Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Cliff's Notes Version

I realized in talking to my fellow disciples that while writing these vignettes is great, I need to give an overview, so here it is.

I was born in 1965 to Bill and Sylvia Old.  We lived on Old Drive in Chesapeake Virginia.  I was part of the 5th generation to live on the land where we lived.  My grandmother (Dad's mom) lived next door and yes I called her "Grandmother."  Her name was Anne and she was born in 1899 right on the property where we lived. We had a cocker spaniel named Princess.  Four and a half years later my brother Billie was born on September 11, 1969.  My mom's parents were Janie and John Hester and they lived about 4 hours away in Roxboro, NC.  We had lots of family on my mom's side, but not so much on my dad's (but many many close family friends whose family's had been friends with my family forever).

I went to church at St. Thomas and I went to nursery school there as well.  It was a block from my house.  In first grade I started at Great Bridge Elementary--where my father had gone and my grandmother before him--back then it was a one room schoolhouse.  Mrs. Sewell, who was my math teacher, was also my dad's teacher.

In fourth grade I started going to private school in Norfolk, VA "in town" at Norfolk Collegiate.  My mom thought there were too many kids in my classes in public school.  It was a rough transition.  I missed my friends from the neighborhood and didn't quite fit in with the kids there.  It wasn't until 7th grade when I lost 10 pounds, grew 2 inches and got braces that I started to really have friends.  I'll never forget when one girl looked at me with a blank look and I realized she had no idea who I was.

I had my first boyfriend in 8th grade, Tommy.  My friends wouldn't believe at first that Tommy had actually asked me "to go with"him.  I was very involved with the youth group at St. Thomas (called EYC back then).  The Church of the Good Shepherd in Norfolk though was where I really wanted to be because that's where Tommy and all my friends were.  I did get to go on the Good Shepherd ski trip with Tommy and my friends.  But Tommy didn't save the seat by me for him.  I was about to have to go get on the other bus with--as memory serves--people I didn't know.  My friend Anne Douglas pushed me into the bathroom and there I rode until we were on the road and I could go sit with Tommy.

Eventually though I found my lifelong friends in Kimberlee, Laura, Renee, Terrie and Caroline.  I see Kimberlee, Terrie and Caroline every summer at the beach and our kids play together.  So even though I live in Ohio I, and my kids, have a VA Beach connection.   As tough as it was until 8th grade, from then on I never looked back and had the time of my life in high school.

I traded back and forth with Kirk as number 5 and number 6 in our class rankings.  I think he ended up 5, either way, he ended up as a cardiac surgeon which is a tiny bit more impressive than social worker and EMT.

So I graduated in May 1983 and started attending Duke that fall.  I had applied to Duke, UVA, Wake Forest and Randolph Macon Women's College and got into all of them (12 people from my class of 69 went to UVA, I think twice that many got in).  Wake Forest had not been coed for that long and they told me I would not get in (it was my first acceptance letter).  I had to work really hard to get into Duke.  RMWC wanted me.  I really liked RMWC too.  But when I got into Duke, my parents (and well everyone) said you have to go there because it's the best.

I'm so glad I did.  But Duke is hundreds of stories--some I will write down and most I won't :)  I will say while at Duke I did some cool stuff.  I went to ASU for a summer because I thought I was going to fail Calculus, I went to the Soviet Union and studied Russian and Russian Culture, I lived at Virginia Beach in an apartment with three other girls, I did an internship at the American Film Institute.  Not necessarily in that order.

After Duke I got a job working for CBS News Election and Survey Unit selecting precincts to report on election night for our randomly selected sample (1988 Presidential Election).  We were interviewed and hired from Seacaucus, NJ and then our liaison flew to meet us where we were working to train us.  So we never met most of the staff we worked with, nor did we ever go to the office before we started working there.  Some of us remembered each other from the interview/training session (which was like 3 days long).  I traveled to all the county seats in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, DC, Pittsburg and Philadelphia (when they asked me to do all of PA I just could not stand to be on the road by myself 24/7--though actually most weekends I drove or flew somewhere).

I was dating a boy who lived outside NYC in Westport, CT.  I went to visit him and we went into the City one day.  I think he was going to some actors' workshop so I went to renew my passport and then visited the CBS office and met all the people I'd been working with the last 6 months.  They offered me a job.  So I moved to NYC with three of my cohorts from the road in what was technically a 1 bedroom apartment.  It had two levels but only one actual bedroom.  There was a rap recording studio next door. I went back to visit and found out that the Asian prostitutes down the hall had been freebasing and blew up that end of the hallway after we left.

Working a CBS and living in this overcrowded apartment was so much fun!  It was kind of like a continuation of college.  I think also it was so nice to be around people after spending so much time on the road along.

Well the election came and went and it was time for me to find another job.  I still had no real idea what I wanted to do with my life.  So I took a job at the Census Bureau. be continued


Africanellen said...

Even though I know how the story goes, I can't wait for the next installment Hester! You made me smile!

f bruce abel said...

More, more, more.