Lunch with Mrs. Hatteras Kester


She is a great old lady, having been with the same man for 98 years, yet she suddenly announced that she is marrying someone new.

“I’m going to be Mrs. Sherman Oaks,” she told me.

I was quite shocked. She said nothing negative about her husband, just that she was ready to marry someone else.

“It just makes sense to me. I want to take his name. I’m not unhappy, you see, being Mrs. Hatteras Kester, and I don’t think it will hurt Mr. Kester at all if I leave him,” she said.

Had he abused her? Was she unhappy in the marriage? What caused her to make this decision?

“I eat with Sherman, I shop with Sherman, my grandchildren love Sherman. It just seems logical, ” she said.

She was dignified, but basically a plain spoken and unremarkable looking old woman. Once she had lived with Mr. Kester amidst many acres of orange and walnut groves, but after World War II, they sold the land along the Southern Pacific railroad line and settled into a comfortable suburban life that suited her.

“What does Mr. Kester think?” I asked.

“I haven’t even asked him. I just got up one morning and decided that it made sense to walk out on him and start a new life with a new husband. Nobody is hurt by my decision. Absolutely nobody,” she said.

She had many children, and quite a few grandchildren, and she was walking out on a partnership that had worked well for almost 100 years and remarkably, she had not one negative word to say about her soon to be ex-husband.

Mr. Kester, from what people tell me, has not even uttered a word about his wife’s abandonment. He runs a taco stand up on Victory and Kester and his wife refuses to go up past Oxnard because there is an insurmountable industrial belt blocking her passage by automobile.

“He is happy where he is, but what counts for me is how happy I want to be married to someone else. Is there anything wrong with that?” she asked.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman like her.

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