that like it when he was like maybe like a year-and-a-half like obviously like that you like, you know, like look at all the babies. I think maybe like Kendra was there when she was a baby and I basically called little grandbabies around and like the passing the babies around and like someone was just like I think my mom was trying to be like, oh I do, you know Wesley is like being really weird this week.

07:15 But he's not like, you know dealing with a while with strangers and stuff like just letting you guys know like he does this thing or he like jerks his head back. So I am acting like this big headed baby. Just letting people go like the babies my brother gets around to like my cat. So Nana and Nanos like all you have this baby. Let me see what's up with this baby and like he's not into in like goes back and I hit her in the chest with his head until like some kind of panicked like anything to happen to like me. So laying it down. So like they lay her down and like

08:02 Which was a big head. He's a big guy. Everyone thinks he plays football helmet full grown man. Always very like scary and legs or I got to go. It was definitely grew into it when we had one attack. Yeah. We dared him to eat a peanut. That was it. He didn't know he was allergic.

08:37 Things like cuz I just feel like we just kind of like when it was like all of us together we would just do whatever whatever we wanted to we have anything was like I remember getting a lotion fight one time. Do you know that we in the basement at Nana's house? And for whatever reason like we just felt like all these bottles of lotion and really bloated and we just like get the lotion or like like like either have eggs or something like that brand burns like you're going to suffer never happened like ducking into the bathroom. Let's talk about that basement at Nana's house then before I got to pay for your parents like did the re hole like I love it. Like I love being in that space we have to go cuz I told your mom also you should Airbnb this like cuz it looks like

09:37 Space so much but originally there was that like weird bath and I never wanted to use that bathroom cuz it was like you could look out the window and you could see like that like a basement is like basically like your house is in the McDonald's in the ground like the window. You can still see like the dirt and also because it was Uncle Joe's bedroom and my uncle Joe's room you sister me and I don't even know their wildin out like we would all be down there together and then his statues down there are some great are some really great artwork. We remember Patrick making out with what are you doing?

10:27 I like a moment by himself thinking nobody knows there's no way that he was life caressing in like passionate but I like that picture of Auntie that I don't give a damn. They're in some of the pictures that she they had on the walls there.

10:59 Aren't there anymore, but like I'm not too upset about that. I remember.

11:05 One time we were in the basement. I think we were like we were having like a dance party or something and we were like doing our version of at the Cheetah Girls, but for whatever reason like we could get cable in that room and I'm like we watch We want to watch Cheetah Girls like three times I do in that room and like we finally got like the dance moves together, but that's when I was like this place isn't that bad just room isn't that so much fun there? And yeah, I never went to that washroom. I I didn't know that Nana had like a laundry be like you coming out her house. That was terrible Mom and Nana used to get into it. Like she's I'm keeping these jars. She had like jars of jam in there that was like molding like eating away at the lives and my mom. She's like you can still use that like name is a hoarder. She needs oppression era.

12:01 Show me how long will use that you can put that in the freezer put in another jar and I'm like to bring out the preserves for breakfast play. Some of them we can probably use I also fighter that stays my brother love like Jamison like preserves like in Ohio. There's like always he's like different Amish places to Lego shop where they have like two different Goods that they have to go in there and get like a can of peach preserves and like like you are so like crazy breakfast with everything with everything like all the food will be there another breakfast that I remember. I think it was like right before the first Festival somehow like all the adults had disappeared. So it was like all of us.

12:55 And then Nana, we're at Nana's house and we were shocked is alive than two. So like Shaq's there to like Android Shack was like he would like to come and check in and then like disappear like he would be gone like doing his thing and for whatever reason he liked hanging out with us at home morning and then I was like, oh crap. I guess y'all are up. Wow. It's just me like Elsa parents are here.

13:18 To get some food. She cooks like leftover ham and stuff and I guess like we were like talking crap about it. Like my husband says she's like go outside and eat it. So we remember we ate it outside or neath the carport and then whatever reason cuz like I said, we like doing our own thing like we left the food and Shaq like ate all the food like every like all we don't have any breakfast. We're hungry hungry like all the adults go back. At least I go to that reunions need to go back to Hampton hiring union now that I might remember that they would be having like a good old time and it's just leave it alone and Nana like she don't know what's good. They don't tell her nothing, but she forgot the house look like it would be like, what's 6 of us maybe seven?

14:11 Robert wouldn't come with sometimes. Robert will need anything for a while. I'm a set of my older sister too. Cuz there's a slight what am I going to do? If my sister didn't know that Robert wasn't coming then she was she wouldn't, like she would like. Oh, I have a job, you know, like get a summer job in the city in like stay back and I feel like the same thing with like your brother. If Rob New Amber wasn't coming then he was like how I felt like,

14:47 If you and Wes wasn't coming. I was like I was like, I don't want to go and at one point I remember like I wasn't seeing you guys for summer and I was like what I did. See you guys. I remember just crying when y'all would leave. Yeah. I remember that suck know it daily feels like a big part of our summer. We like the feeling of, looks like we would do like Christmas or something together. Like I said, it was like really hard at that time. We were still way too young to like get on the phone and like call each other. Right? Like it just like that in person interaction was like really it like Empire like I knew you were lucky cuz like my dad would never like be like you're not going to see your car where I least. He'd knew that your mom or someone else wasn't going to be there to like he wasn't just going to go like hang out with and I wouldn't either

15:47 When I got older and I was able to live with them and like hanging out with me and I was like really really cool. But I obviously like she was like and like her Twilight of Life play really sweet and like we just remember like so many like random things I can remind time. I asked her if they call what are your favorite animals and she was like kittens and bunnies and she just made a mistake zactly. But one thing she would always do with it. And I feel like I missed this part early. So I avoided it so much growing up. Is that like she obviously wanted everybody in the bed with her. Like I remember my mom being like it was so weird to like try to talk to your dad. I talk about my dad not being like hey, you know, like we need to figure this out in like he's like laying in the bed with his mom.

16:34 I like that's what she would want to do. Like I said she would do that. Like I would go past her room and she might come in here and I got to get in the bed with her like we would talk and then I don't know if you know them like cousin Carrie pearls like great-grandkids like EJ and Lexie and eat a bite this big big so I'm in the bed with her and EJ and Lexie are like looking for me cuz like they want to hang out cuz now I'm like the cool older cousin. And so if they find me in there that I will come out come on, let's talk and stuff like that and she's like no y'all come in here and let's talk in the Vista.

17:11 I was so stressed. I was like yourself real like oh my God. I like we were all just like cracking up in like giggling the like I haven't been to uncase house in a while. But like they used to be at my routine when I would like to go there is like cuz she would like call me to like hang out with Aunt Kay is like super cool to hang out like on like one-on-one. So yeah, I didn't have to work until like the evenings at the radio station. So I would just like to see everyone before I would do my own thing and then like on Kayla call me and I would go down there and she might go go wake up nanna like she's not up yet, maybe like 11 or so. Should I go wake her up like tell her it's time for lunch, or she would call me and say okay. I'm going to run some errands. Can you like hang out with Nana? Basically, make sure like, she takes her meds and eat some stuff. I don't worry. I got you like me to do this and like that would be like my routine. Like I would go through the house like say what's up to her cats like say what's up to her? She was looking the living room or the kitchen and I

18:11 It's going straight to Nana's room and like she will be in there like Just chillin like, you know, though like definitely do miss that part for sure. But like she had lived such a long time. I don't want to make her stay any longer like it's already been very long. It was a hundred and one years apparently and then maybe she was older than that. I was saying that like her birth records and I wasn't sure so yeah, but I remember at her birthday party. I took some video. I miss that buy cracking up with one of her girlfriends like she has this head table and I guess like somebody was talking am I the whole time this person isn't giving some like address to her on her birthday. She's like in the corner like

19:06 Really we're going to dissolve like real like this is how I want to be like I want to do at a function in my honor in like not even acknowledging what's going on around like a picture of her like they gave her like some States Senator like recognized flag of like

19:29 Both parties were definitely be like, I remember like the amazing mother parties and all this other kind of stuff like that. Like all our our aunts would like throw for her and then like we would have to do things that you remember like having to perform fff-found my gosh. That was an awkward when I felt like like obviously act like I knew I had to do it but I wasn't always excited to do it cuz I was just like I'm like the quiet shy one and I'll talk with my body like you were the dancer like everybody knew that like you was always the one leg dancing and doing something random in the corner and KK and I was like, oh my God girls who don't have rhythm. I'm just lay I'll sit here and watch all am I I'll try to incorporate what y'all doing.

20:18 But yeah, I remember I remember practicing and Uncle Joe's or a while. Yeah good practice for a while.

20:25 And

20:28 That was found out. I hate to say it. I was part of my least favorite part of the summer. Of course, we all had to do something like it would just come out eventually like everyone to be like on the spot like perform entertainers. Are you going to do something for the fact that we have in our family always liked you have like singers in like people who lie actually my dad liked John Prim like all these people who actually have like cut records and made me do on the way that you want like not me singing Colors of the Wind by Pocahontas, cuz that's the way I do like singing like a little random songs with you and your sister and then like I think it was on delos like you should sing a song.

21:25 Okay. Well, yeah, we will sing a song. She's like no you and I'm like what song do I sing whatever song you want and like at that time?

21:34 What year was that the middle school, but I remember like we were like practicing it for choir. So I just knew it like really good but still like there wasn't even I had to sing it acapella.

21:48 She said only you those actually a favorite so I think that's why I was like kind of like she would have liked favorite like the like. I like which I mean it's nice like getting to meet her and getting to know her like outside of that space to assist I call you like calling you. All right, really really cool to hang out with. Yeah, I guess if I had like this many nieces and nephews I could like pick and choose which one I want the lack of attention really close with Pat or Terrance. Like they used to be really close. Like they would call each other. I'm like, oh and like I'm K was like more like I was always around at Kay like I was stay at her house for the weekend or like to stay with her like when she was living in Clinton. Yeah, and I remember that I was at one case my favorite his light at one point before she moved to Tennessee. I remember saying I would move in with her earlier that I might and I was like,

22:48 Oh, wow, I just going to be I was there for it, too. I really wanted to do it but it just seemed weird to like separate for Mom and Dad and like it was nothing they cool. I just wanted to live with my aunt.

23:07 Has she said had me laughing though? I used to have I don't know if I should but like she would literally we would sit up laughing all night. I remember one time we were just laughing way too much. She had a moment. She had an accident like she couldn't make it.

23:27 I was like reading her a poem that I wrote like in the first grade and I don't I can't even remember what it was that I just dying and that chair legs but I'mma go to the bathroom and she goes but I like sitting her chair like you remember oh how she had that one chair. She would always sit in. Yeah and the kitchen I would sit and I said in the after she left and I was like, oh no. Oh no. We was having too much.

24:00 No, that's so real that can happen. Oh my gosh good time. So I remember relationship, but I told her that I was like moving to New York. The only she was just like well Robbins there Robins in Jersey so that you can maybe like stay with her like Destiny's at College. You can take Destiny's bedroom. Like I'm not taking the college freshman. Do you like bedroom? Like that's her space and like knowing Destiny like that seems like already extra where I didn't we were young life is going to be in college. So I'm going to like living Brooklyn like I can figure out she's a wino like people and queen and stuff and cuz I live there in like, you know, like my sisters came in like we got it like we got you going to be like supported and stuff like that, but we would talk about some of those like New York Times when I was there like a be like like you said, I just like a laughing fit like in the evening after we get done like eating dinner like

25:00 So cute cuz like normally like if your mom and your dad are there like my dad your mom your dad and then Aunt Kay will like all eat dinner together. Like I get on Kay's house or something like that like this like on a Tuesday or like a Wednesday. Like they'll just eat together and then like after that it's feel like I hang out and we would hang out and we would talk and then she would just start start talking about like the past and stuff like that and she was talking about like her going to New York in the seventies and like working as a social worker and like she had lived with Bobby and like she had just started and she had met this girl who is like 3 months pregnant. She was like 15 and like she just saw so much of like I read it in her. She's like no she has to stay with us just live with us and like

25:49 Yeah, like we can't have a whole pregnant teenager in the apartment. She's staying with us like she has to live with us like having pets like having a cat and stuff like that. I like do you remember if I don't know who had it? I want to say wasn't T. She had a monkey monkey monkey and it died from sadness apparently.

26:17 I know where I think my mom told me that it was either. My mom or Auntie was so cute monkeys in the trees around like Nana's property. It was a lot of things in the shower and Uncle Joe comes up.

26:47 I'll never forget like the day that we all left to go to Florida with you all night packing up the car. And like I said like we have been there for such a long time at this point. So I think like he was ready for us to go but you know, it wasn't ready for STI with Shaq and I remember like we were in the car and Shacks like standing on his two legs and he's like holding Uncle Joe and like his face was doing stuff but whole summer but just for the fact that him and Uncle Joe had that relation they were so close. They were super super close like obviously like but he was like comforting him cuz we really didn't know we're excited to be like we're going to Disneyland. I like it doesn't matter like

27:47 Next summer. I was so excited when like your dog. So was Brenda my dog have her adult? I don't know why she gave her Brenda.

28:01 And it's funny cuz she looked like a Brenda Brenda Brenda like the whole Spirit of a human named Brenda lived all my gosh. I remember Brenda Brenda was there Shaq was there my dog is there this summer light all look like it's a dog family like their cousins.

28:26 Am I Brenda and pepper did not get along? Like I just remember being like Shaq. Like you're the Elder like you're the you're the person has been in the family the longest like you need to help them. He's like break it up and he's like off in the woods. Like I'm in shock when we first brought him and that was like a race car for like Auntie and then like the whole Dalmatian like whoever like he did not eat like a normal dog ate like and that's how I call the dogs be like, I remember talking with Sy about language in g e s i g n g eats like food for dogs Shack a collard greens ham hocks. Whatever scraps me everything, you know where ever we didn't he was like super tight with a fat

29:26 Started catching up to him, but he was like, he was still be out there running around acting so yeah exactly.

29:35 I would feel like they too had this is like just as good as a time and just leave us then we did ya remember Lionel cried when he didn't like him when I was younger and then like as I got older like my last few summers in Tennessee, I'd be like, I know like I said, he's so excited to come out together like it would be so weird like when someone's car like pulled up like you would see Shack and then like Lionel what come out there like they would like both be like the great like, why do it like walk around the car like maybe go underneath the car and then I come out on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs On The Lights lyrics

30:18 You bet. It's been awhile right in this is y'all but we have like 10 more minutes. Let's talk really quickly about that RV trip the longest trip of the longest number one, like shout out to our parents for like holding it and not going crazy. Like that was definitely wait. Where do we go though, Nebraska and then we went to Florida from Tennessee. Yeah. We did. Nebraska is like or did you pick this up in Columbus? Oh, yeah that are Street. I mean like my neighbors being like there's like a whole Giant RV and there's a whole house on wheels.

31:09 Oh my gosh, that trip was interesting. It was a lot of fun. I always love like RV trip seems like everywhere. We went like not. That was like that once dad bought that I was I oh I see our summers are about to change. But yeah, I remember that trip and like I remember it being so small. I mean

31:36 I was just random to have Nana there. Yeah, I don't know how that right there that she wrote with us to Nebraska and then I guess they believe her in a relaxer or something years to come to Florida driver to do we owe my gosh. Our parents are dads are some real Warriors if they drove back, I don't think we went back to 10 and we didn't go back. Somebody must have came and got her. They had to Nebraska that really we went there to go see her family so somebody I think we left her in Nebraska. We had to cuz you know if she did that was kind of funny or even go to Florida. Yeah, I remember finding out that you could let expanded Summer Park and then like hearing it like a Spanish.

32:36 And then your mom like forever like sending people up on the floors cuz like this is how it is. Like you all don't have beds that will make beds. Wherever are you going to send me your brother slept on the dash. He was small enough to sleep on the dash. But I mean, that's the thing from the dash is like huge. I think I are dad slept in like the chairs in the front seat. Yeah, and then maybe our moms might have slept in that back bedroom. But Nana was back there at one point the people have to take turns like being in the bed with her like it was a table just like this. Yeah, and that pulled out for the table flipped that was like a little bit places sell convertible is cool. But I remember we slept on the floor together after we watch Shrek and like how we do it. We don't go to sleep right away. Like if it's me and you like we're out of my I'm up.

33:28 Call Zan all types of noise. I also remember obviously like whatever happened when Nana was like going through things and that big a I told her she was having a dream. There we go, where she was I just imagined her wearing like a coat fur coat and she's like talking to Aunt Della. I think she was trying to say LOL. She's like donnella. Are you going we were out of earshot of my mom like Darnell and what she said, LOL. Well, I got Dad's are like driving crazy.

34:28 Because like I think my dad was like trying to let you know. My dad was trying to tell your dad that like it. He didn't have clearance underneath the carport area and the hotel part of the RV. I don't think it was like bad, but I just remember like being in like the RV talking to be like

34:50 Oh my God so much got there so crazy but in like a good way because obviously like they did that for not only like them for them to have like a moment to bond as siblings and families, but obviously you like for us instead of us is like going to Tennessee all the time like they make sure that like

35:12 They found a way for them to connect so that we could connect and have our moments and like obviously keep them going and going but I got was just imagine that what we were doing or what is what they were doing because there's so many of them and then they have so many first cousins. All right, and we don't even really talk to anyone else like we're kind of like it's so hard because there's I'm only going to see you once I was like, okay next summer. I'm not feel really lucky cuz now it's social media makes it so much easier that I can like find you all and could you also like I've seen like sign me up to connect with Robin again, like I'll see Sidonia same size without everyone else but then like the same situation to act like you're so crazy.

36:02 So crazy little bit taller a little bit bigger be like the first bobblehead look like a old man like a young old man really well and then your brothers like I got along really well with your brother's after we got older like cuz if I full of stories and like wisdom and legs, and of course, I can't cuz my girl I love I love Reese so much and I miss him and I missed JoJo JoJo's really thought I had to got a head like Patrick and he has a deep voice like his dad like a baby.

37:03 He called me Connie when he first met me. I think it's so funny. Cuz your dad used to call me corny corny and Patty. We thought he was a woman.

37:15 How much time do we have left? So well, thanks for doing this. I enjoyed all of it. I know there's so many more stories next time right, but I love you. I'm super proud of you. Thank you. Thank you. Love you.