Chat Room: Charlene DeSha

Age: 37

Married: to Tommy DeSha; son, Eli Cash DeSha is 2 years old.

Occupation: Coordinator, Keep Blount Beautiful.

Charlene DeSha and her family recently suffered the trauma of a house fire on July 4. While no one was injured, the house was destroyed. DeSha’s said the fire started in the attic, and she was told it was electrical in nature. The Keep Blount Beautiful coordinator said that in the aftermath of the fire, her family has grown closer. “We stayed at a friend’s house. Just spending time together, we thought about how lucky we were to have made it,” she said. “Friends and family and neighbors have been supportive. That’s what has gotten us through the tough times.”

Neighbors collected $1,000 the day after the fire so DeSha and her family could buy clothes and other items they needed immediately. What really impressed DeSha was when the children in the neighborhood collected toys for her 2-year-old son Eli Cash who lost all his toys in the fire.

“It was all their idea. They showed up with a huge wagon with toys. It’s not often kids have the opportunity to help someone they know. That was neat. We were so grateful,” she said.

Here is Charlene DeSha:

• What was your first paying job?

“Shining shoes at my dad’s hair salon.”

• If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?

“Buy a huge sail boat and sail around the world with Tommy and Eli for year or longer.”

• What’s your favorite television or movie quote?

“Do you think our love can take us away together? I think our love can do anything we want it to,” from the last scene of “The Notebook.”

• What are you guilty of?

“Apparently I use to steal things as a toddler. I am still accused of stealing my aunt’s and uncle’s baby Jesus from their Nativity scene. I was too young to remember, and that’s the story I’m sticking with.”

• What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?

“Learn how to SCUBA dive. I’d love to see what the world looks like under water. It’s a whole other world.”

• What is your favorite material possession?

“It was my Perception Sea Kayak, lost it in a fire recently.”

• What are you reading currently?

“A book by James Patterson, ‘The Jester.’ It was so good. It’s not normally what Patterson writes.”

• Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?

“Howard Hughes. He changed aviation as we know it today.”

• What was your most embarrassing moment?

“Walking around after our house fire in Homer Simpson boxer shorts with bed head. It was so embarrassing. We walked out without shoes or anything. I was trying to pull my shirt down over my boxer shorts. I said, ‘I can’t believe I had these on.’ It was funny. At least I thought it was funny.”

• What is one word others often use to describe you and why?

“Happy, mostly, because I’m always smiling and choose to see the good in people and in life.”

• When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

“A vet. I really loved animals when I was a kid. If we went to an animal shelter, I picked the one bleeding or hurt.”

• If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

“My hair. I wish I could get up, wash it and go, instead of having to fix it.”

• What is your passion?

“Living life to the fullest and making sure my friends and family know I love them.”

• With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?

“Robin Williams. I love to laugh, and I think he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen. Every time he has an interview on TV, I laugh the entire time.”

• What do you hate?

“Stupidity. I don’t have patience for it.”

• What is your all-time favorite movie?

“ ‘The Notebook.’ I’m a hopeless romantic.”

• What is the best book you’ve ever read?

“ ‘Memoirs of a Geisha.’ I read it years before the movie came out.”

• Would you travel in space?

“Yes. It sounds like a wonderful adventure.”

• If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?

“Sometime before my grandfather came down with Alzheimer’s so I could get to know him much better.”

• What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?

“Any one of Danielle Steel’s characters. They always have a tragedy, but, on the other hand, they are always beautiful and very rich, and there’s always a happy ending.”

• What is the best present you ever received in a box?

“My engagement ring, of course.”

• What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

• Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?

“No, just detention for skipping lunch and going to Burger King.”

• Who is your hero?

“Anyone who survives a tragedy. Most of them understand the real meaning of life.”

• What was your first car?

“The first car I paid for was a Honda Prelude, 5-speed with a sunroof.”

• What’s your favorite all time song?

“‘Dancing Queen,’ by Abba.”

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