Sharla Taylor and Dylan Taylor-Smith
DescriptionSharla Taylor (71) and her daughter, Dylan Taylor-Smith (33), talk about Sharla's life experiences growing up on a farm in Denton Texas and her career in local radio and as a musician. They also discuss what it's been like for their relationship since Sharla was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Subject Log / Time Code
Recording LocationDallas Public Library: North Oak Cliff Branch
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00:03 Hi, my name is Charlotte Taylor.
00:06 My age is 71 can't believe that and this today is Wednesday, October 30th, 2019, and I'm wearing Dallas, Texas.
00:23 I am interviewing with my daughter Dylan Taylor Smith.
00:33 I'm here because Dylan wanted me to be here.
00:40 Hi, my name is Dylan taylor-smith. I am 33 today's date is that it's Wednesday, October 30th, 2019. And where in Dallas Texas is he ha and I'm here interviewing my mother Sharla Taylor, and I'm thrilled to to talk to Mom.
01:04 All right. So Mom, I've asked you here today because I I love the stories that you told me over the years reticular lie about growing up in Texas which we both love and I know where in Dallas but the your you grow up just north of here and I've loved the the stories that you told me about about where you grew up. So will you will you tell me a little bit about where you were born and was born in Denton and I grew up on a farm about 20 miles out South outside of Denton and
01:47 I have a lot of growing up on the farm was just so free. You know, I could stay out. I stayed outside all day long and I had a great time because there was always something to do and because we
02:08 Because we were at home Farm, you know, I was out all day long ago. I was running around all the time and and the only way really that we wanted to get a drink of water instead of going inside. We would just always drink out of the faucet outside or the or the garden hose but there was a faucet that came up out of the ground about 2 feet and you know, there was a faucet on the end of it and one day after running around all day long, and I know it's real hot. I wrapped my mouth around that faucet and turned it on and then I felt this movement in my spit it out and it was one of those brown spiders with the hazards of farm life.
03:08 Exactly. How was so grossed out rightly, so I'm still.
03:17 And you know, one of the things that I remember is my brother falling out of the out of the barn and there was so much blood during it was everywhere and I think that you wanted me to mention that I was three years older than my little sister and everybody always talked about what beautiful eyelashes she had and what a darling beautiful little girl and I would look at me and ask my mother always this one yours, too.
04:01 Because people are so kind. That's right. I was so jealous of those long eyelashes that I
04:11 That I cut her eyelashes.
04:17 She you know, she just sat there. I told her just sit here and she was very still and my mother I thought she would die. I mean she said you could have put her eye out. I'm glad you didn't and they grew back right tell me about what it was like to go to the bathroom on the farm. I guess when I was when I was with when I was really little I remember if I had to go to the bathroom. I had to go out to the Outhouse outside of The Farmhouse.
05:03 And them and it was so scary and really it at night if I had to go. I would just go I wouldn't go all the way up. But I remember when we when we got indoor plumbing, I remember one night. I think it was my brother that screamed there was a there was a snake coiled around the toilet of the of the fancy new toilet how in the house not at The Farmhouse not not in the outhouse.
05:46 Oh my goodness. Yes. What around what year? What what time did you guys move from the farm to I was 7 years old. Okay matter fact, we moved I celebrated my seventh birthday and I think couple of days after we moved in. So what was that like to move to a place with a A real toilet?
06:14 We had one in a farm sure. We got one. It was you know, we thought we were I thought we were really Uptown sure moving into the city. It was pretty cool as a kid that stories that you you told about going to the Outhouse seemed so old-timey and so far away. I definitely am so I've always loved hearing you talk about the farm in those experiences. Thank you.
06:47 So you are you're one of four kiddos, right? And your family was was interested in your beer Brothers one in particular was had a tendency to be a little mean and and I know you've got a lot of stories about him. Will you tell me about the one where he might have broken your arm?
07:17 We had some friends that we would play football with a lot, you know here and there and one night late at night, but we're playing football in the front yard of some friends house and
07:37 So I got the ball and my brother listing my brother first got the ball and he was always the only thing between him and the gall and I tackle and so the next time I got the ball and then was running with it. He tackled me until I was lying on the ground laughing because you know, it was like he was he got me so he stood up and fell on me and I felt I felt my arm and so I rode home a bicycle with a broken arm and I went into the house and mother Jerry broke my arm.
08:28 And she sent out Charla because she just you know, she thought I was exaggerating everything. So, you know, I kind of moved my arms so that she saw that it was kind of sticking out more don't want it move my skin, you know, and she said, okay, let's go to the hospital and I said, I think it'll be alright in the morning.
09:02 I love it. Thank you. All right. So you grew up on a farm and you moved into the big city of Denton, but then later in life you moved to the big city of Dallas Swedish, which really was pretty big and growing up in the 70s. Who what what made you move from Denton to Dallas?
09:29 Well, I have been in a band a couple of bands actually in Denton and so the band's kind of fell apart and and I was actually working as a legal secretary and I heard on the radio that they needed an executive secretary to the station manager of WFAA right here. So I said okay I can do that. So I went and interviewed and I got the job.
10:03 And something that, I did some.
10:08 Some Voice work. I've rode a spot for a woman to do and the station manager said we don't have a woman on the staff and I said I can do that. So I did that and then I started.
10:24 I started doing voice work.
10:27 And then I
10:31 I started singing by myself again. I'd started doing.
10:37 Solo stuff cuz that that's how I started, you know, I'm doing just guitar and me and so I started doing that around Dallas a little I meant Terry and
10:55 We started we started trying to decide what we were we wanted to do something together and I will hooked up with stand and then we started a three-part Harmony thing and I was really fun and Terry and I started writing songs together.
11:14 And then later on Terry move to Nashville and after after the bantwini, I'm really he went. He went ahead and went to Nashville before we split up.
11:33 And so then at some point he said move to Nashville.
11:40 And and so I did and while we did. Yeah, we did and you went to Harpeth Hall and you were thinking of you went it was your high school.
11:55 Years, and I thought that was cool before we talk too much about Nashville. I want to tell me about tell me about kzoo and Cal my gosh you work for WFAA, but I have really enjoyed getting to know some of your friends at kzoo. And it sounds like it was a bit of a party while I didn't call it the zoo for nothing. It really was. I mean, I got to know WFAA and kzw were owned by the same company and we were all on the same floor. So when I was working for WFAA, I got to know all the people over at Kay and then I went to work over at K Civ. So doing what okay. I was riding. It's called continuity.
12:53 And I'm so you write the spots and make sure that the people that send in pre-recorded stuff goes on the air.
13:05 And I'm in the third, you know what you want to be down really glamorous job. And yes, it was fun riding the spot, you know, cuz then you would decide which DJ you wanted to record it fun. And so I did some spots spots there too. And I did I remember one of them we did we got this harmonizer which changes your voice so it sounds like an alien, you know, so
13:44 I did this this spot with John JD and so it was the two of us. We were were aliens. We were talking to each other and it was really fun. But the all the people in
14:03 Every one of the people that we work that I worked with it kzoo. They were all unique personalities and all really fun. And and it really truly was a
14:17 Kind of like him a lot, you know because everything was just really perfect, you know, and there was somebody kind of notable in Dallas that worked with you, right and he might be mayor now. Oh, yes. That was when I was at WFAA and he was a he was a board operator, which is in Kino in radio. They're the on the lowest rugs there from the lowest rung Mayor. Mike Rawlings went. Well. He went he did everything that he wanted to do for sure. Have fun.
15:05 Alright anything else to tell me about gay Zoo?
15:09 I don't think so because she's crazy. And that was all before before I came along. So tell me about tell me about what day I was born. You were born on my birthday and you were the best birthday present. I ever got and ever will have and I've been happy.
15:39 Every every year every moment that you and I have shared. Thank you. You've always told people that you thought I was the best birthday present ever. Lots of people have said well, that's a lie, cuz she was in labor on her birthday, but it's always made me really happy to see that you've said that you know,
16:05 My mother, you know, she was concerned about the pregnancy. I mean she knew that did it could happen any day, right so she can call to wish me happy birthday and there was no way answer, you know, so she showed up at the hospital knowing you were in labor. Wow, so that was cool and she can't even you know, when I was in recovery, she came in and visited with me and
16:42 Tell me about what you love about your mama.
16:48 My mother was so smart. And I think I think that most
16:57 Incredible thing about her
17:00 I mean besides being a great musician and she had Perfect Pitch and she got play anything on the piano that you you could just sing to her and she would play it.
17:14 But the most the most impressive thing was that she got her Master's Degree the year that I graduated high school. Wow, 1966
17:31 And I mean, I had two older brothers and a younger sister and she figured out how to get her master's degree for kids. What a woman.
17:46 I love that when when I was growing up, I always got to brag on the fact that Granny could tap dance. She was a tap dancing aerobics woman in her 70s and on into her 1990s. Yeah, which that's so cool. I know we had we certainly have longevity in our family 98 when June passed away before 99th birthday.
18:26 Miss her. Yeah, me too.
18:32 Okay, so, Nashville.
18:37 So Nashville was
18:41 Was a cool adventure for a supposed to go and you've got to pursue songwriting a bit and we actually Terry and I actually sold one song kids video Christian video. We sold the song called.
19:11 What was it Tales From The Ark was the name of the video. Anyway, yes our but the the thing about Nashville, I think the main the most
19:29 Largest event that happened was I was diagnosed with Ms. In 1999 and you and I moved to Nashville in 2000 and 2002. I guess I fell and broke my hip I had been walking with a cane and I was on the inside of the house and and I wasn't walking with my cane shame on you fell and broke my hip and then after that I ended up in a wheelchair.
20:06 And you've had to take care of me ever since I mean I live alone now, but you certainly had to do a whole lot. You really got me through the hospital stay and
20:27 And you've Lifted Me In and Out of how many cars and over and over and over and you've just spend.
20:37 You know, you've been so positive about all that all 90 lb of you. Well, I do it all again.
20:51 I remember that day that you broke your hip. I came home to the came home and walked in the front door. I was a sophomore in high school and there was there was blood on the ground. You dropped a plate. I guess it cut your hand and had crawled over to the sofa and
21:16 And I asked you if you were okay, and you said you were off course cuz you've always been adamant about I'm fine. Don't worry about me and I think it was a week you waited to go to the hospital. It was a week and just like when your mom asked if you wanted to go to the hospital, I think I may be okay. Okay. Yeah, and I wish I'd taken you sooner cuz I knew you were in pain.
21:55 And we went to the hospital and and they fixed your hip up, but unfortunately because of the MSU your leg basically stopped working after that. And you know, I can I go back to that time when you ended up in the wheelchair and
22:21 How lucky we both were that it was around the time I started driving. We were I was 16, right and and you were little enough that I could pick you up and throw you into the car and throw your wheelchair in the car.
22:44 Speaking of Ms. And being in the wheelchair. I think you ought to tell me about cuz it really went when Thanksgiving and and I ended up on the porch and I went I was out I was unconscious for a little bit and I would like you to tell me all the stuff that happened to you. What happened with me you went out to the car.
23:18 And I'd like to operate my wheelchair myself and I was going to go over the stoop and
23:31 And your father-in-law decided he was going to help me get over this dick. Well, he didn't realize that my wheelchair back is just Fabric and he stuck his knee into the back of my chair which was sticking it in the back of me in and just catapulted me out of the house. And the last thing I remember is seeing the concrete on the porch. Yeah toward me. So what happened after that? Yeah, so it was a scary Thanksgiving for sure. So yeah you I saw I was getting the car ready for me to put you in it and and I turned back toward the front porch and just saw you catapult out of the chair.
24:31 And on the news that happened I saw you. I saw you hit the pavement and of course in that moment. I was convinced you were right. Yeah, cuz I'm great at jumping to the worst case scenario everytime home yet. And so I ran over picked you up put you back in the chair. And of course you're bleeding like a stuck pig and I don't handle blood well, so I I got you over to the car knowing that we needed to take you to the hospital.
25:16 And we were just going to drive you there cuz you would come to and I knew you weren't dead. So we were just going to race you to the hospital. And so I put you in the car still bleeding everywhere and I had to turn slid that I slid down the side of the car as I passed out and I'm bleeding your fast I'm passed out on the ground and then my mother-in-law, of course, I don't remember any of this but this is the story of my sister-in-law told me as I'm out on the ground. She slapped me across the face to try to bring me two. And Caroline says Caroline is my sister-in-law Caroline says Mom. I don't think that works that only works in movie.
26:16 Ensure it up. I didn't come to but I did about a minute later by this point. It had started raining and so are all outside and trying to scramble to get you to the hospital and and we pack up the car and John's mother my mother-in-law slams John's hand in the car door and around this time. We realized that someone has called 911 because we're all a mess and the ambulance pulls up and and looks at all of us and it's like trying to decide what to take.
27:03 It was yeah, we we got you into the into the ambulance and you were fine. And we got you all stitched up on Thanksgiving and his are just such a mess. But a really funny story that my father-in-law hates that he talks he felt so bad he did but Italy do we get to laugh about it now indeed. Yeah pretty good.
27:42 All right, what else?
27:52 I think
27:54 I think Harpeth Hall was a really good place for you to go to high school.
28:02 Because you know, it will really taught you a lot about how to study and it made your college a lot easier here. I mean there were people around you that that we're having trouble getting things and and you just you know how to study.
28:27 Yeah, I was said it was a really good place for me. And I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to go there and and you know with with you being in the wheelchair to we got so much love and support. I remember just already Conrad and a group of other women who just took care of us and they would bring us food and they cared about us and it was so helpful in such a time of Crisis. We made such good friends in Nashville. Yeah.
29:17 And you for sure did you know?
29:21 And I'm one of my friends and I made Elaine has gone off to
29:31 So she's having a great time there and I'm but it wasn't it was good to spend time there and get to know a lot of people riding, you know, I wrote a lot of songs and mostly with very yet and he actually got an email from him today and he said he was going to offer up two of our songs to this. Yeah this lady that's recording. She's putting an album together and seeing you together. And so he's going to see if she wants one of those how cool so your time in Nashville.
30:22 Good time. I mean it did. Yeah, it did in so many ways so many ways and you know, I got a CD out of it and that was really cool.
30:39 And it's you know, it's nice to be able to share some of my music with my friends here. Yeah.
30:48 Yeah, and you got to record in Nashville. I mean, that's so cool. And you got to meet some cool people you got to do some cool music station. Staying here to talk to me about when you you had a an evening with Mark Knopfler. Oh my gosh.
31:13 In I mean, I've just been such a fan of his for so long and I got to see him in this really small theater at Vanderbilt and in he had this band and he put together and it was just an incredible evening and I got to meet him but that was you know, I didn't really get to know when you know, it was just and I don't really consider it making him because it was just sort of in passing sure, you know, but a very Nashville Experian indeed it was
31:55 Hey Will, I want to thank you for
32:00 Being such a force in my life.
32:06 You are
32:09 Everything to me and I'm so grateful that in all of
32:18 With all of this with MS and being in a wheelchair, you've just never ever given up and
32:28 Your attitude towards life.
32:34 What makes me the person I am and
32:40 I'm so grateful that you've taught me to be.
32:45 Kind and to find happiness in everything and to just look on the bright side always and for that I can never I could never repay you.
33:03 All I thank you for being the gift.
33:08 That keeps on giving
33:11 Every every year every day every honestly I think of you.
33:20 So many times during the day.
33:24 And I really appreciate you.
33:29 Taking care of me when?
33:33 I'm a broke my hip and
33:36 You don't even now you every time I need to go somewhere. Where are you we go places together and you
33:48 Pick me up and put me in the car over and over. There's so many things that you do for me.
33:58 When I can't reach things.
34:01 And I can't there's so many things that I can't do like you made up my bed the other it's the little things it is, you know, it's the big things and the little things and and you're just
34:20 Always available to me.
34:26 And you're always in my heart always always.
34:32 There's no one I'd rather.
34:34 Support and love and be with than you Mama.
34:41 I love you. I love you so much.