Why do I choose to be an Executive Director (ED)of a lighthouse? I ask myself that sometimes. I really have to say it is truly as good as you think most days. Some days it is frustrating when you can’t get everything done that you want to in a day, but then what job isn’t that way?
Shall I introduce myself? I’m Kathy Fleming. I’m a girl from the mountains of NC. My mom taught social studies and my dad was a mechanic. Those skills they had and that unique perspective helps me every day.
Since I am a mountain girl, I sometimes think I do this because it’s the high spot around here. . The lighthouse is a vantage point from which to look out and off to view the world. I like the “space” here and the light itself. But inside, I’m an artist. I have a degree in painting from Wake Forest University (The little school that could.)
I think really I fell into lighthouses by accident. No pun intended. I loved museums and wanted to be part of one again. I started out as a PR person at a big Southern Art museum. I left because I had a great life, but no money. Lived on a chicken farm in a beautiful farm house in Pelzer, SC and then moved to NY State. Culture shock. There I was promoted and eventually directed a small historical society. I wrote a column for the paper, taught a class at Skidmore college.
One day my college crush left a note on my mail box. He was working in a nearby state. I married him not long after. I moved to Florida and watched the Palm trees sway in Ft. Lauderdale. I swam in November and thought Floridians were nuts not to. I would never do this today.
We moved to Brevard county where I raised money for people with disabilities. I have a grandmother who was disabled from birth. But, I wanted to do get back into my profession -museums. As it happened, my husband’s family were/are Thompson’s from the Bahamas and his great grandfather was William Frances “Papa” Thompson of the Hope Town Lighthouse. When we were pregnant with our first we came to St. Augustine as tourists. We saw the lighthouse, but did not visit it. I saw an add in the AAM Aviso for a museum in St. Augustine. It did not say which museum. I sent a resume
So…here I am. It may sound like so much hooey, but I love what I do. I think lighthouses are powerful too. They represent more to me than just remarkable and interesting engineering. They represent a desire of mankind to venture forth and to overcome obstacles. That’s remarkable don’t you think? It’s something we all share. It makes them worth saving. Happy Holidays to All!