On several occasions I’ve made impulsive decisions that placed me in unbelievable situations and unimaginable places. If life is pre-planned or pre-destined (which I’m convinced is the
case), then I consider every incident a destination—not an accident or a coincidence.
I was Women’s Director at Arkansas Educational Television, when the Little Rock Chamber of
Commerce contacted me about taping an interview with the President and Owner of New York City’s oldest public relations firm, Dudley-Anderson-Yutsy (D-A-Y). The Chamber had recently hired the firm to promote Little Rock-- globally. During my television
career I’d interviewed many nervous people but no one as visibly-shaken as Barbara Hunter. The PR President’s teeth were actually clicking together and her body wouldn’t stop shaking. If I couldn’t find a way to put this woman at ease,
I’d have no choice but cancel the interview.
Sitting at the counter in the break-room, nibbling on chips and drinking a coke, the two of us engaged in girl-talk. I purposely focused
on fun times—believing my guest would lose her stage fright if she focused on the past rather than the present. It didn’t take long for Barbara’s body to stop jerking and for her to regain her composure. After our highly-successful interview
ended, Barbara Hunter surprised me with a job offer. She raved about my “calming influence” and my ability to ask her “the right questions.” She believed I would be the perfect spokesperson for one of her major PR accounts-- The National
I never made a career decision without talking with my children. We talked and both daughters agreed it was time to move away from Arkansas. They liked the idea
of New York City with all its opportunities. I called Barbara Hunter to see if her offer was still open. Several phone conversations later, she invited me to fly to New York City to meet her staff and discuss my role as a spokesperson.
I made arrangements to fly to New York City and, as expected, my mother “pitched a nasty tantrum.” She used every negative and ugly word imaginable to describe me. In the end, when she learned
I’d hired a sitter for my New York City Trip, she demanded my daughters stay with her. Hoping for a little peace, yet still frighteningly-fearful of her, I gave in to her demands. I had no idea how far she would go to seek revenge.
My plane was met by D-A-Y’s uniformed driver who chauffeured me to The Plaza Hotel, my temporary “home away from home.” After spending the next day with Barbara and her staff, I felt encouraged
about future plans. Rushing back to my hotel room, I began completing the multiple pages of paperwork—all part of the hiring process. My application needed to be finished by the following day, when Barbara planned to introduce me to officials at the
National Confectioners Association.
When my hotel phone rang, I assumed it was a call from Barbara or someone on her staff. Imagine my surprise when the hotel manager asked if I would pay
for a collect call from my daughter?!?! A frightened and very-emotional Myra, my oldest daughter, said she and her sister were alone in the parking lot of a motel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Unknown to me, my mother and father had driven my daughters from
Pine Bluff to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to visit relatives. They’d checked into a motel, did some visiting, and somehow—over lunch the next day—my mother started a fight with my daughters. Controlling everyone with another tantrum, my mother
drove back to the motel and checked out of their room. She told my daughters not to put anything in the car because she was leaving them behind. She made it clear she was driving back to Pine Bluff without them!
Apparently my father tried to reason with her but—true to form—my Mother made “a big scene”— screaming, threatening, and attracting attention. My father couldn’t control her so, hoping to change
her mind once they were on the highway, he agreed to get in the car. After standing in the parking lot for several hours, hoping my mother would come back to get them, Myra made the collect call to my hotel.
I asked Myra for the payphone number and told her to stay close. I was thousands of miles away, but I was determined to find help. I’d never felt a stronger sense of urgency to act quickly. I had one relative in Cape Girardeau but it
had been years since we’d seen or talked with each other. Placing a phone call to his office, I prayed Joe Buerkle-- my distant cousin-- was alive and still practicing law in Cape.
surprised to hear about “Aunt Rosemond’s” disruptive behavior, Joe promised to drop everything and rescue the girls. After taking them to lunch, Joe called me back to discuss a plan. The only possible solution was for Joe to drive my daughters
to the St. Louis Airport—100 miles from Cape Girardeau—and put them on a direct flight to Little Rock. It meant I must cancel the next day’s meeting with Barbara and the Confectioners Association, and grab the next flight to Little Rock.
There was no time to lose; the Flight to Little Rock was scheduled to leave La Guardia Airport in one hour. I must get back to the Little Rock Airport in time to meet my daughters’ flight. I phoned
Barbara with a brief summary of the situation, threw everything in my suitcase, and—within ten minutes—was headed to the airport. Like an experienced travel agent, Joe managed to coordinate the airline flights so I arrived at Little Rock’s
airport a few minutes before my daughters.
Because of my mother, I spent nearly three thousand dollars in twenty-four hours on plane tickets, taxicabs, and long distance phone calls.
Flying back to Little Rock, I could only think about my mother’s lifetime commitment to… ruin my life.