Talk about a positive attitude. This lady doesn’t have the word “negative” in her vocabulary. She’s a person who enjoys life to the fullest and makes everyday count. Through the lilt in her voice, the smile on her face and the laughter in her eyes, you get the sense that this is a person with passion, passion for life, for herself and others.
What’s important in your life? Family, friends and taking care of myself
What’s in your future? To live a healthy, happy and enjoyable life and remain involved in community activities
What are your volunteer activities? President Elect Colorado Symphony Guild, Vice President of Top Ladies of Distinction (humanitarian organization), President of Lift Every Voice (civic and humanitarian organization)
Which social event is your favorite? Black Deb Ball and the Winter Fantasy Gala. I like to go to formal affairs. I like fancy dress.
Favorite restaurant? Has to be Mel’s. I love the food, the atmosphere and of course the piano. For jazz, nothing beats Dazzle. I love the food, I love the jazz, and I love the atmosphere. It’s so Eastern, kind of like being in New York.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Maya Angelou. She’s one of my favorite personalities. I’ve met her several times and have had the pleasure of interacting with her. I read all of her material; she is my inspiration and has been for a long time. I think one of the reasons I like her so much is that she is from Arkansas, not far from my own home. She’s a phenomenal woman.
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Halle Berry of course, because we look alike. (Laughing). She is a beauty. She could play me to a tee. She’s gorgeous.
Do you have any pets? My little Bosco is diseased. He was a little poodle with a little bit of unknown. He had the misfortune of getting out and running into the street and was hit by a car. Right now, I’m petless.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? My home will say that I’m a very immaculate person, everything in its own place, nice and clean and that I’m a nice lady.
What word describes you best? Phenomenal. I’m not being a braggadocios, I just think I am a phenomenal woman because I’ve had many compliments that have made me proud. It feels good, real good.
How would you like others to describe you? As a very refined, elegant lady.
What was your first job? It was in 1954, right out of college and into the secondary classroom. It was my very first job. I had the good pleasure of not having to work until I was out of college. I was quite fortunate. There were just the three of us in my family and both parents were working. Education was high on the priority list.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being a perfectionist and sometimes being overly competitive.
What trait do you most deplore in others? A disrespect for time. Punctuality is one of my virtues. I don’t want to wait on you and I don’t want you to wait on me. My tolerance for that is nil. I’ve been known to leave places. I will give you a few minutes of grace and that’s it.
What is your greatest indulgence? I don’t think I can answer that. I fairly indulge in much.
What type of clothes do you like? I like sportswear because I’m a sports type person. I love “dress up,” and Sunday “go to meeting” stuff. I go to many functions where I wear my suits and my gorgeous hats. I’m a hat person, always with a hat. I love eveningwear. I love cocktail wear. I just like clothes and shoes.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Have a cup of tea and read something. My mother brought me up to read something before I went to bed at night and to read something when I first got up in the morning. It gets my energies flowing and set me on the intellectual path. I do that every day. I’m trying to read the Bible from cover to cover but it is so hard.
What’s the last thing you do before bed? Brush my teeth and of course read something, even if it’s just a passage.
Favorite comfort food? Macaroni and cheese
Tell me something about yourself that people would be surprised to know about you. That I do have a humorous side because I think that I carry a persona and a front that says I’m not approachable; that there’s not much laughter there and not much fun. However, there really is, there really is once you get to know me. I think sometimes I don’t present myself the way that I really am. And I’ll tell you something that has surprised people all along. I’ve always been non-alcoholic, but people just see me as one who would like a martini or something and they’re surprised when I say no thank you. I don’t know whether they would be surprised or not but I am a spiritual person
What is the best gift you have ever given? The best gift I think I’ve ever given was to my daughter when she graduated from high school and was off to college. I gave her a lovely gold chain with a mustard seed locket on it. She, to this day, still has that mustard seed. It was good for her; and it was good for me to be her support system and that gift simply said, “You know this mustard seed will multiply as you will choose and as you wish to have it and I’m right here to support you in whatever it is you want to do.”
What is the best gift you’ve received? Hard to say, I’ve just received so many wonderful gifts.
What or who is the greatest love in your life? My daughter, Barbara Jean
What is your current state of mind? I’m on top of things. It’s good. I have a good positive attitude, a healthy mind, body and soul.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My greatest of greatest achievements was educating my daughter. Even though there was sufficient and significant financial support, I had the responsibility of being the single parent and seeing her through…and I did it. I did it. When I received my PHD, and walked off that stage with my hood on, it was one of my proudest moments; then I got on a plane and flew to her college graduation which was the next day and I tell you, when I think about that period of time, you can tell that I think of it in a very euphoric way.
What is your most treasured possession? I’ve got several but I would rather not say what they are.
What is the quality you most like in a man? A strong sense of caring
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Well, we are sort of strange creatures, but I like strong willed women because I’m one of them and I think that’s an asset that we all should have. I’ll repeat that…Determined and strong willed.
Favorite books/writers? I read all of Maya Angelou’s books. Zora Neale Hurston, I have almost all of her collection. She’s one of the early African American writers, absolutely phenomenal. But I think my favorite book is Barbara Jordan, American Hero. Barbara Jordan was one of my mentors, but she didn’t know it. She was one of the first African American woman legislators. Barbara was from the state of Texas and was very strong willed, very powerful, dynamic and articulate; she just exuded confidence and elegance. Didn’t have a lot of physical beauty, but that inner beauty was just overflowing and I just wanted to do a lot of things like Barbara Jordan.
What is the best advice you have ever received? The best advice I ever received came from my mother and dad. They said to me, “You can do whatever you want to do. You know, there are no limitations you can just go for it, just do it and we will support you.” I’ve given that same advice to kids, (I was in education for 41+ years) and to my own kid. You can do it. You are not necessarily a product of your environment; you can go beyond that. And that I think that was the best advice I was given.
Do you have a motto? My motto was said by Eleanor Roosevelt years ago and I have it on my wall, it’s on my office wall now, and I kept it in my office in the workplace and it simply says, “You must do the things you think you cannot.”
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you? An incident that happened in my first year of teaching but it’s not printable. It’s really funny though.
If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? I would like to be Fannye Belle; but I think the creative side of me would emerge. I would come back as an interior decorator or something in that area. I might even be able to bring out more creative energy by being an actor. I’d get out of this role that I’ve been in all of these years.
What are your hobbies? Other interests? I love golfing, I love biking. I’m a walker, I love getting out there and walking. I walk four or five miles every day that I can. I love eating. I enjoy good music, all kinds of music…classical, blues and jazz. I love volunteering; I love doing volunteer work.
Who is your mentor? Well I’ve told you about Maya Angelou and Barbara Jordan, but the greatest of all was my mother.
What would you most like to be remembered for? Being a good spirit, a healthy person and a person interested in improving the quality of life for mankind.
What do you like about the town you live in? I love everything about this town. I like the climatic conditions, the geography, I love the cultural environment, I like the wonderful people with whom I’m associated and the various associations that I’m affiliated with. I just love everything about this environment and would not want to live anywhere else besides Denver.
Thinking about you today. !!!!!
Fannye - great interview. And you are a phenomenal - strong woman! It was great to see you at the 2004 Beautillion! Angela