I'm Kathy Stinson Hessmer
Washington, DC is my hometown. I was born there and lived in the Brentwood neighborhood in Northeast until I was nine years old when my parents fled to the Maryland suburbs to save me from the DC school system. Transplanted in Montgomery County, I grew and thrived. So I correct myself, Wheaton, Maryland is my hometown.
I came of age in the 1960s, steeped in a brew of traditional culture and progressive enlightenment. I dodged the hippies and the drugs in high school and college and figured out all by myself that the war in Viet Nam was messed up, women were getting a bum deal, and “racism” was too nice a word for what was really happening.
I surprised my family and friends after college (The University of Maryland, 1973) when I joined the Army. I entered as a second lieutenant with a direct commission. No ROTC or Academy opportunities for women back then. A direct commission meant one minute I was a civilian, the next minute, following an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I was an Army officer. Not being a quitter, I stayed for 20 years.
Three years later I applied for and was accepted to flight school. In 1977 I graduated and became one of the Army’s first women helicopter pilots. Learning to fly was complicated and exhausting, but was easy compared to learning to live with the duplicity and male hysteria. I must have done all right as they sent me back to school to learn to fly fixed-wing aircraft.
I’m a veteran, not just of the Army, but also Federal service, and the architecture community. I also managed to squeeze in a master’s degree in public communications (American University, 1999).
I used that degree when I was Director of Communications at the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC. And later at a prominent architecture firm, also in DC.
I am an open-minded Christian, passionate Democrat, and confessed Facebook addict. And if you haven’t done the math, I'm also a Baby Boomer.
Today you’ll find me and my sweet husband living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, two government retirees on a budget, walking distance from the Chesapeake Bay, and a 15-minute drive from the Atlantic Ocean at 81st Street.
Welcome to my blog.