“Hey, I Knew Her !” – REPOST

Kathy Arnold Taft
BobLee
April09/ 2020

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April 10, 2020

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REPOST FROM 2010 – “Hey, I Knew Her”

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This is Looking Back to a BLSays column from March 2010.  It concerns a random home invasion in Raleigh in 2010 that turned into a tragic senseless murder… of Someone I Knew – Kathy Arnold Taft.

NOTE:  Every senseless tragedy involves somebody that somebody knows… relative, neighbor, classmate, co-worker, etc. – sigh.

Kathy and I were high school classmates in Kinston in the mid 60s.  Not close friends… just “knew one another”.  Kathy went on to become a prominent Democrat activist – member of the NC Board of Education… and close friend of former Governor Bev “Dumplin” Perdue. … I became an Internet Legend and …

I wrote recently about BobLee’s Special Nine.  If Kathy Taft was still with us, I’d have to replace one of those nine… or expand it to BobLee’s Special Ten.  Fate eliminated me making that choice.

On this 10th Anniversary of Kathy Arnold Taft’s death … I remember her.

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“Hey, I Know Her!”

March 2010

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HEY, I Know Her! ….. Stuff happens every day – good stuff and bad stuff.  “Stuff happening” is so commonplace we tend to ho-hum the news.  Saturday I was skimming a local news website and noted a headline about a “State Education Official Murdered”.

Not sure why I was compelled to open the story.  HEY, I know her!  The State Education Official was Kathy (Arnold) Taft – a hometown schoolmate and friend of 50+ years. …..

Ms Burroughs 1st grade class at Lemuel Harvey Elementary School – in the class picture I’m on the first row 3rd from the Left.  Kathy, I believe, was down the row on the Right.  Ironic as it turned out!

As BLSays regulars know, Kathy and I grew up in a small town, not REAL small – “just right” small.  TWO movie theaters and two high schools (pre-integration South).  Our high school class had a little over 200 members.

In those days, you grew up with the same bunch of kids.  3-4 elementary schools fed into the one high school but through sports, church and assorted social stuff everyone knew everyone else around your own age.

There are concentric circles in “knowing people”.  Kathy Arnold woulda been in maybe my 3rd or 4th circle.  Ours was an easy-going community where everyone pretty much got along.  There was the “country club set” and the Fairfield Park crowd and Emma Webb Park bunch and 1-2 other geographical subsets but lots of intermingling among’em.

It was a Happy Days “growing up” centering around the assorted rites of passage of that era – like “Homecoming” each Fall.  Tobacco was the straw that stirred the local economic drink meaning big ol’ tobacco warehouses ideal for assembling homecoming floats.  We’d gather in the warehouse each night of Homecoming Week and stuff colored tissue paper into chickenwire to decorate the flatbed trucks aka “floats”.

If you had asked me 15 years ago to list everyone in my senior class as I remembered them I probably would have listed Kathy Arnold between #50-75.   She might have had me at about that point too, I guess.

I went off to Chapel Hill, my launching pad to the world.  I think Kathy went to ECU.  Our class has been really good about regular reunions.  Happy DaysI’ve been a regular attendee over the years as has Kathy.  A testament that those “Happy Days” really were “Happy Days”.

Kathy’s mom, Tess, lived across the street from my mom for awhile.  They were good neighbors.  Most neighbors were good neighbors in our town.

I love those Dear Hearts & Gentle People who lived and loved in my home town …..”

I tried various careers over the decades.  Kathy, she often joked, “tried various husbands”.  Both of us had varying success in our sampling of life’s offerings.

One of Kathy’s husbands was Tommy Taft – a hot-shot trial lawyer who (yes) ran with John Edwards and his high-flying Democ-cronies in the mid-late 90s.  Tom & Kathy had a beach house on toney Figure Eight Island and hosted “Al & Tipper”.  You may know a few “Als” but likely only one “Tipper” so ya get my drift.  Kathy and Tommy’s marriage went south. Tommy kept the beach house.

Meanwhile yours truly was gaining notoriety as an “Right-wing Fanatic with some notorious friends”.  Uh oh …..

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NOTE:  American Politics in the 21st century is divided into two categories per “the media”:  (1) Left-wing Lunatics a/k/a “Mainstream Moderates” ….. and (2) Right-wing Fanatics a/k/a “the rest of us”.   I’m not a (1) so I must be a (2).   Oh well….

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It was at Phyllis Martin’s’ birthday party that BobLeeRight met KathyLeft at the punch bowl.  Oh ….. have I mentioned that Kathy had “aged” Really Really Well!

I’m old-school Southern boy ….. when encountering a woman I measure her by her obvious charms well before I confront her ideology of choice.  If the former grades out high enough I can deal with her goofy politics at least in a social encounter.

If Quite Lovely Kathy had launched into a uber-Lib screed I could have just looked at her and smiled while mentally taking “pi” to 20 decimal places, but that never happened at all.

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We had a maaahvelous chat during which she asked “BobLee, as charming and smart as you are, how could you possibly be a Conservative?”

To which I smiled, gave her a hug, and replied “Kathy, dear, you just answered your own question.”…… “….. and Kathy, you’re a she-lib who shaves her legs and doesn’t ride a broomstick.  What’s with that?”  

Kathy Taft and BobLee bonded right there at that punch bowl.

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We both are FOE (Friends of Erskine) which, of course, always mystifies Libs who meet me.  Mystifying Libs is great fun ….. and not that difficult.

After our re-acquaintification, Kathy and I would seek each other out at social events.  The last time being “Coach Jones’ Funeral” this past Spring.  I told her she really needed to meet The Popular Young Chancellor & Pistol (a/k/a Holden & Patti Thorp).

(A Lot has changed in these past ten years … Huh?)

I am partial to attractive ladies with engaging sense of humors.  Kathy and I always joked that we knew we were being watched to see if we’d start a fist-fight over politics.

My friend Kathy Arnold Taft was killed last week in what appears to have been a random home invasion that became a senseless murder of Someone I Knew….. DAMN IT!

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Ruth Miller
Ruth Miller
3 months ago

BL, I can’t believe we have been without this beautiful lady for 10 years. No matter what our philosophical differences that never got in the way of our friendship. Seeing this beautiful picture brought good memories, fun times and tears to my eyes. Thanks for providing me a few moments of quiet reflection and much needed escape! Keep up the great job of informing and entertaining!

Robert Kennel
Robert Kennel
3 months ago

BL, I can see that Adam74 may just be scared of the word “liberal” –. Could use the word “Progressive” 🙄 . Jennie’s Maid of Honor was Linda Macmahon ( and vice versa). She stepped down a year ago from Trump’s Cabinet heading SBA. Hosted a dinner for her and Jennie 18 months ago and I asked through Jennie this week whether she was glad not to be at SBA right now and she said her work heading up Trump’s “America First” campaign fund was too important. . Her husband Vince (World Wide Wrestling) was in Florida trying to put… Read more »

Adam.74
Adam.74
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Kennel

Thanks BL. You are correct that I am NOT “scared” of WolfKennel. Who IS this guy??? That he thinks I might be plays into his overall delusions about how political stereotypes develop. He appears to be a Classic liberal.

Claude Kennedy
Claude Kennedy
3 months ago

BL: Thanks for a nice article on KT. She was on the BOE in Pitt County while I was teaching and coaching in same. Nice lady who’s life ended way to soon

Adam.74
Adam.74
3 months ago

Great column BobLee. I remember that incident but had not thought it WAS TEN YEARS ago. It did seem like it could happen to anyone. Scary!
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Speaking of scary. I still think that “58WolfKennel” is a character you made up to represent how delusional liberals can be.

58WolfKennel
58WolfKennel
3 months ago

BL, As you might imagine, Kathy Taft and my Sister Jennie were good friends. First her neice was in the early Arapahoe Charter School with Jennie, Later they were both appointed to the State Charter School Advisory Committee by your favorite Governor.
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Also why do some of your “Classic 9 Friends” with liberal bents be willing to deal with your brand of politics. It is a liberal thing to want to know how everyone thinks on a subject, and their minds are open enough they might even learn something :>))

BC.PV.FL
BC.PV.FL
3 months ago

Fantastic column! Makes me wish I had known her.

Babs.Derm
Babs.Derm
3 months ago

Was the perp ever found?

robedixon
robedixon
3 months ago

Funny that you re-post this column as I thought about it and the lady you mention here when about a month or so ago I was friended on Facebook by someone who was one class under me in high school but I knew fairly well. We had maybe 300 people in all of our high school so we got to know all classes there pretty well. Anyhoo this new friend on Facebook was always a looker in high school and when I graduated I lost track of her. Seems she ended up in the Triangle. . When I first saw… Read more »

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