Chat Room: Carol Ergenbright

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By Lance Coleman

Carol Ergenbright
Age: 60.
Marital Status: Married to Bob Ergenbright for 39 years. Two children, daughter Kristen Craft, and son Rob Ergenbright. Two grandchildren: Reed, 4, and Raliegh, 2.
Occupation: Adult education coordinator.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
"On the first day of my first job, I accidentally sprayed my boss in the face with a combination of whipped cream and soda water while learning how to make an ice cream soda. Fortunately, he laughed, and I kept the job. I suppose it helped that my Dad was co-owner."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"I always loved to read, so a career that enabled me to share that pleasure with others just seemed natural."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I wanted to write cowboy stories. Hop along Cassidy was my hero."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
"I would love to lose about 20 pounds."

What is your passion?
"My passion is reflected in my job. I sincerely believe in the importance of education, especially adult education. To see the difference that learning to read better or earning a GED can make in a person’s life is an incredible experience. Being involved with this program has truly been a life-changing experience for me."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"I’d rather make a list of the Top 10, which would definitely include ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ The Tolkien trilogy, and "Things of This World," (by Richard Wilbur).

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"I would love to meet and talk with Jane Austen. Her insight into human nature and her sense of humor light up the world created in her novels."

What’s your favorite quote?
"Love calls us to things of this world." (From the poem by Richard Wilbur)

What is your dream vacation?
"Anywhere with a great beach and nearby historic attractions."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"All of the above. my children attended Maryville schools. I work for Blount County schools, and we have friends whose children attend Alcoa."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
"Pride and Prejudice" (the A&E/BBC version)

What is your favorite sport and your favorite sport’s team?
"Probably basketball, although I don’t follow sports regularly. However, I do like to know whenever the Vols win."

What is the best present you ever received?
"When I was 10 years old, I received the best Christmas present - a three-speed bike. When I rode ‘Bluebird,’ I felt like the whole world was mine to explore."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
"No. I was usually a teacher’s pet. However, once I was sent to the office for a dress code violation. I wore culottes to school at a time when girls were required to wear skirts."

What was your first paying job?
"When I was 15, I worked as a soda jerk at my father’s drug store. I learned how hard waitresses have to work. I also learned that I definitely wanted to do something else to make a living."

If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you take?
"A really good, really long book. On a more practical note, a cell phone would be quite helpful."

What task or activity have you still not gotten around to doing?
"Cleaning out our garage. Just thinking about it makes me tired."

What are you guilty of?
"I grew up in the South, so I always feel guilty about something. Procrastination and untidiness are two of my worst flaws."

Do you think there is life on other planets?
"Who knows? I enjoy science fiction, so I think that would be an intriguing possibility."

What are you reading currently?
"I just finished ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ and ‘Next.’ "

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
"This is a very difficult question. At first, I naturally thought of American political figures, then I considered authors. However, the inspirational leadership provided by Winston Churchill certainly makes him a strong contender."

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