I am a Christian and I attend St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Greenville, SC. My husband, Bob and I moved from Richmond, VA to Greenville, SC after our wedding in October, 1987. We have one son, Robert Andrew, born in 1995.
In January, 1999 we moved to the outskirts of Greenville to a small (it was small in 1999) town called Simpsonville, SC where we reside today. Rob graduated from Mauldin High School, attended Greenville Technical College, and is now working for USPS. Bob is an Electrical Engineer with his PE license, (That is like an accountant with a CPA behind his name. He had to take a grueling test to certify for his PE license.) and plans to retire soon.
As for me, I was born and raised in Asheville, NC in the late 1950’s. I have one sister, who is almost seven years older than me, and one brother, who is almost 2 years older than me. My father was the Plant Manager for many furniture companies such as Ethan Allen, Morgan Brothers in Old Fort, NC, Martinsville Furniture in Martinsville, VA, Steelcase in Asheville, NC, Singer, and others that I can not remember. My mother was a registered nurse in an administrative position (Director of Maternal Child Care) at Memorial Mission Hospital. That was long before Memorial Mission and St. Joseph’s Hospitals merged.
When I was ten years old, I began dancing ballet under an instructor named “Author”. I do not know his last name; only Arthur. He was a beautiful dancer and Cindy was the top ballerina in our school (The Asheville School of Ballet). She was so graceful and together, they were awesome – just like a fairy tale. Cindy was definitely one to look up to; however, I was only ten and all I wanted to do was play and have fun. Mrs. Weaver (the ballet “mother”) kept watch over me for two years; coming to my dance practice and talking to my mother. After two years, I advanced into toe shoes and became a member of the Asheville Ballet Company.
And THEN at age thirteen, my true passion was revealed to me – horse-back riding! I had always wanted a horse and begged my parents to buy me one. This was long before I took ballet and I guess the ballet sidelined the “horse fever” for a while. But not for long! I began taking riding lessons at the Venable Riding Academy. Where I learned to ride English and to stay on my horse over a jumping course. Back then it was called “hunt-seat” riding. There was not any three-day eventing, dressage, hunter jumper, or saddle seat, just hunt seat and equitation. In the show arena the “Go As You Please” classes meant anyone could enter the class whether he rode English or Western. The classes were judged based upon how well the rider’s horse responded to his “aids”. (Those are the little squeezes, nudges, and urges the rider would tell his horse by the “seat of his pants” or leg and/or foot.) The equitation classes were judged not only on how well the horse responded to the rider’s aids, but also how well the rider rode and whether or not the judge could SEE the rider cue his horse for the gait that had been requested. In addition, whether the horse responded immediately or not, and how the rider’s hands, arms, and legs were held quiet (did not move). Oh, and you HAD to “KEEP THOSE HEELS DOWN”!
Two years after I had been riding, Arthur came to me and explained that while ballet was limbering and loosening my muscles, the horse-back riding was tightening my muscles and the two did not work well together – AT ALL! I had to make a decision. It would have to be ballet or horses. My mother prayed that I would choose ballet because it was not as expensive as horse-back riding (my sister was about to graduate high school and go off to college). Horses would definitely challenge my parents’ “pocketbooks”. However, there was no doubt in my mind which I would choose; it would be horse-back riding!
While growing up in Asheville, my parents afforded me the privilege of boarding my horse at Biltmore Stables and, through the people I knew in the horse-backing riding and showing industry, I had free access to ride on the beautiful Biltmore Estate. My mother and I were very active in the riding industry. I joined the US Pony Club and at the same time helped to start the Buncombe County Horsemen’s Association. I wish I could say that the two adventures were challenging; however, I loved anything to do with horses so all of it was a privilege to me.
In the meantime, I had to work to afford my horse(s) and the horse shows that I participated in. So, while I was at Biltmore Elementary School, Valley Springs Elementary School, and T.C. Roberson High School, I worked in many capacities at Memorial Mission Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital. That was the start of my career in the Healthcare industry.
In 1976, my father’s work took us to Martinsville, VA, where I moved my horse, joined the Virginia 4-H Team, and continued to show at small area shows. I learned very quickly that the Virginians were very serious about showing and the proper way to show. The correct apparel (habit) to wear, and tack (saddle and bridle) one used. I continued to ride until May, 1977, when my back began hurting me. I had noticed the pain while taking ballet and had learned to calm down the muscles in my back in order to go to sleep at night, but I never thought anything was wrong. And my back certainly never hurt that bad. One night, after a short trail ride, my back was hurting so bad that I could barely take the saddle and bridle off my horse, brush her down, feed and water her, and then drive home. The driving scared me the most because I could not feel my right leg or foot; so I had to accelerate and brake with my left foot. It took me a while, but I finally made it home. Mom quickly made an appointment for me to see a family-practitioner named Dr. Blanton. I’ll never forget his name because it took two weeks to get an appointment to see him. And what was worse is that I started feeling much better and my mother (did I mention my mother was a registered nurse – just as bad as a doctor) would not allow me to ride during that time!
The time came to see Dr. Blanton and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get my back to hurt to explain the terrible pain that I had previously experienced. Dr. Blanton walked into the room; I explained that my back and legs no longer hurt. He had me sit on the end of the exam table; he went to where my long legs (I was 6 feet and 2 inches tall) hung off the table, raised one foot to straighten out my leg and the pain, ooh, the pain. It all came rushing back. I started crying and had to lie down in the fetal position and draw my legs up to my chest to get some relief from the pain. His words were, “Yep, I thought so. And the next one to go will be in her neck!” He referred me to a neurologist, Dr. William Chadduck, where he ran some tests and determined that I had ruptured several discs (or herniated discs) in my back (lumbar 3, 4, and sacral 1, 2). The surgery was scheduled for the next morning. After the surgery, I heard him tell my mother that I had a degenerative-disc disease and that I would have more problems in the future.
I was in the hospital for ten days and on the last day I asked Dr. Chadduck when I could start riding again. He gave me a look that made my heart sink and I started crying. What was I going to do? I was living my dream and all to be lost at age 19. However, I have since taken many chances and gone back to riding horses. I have had some wonderful instructors here in Greenville and I must say that all of them have given me a piece of their incredible riding experiences.
Two years after graduating high school, I attended Western Carolina University for three years in Cullowhee, NC, earning my bachelor’s degree in Financial Accounting. After graduating college, I married an old “sweet heart” and we moved to Maryville, TN, where we lived for two years. My husband’s work then took us to Richmond, VA where he worked for a tobacco company, Brown and Williamson. While living in Richmond, I began working at Johnston-Willis Hospital as an Accounting File Clerk (this was whileI was finishing my bachelor’s degree at WCU and having the credits transferred back to WCU) . During this time, I was promoted to Staff Accountant, to Senior Accountant and on to Assistant Controller. (I guess you could say I had a Type A personality, a real “go getter). During this time period, I went through a divorce from a man who wanted me “pregnant and bare foot in the kitchen”. Ugh, not the role for me! Several months after my divorce, I began dating a nice gentleman and we married in October, 1987. We are still married and my husband is an Electrical Engineer working for I.C.I of the Americas.
In November, 1987, Bob’s work took us back to the Carolinas and I went to work for Mary Black Hospital as a Reimbursement Manager. Nine months later, I was promoted to Accounting Manager and after two and a half years I was promoted to Controller. (I told you I was a Type A personality!) I occupied that position until I became pregnant in 1994 and decided to stay home (after the birth of our son in 1995) to raise my son. My occupation in the Accounting/Healthcare field has taken me far and wide. I had the privilege of working for some WONDERFUL bosses in the Hospital Corporation of America.
After returning to the Carolinas in 1987, I studied for my master’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, and continued to ride horses until 2014 when I had my final accident that ended my riding all together. The thirty years that I rode, I experienced several falls while from jumping, horses shying and throwing me off their backs, and to plan stupidity. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did. But now that I’m on disability; my husband is strict about not wanting me to ride again.
Since then I’ve gone back to quilting, sewing and designing couture garments, home fashions, knitting, polymer clay, and making jewelry. I hope to, one day, be able to place my treasures on line to sale. Keep watching this site … you never know what I might come up with next!