Catherine Hardee: What is, 'Kinston'?
“You look really familiar for some reason.”
That’s a question I’ve heard a lot in the last four years, and I generally respond by asking, “Do you watch ‘Jeopardy!’?” Being on Jeopardy! was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and it was so much fun, but when I headed to California to tape my episodes, I really had no idea how much of an impact it would have on my hometown.
I was overwhelmed by the support I received from everyone in the area. It certainly made me realize that I’m not cut out to be a celebrity, but I was so happy to have done something to bring positive attention to Kinston.
When Alex Trebek made the unforgivable error of calling our town “Kingston,” I knew it would cause a stir, and it certainly did. When people recognized me, the second thing they said was “You need to tell Alex Trebek how to say Kinston.” I’m not sure he appreciated the correction, but I did get the chance to tell him during the Tournament of Champions in 2015.
It mattered a lot to me, because I was born and raised in Kinston, and even as I went away to college and graduate school, I never stopped caring about the place I came from. Thanks to my Jeopardy! winnings, I was able to purchase a house, and with it the beautiful Briary Run oak, which is said to be the oldest tree in Lenoir County. I have loved that tree since I was a child, and I am so thrilled to be its caretaker now and have the responsibility to ensure it continues to flourish for many centuries to come.
I came home because I knew I wanted to continue to be a part of this community, and I am very excited to have the chance to write for NeuseNews.com and get to know more of the people who call this area home along with me. I have gotten the opportunity to travel to some amazing places around the country and around the world, but there is always a moment when I’m traveling when I realize that, as wonderful as this place might be, I am just ready to be home.
I’m thankful to have a place like this to call home, and the opportunity to be a part of bringing the news to everyone in this area.
If you have any story ideas for me, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!