City Grammar School - THEN and NOW Pages

Hilary Brookes

Moved to sleepy Bedfordshire town summer of 1962.  Married Louisiana swamp Yank from the local USAF base in February 1965.  Son, Eric was born May 1966.  Emigrated to the US in July 1967.  Suffered culture shock on leave in the swamps, more shock but nicer at the USAF base in San Angelo, west Texas, where scenery changed from dripping subtropical with Very Large mosquitoes and snakes to arid John Wayne movie set with Very Large tarantulas and snakes.

Ran away to New jersey, divorced end of 1969, moved to New Orleans, lived semi-hippie life but had a job first in the War on Poverty then in politics.  Became jaded and cynical.  Several more jobs, one in Arkansas as legal secretary to a man arrested in murder of his wife (who was shot in a wardrobe and left with a bouquet of flowers and a card, "Have a nice day"), but who was soon released as evidence pointed to jealous female client, also worked for government official indicted in Whitewater scandal of Clinton fame.  Eventually worked up to legal assistant and became free-lance, working for major law firms in New Orleans, specializing in maritime cases.

Child support impossible to collect so moonlighted at many jobs.  Sewed Mardi Gras costumes, taught international cooking, also knitting and crocheting, cooked and did stand-up comedy at British pub in the French Quarter, edited for local authors, also cookery books and a posh book, The Joys of Entertaining, edited, typed and sometimes wrote papers for Tulane U students, tutored students, directed telephone banks for political campaigns - I think that's about it.

Did volunteer work, including organizing a "village fete" for the British Olympics Association, with help from HMS Active.  Consquently, presented to HRHs Anne and Alexandria.  Assisted Alan Wicker in finding people for his "Wicker's New World" series in mid-80s, appeared as "The Battered Woman" in the New Orleans segment (now you know why the divorce).

Married another Yank, US Navy this time (okay, so I have a uniform fetish), smashing west Texas fellah ,  Jim Pollard, who spent a bit of his time chasing reporters in the Grenada affair and terrorists in the Beirut Airport Marine Barracks homicide bombing in 82-83, flying a plane like the one Bush recently flew on to the carrier.

Eloped to Edinburgh, Hogmannay 1986, ridiculously happy.  Jim now flies computers.  Besides New Orleans we've lived in Norfolk (Virginia), Durham (N Carolina) and, since January, Charleston (S Carolina).  Last worked as crime and traffic accident stringer for Raleigh TV station, eight years, now more or less retired but getting itchy feelings, miss reporting on blood, guts and corruption.  Getting ready to see if Charleston station might like another stringer but not nearly as many murders here.

Charleston is in hurricane country and, astonishingly, also earthquake country.  Was last hit with big one in 1886, 7-point something.  Made a mess.  For info on what hurricanes can do here, search Net on "Hugo" and "Charleston".  Did animal rescues after Hurricane Camille in 1967, have healthy respect for tropical weather.

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