Chatham@Work | B Demers of the Chatham Literacy Council

Posted 8/2/19

ABOUT B DEMERS: B — that’s her real name, along with her “normal” middle name, Natalie — Demers was born “a long time ago, when Truman was president,” she says, and “in a galaxy far, …

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Chatham@Work | B Demers of the Chatham Literacy Council

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ABOUT B DEMERS: B — that’s her real name, along with her “normal” middle name, Natalie — Demers was born “a long time ago, when Truman was president,” she says, and “in a galaxy far, far away — south central Wisconsin.” She wound up living in New Orleans and moved to Siler City after Hurricane Katrina.

Formally, she’s retired. Informally, she’s worked on staff for the Chatham Literacy Council for the past three years. In between she’s been a respiratory therapist, crisis intervention counselor, EMS worker/educator, mediator, attorney, sleep technologist and income tax preparer. Along the way she’s accumulated two undergraduate degrees, three master’s degrees and a doctorate. She’s one of 10 children. “After which,” she says, “I was happy to have just one amazing daughter (who lives in Greensboro) and a grandson.” She has six adopted cats, a number which may grow to seven, given that “another one that seems to have taken up residence a few weeks ago.”

What was your first paying job, and what did it teach you?

Cleaning summer tourist cottages when I was 10 years old. I thought I was on my way to the top at $1/hour.

What’s the most difficult job you’ve ever had?

I worked as an orthodontist assistant for one month shortly out of high school. It’s very difficult to work for someone with OCD.

What’s the most unusual customer request or question you’ve ever had?

While working in healthcare, I once had a patient who couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get a goodnight kiss.

What advice would you give someone considering doing the same line of work as you?

No matter what the job is, if you don’t like it, move on. Life is too short!

Your standard order at a coffee shop?

Anything but coffee.

Your ultimate “happy place”?

Always, my home, with my “stuff,” no matter where I’m living.

Coke or Pepsi?

Pepsi, diet and preferably caffeine-free.

Where is your dream location to retire?

Not sure I fully grasp the whole concept of “retirement.”

Which do you like better: starting or finishing?

Starting. I like the challenge of the unknown. Finishing is too often anti-climactic.

Life on other planets? Yes or no?

Sure hope so!

Stay up late or get up early?

Get up early.

Does the early bird really get the worm?

No, because the worm’s hours are not always predictable.

On a snow day, you’d stay home and binge-watch:

Don’t have the capability nor the interest in binge-watching. I prefer patiently anticipated what’s next.

Dogs or cats?

Cats — they’re more independent.

Ever danced in the rain?

Hasn’t everyone at some point?!

What’s the best use of a snow day?

Making snow cream — then eating it with a cup of hot chocolate.

What’s the most amazing thing about you that most people wouldn’t have guessed?

I can write backwards in cursive — not real marketable, but a talent nonetheless. Gotta learn to appreciate the little things :)

What is the most significant of your life’s goals that you haven’t yet accomplished?

I always thought I didn’t have a “bucket list,” because when I wanted to do something, I just did it.

Who was the best teacher (in school or at work) you ever had, and why?

Prof. Karherine Lorio, from law school. She helped me be in the right place at the right time, to get ahead or reach a goal.

The trait you most deplore in yourself:

I interrupt people when they’re talking.

Your strongest trait:

My sense of humor.

What was the last thing you did that really made your boss proud of you?

Being featured in this issue of the News + Record, representing Chatham Literacy!

What’s your favorite athletic team, and why?

New Orleans Saints football, because they were such underdogs for so long. Also, any pro soccer team. I so admire the strength, strategy and stamina of those athletes.

The book you’re currently reading:

“Abraham,” by Bruce Feiler

The TV program that’s a “must-see” for you:

This is Us

Your favorite movie of all time:

“Madam X,” an old black & white Lana Turner tear jerker, which holds a close spot with the more modern “City of Angels.”

How many hours per week do you spend online?

15-20, for fun, not business.

If money weren’t an object, but you still had to work, what would your job be?

Always what it was at any given time in my life.

What radio station do you listen to most frequently?


One day, when you have time, what would you like to learn how to do?

Become fluent in Spanish

What do you plan to do after retirement?

Doing it now — work and volunteer

What’s your favorite snack food?


Your strongest childhood ambition was:

To get a job making $5/hour!

Your ideal dinner guest list (living or dead, up to six invitees) includes:

Chrissy Teigen, Ellen DeGeneres, John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Adele and Pink

A fear you haven’t yet overcome is:

The water.

Something not many people know you collect is…?

It took me a long time to stop being a collector.

What’s the best way you know to spend $20?

To anonymously pay it forward for someone else.

The most famous person you’ve ever met:

Joe Biden

Favorite city in the whole world:

The Hague (Netherlands)

What you like best (or least) about where you live now:

Totally love the friendliness and cultural diversity of Siler City — it’s why I moved here.

Favorite place to eat:

Greek Kouzina in Pittsboro

The credo or motto you like to try to live by:

The cliche “Do unto others . . .”

The best advice you ever got was:

Always grab for the brass ring

If you had lots of money to give away, you’d give most of it to:

Groups that help the disenfranchised.

What’s the wildest or most interesting single thing that’s ever happened to you?

Hurricane Katrina

What is your favorite book?

The Book Thief

Is there a hobby you can’t live without?

Gardening and crafts

Is there an item or collectible you hold dear?

My grandmother’s pendant watch that she received on her 16th birthday.

What are some of your favorite things?

Cats, plants, seashells and Christmas trees!

What would be your last meal?


If you were given $5,000 to donate to a non-profit organization, which would you pick – and why?

Chatham Literacy, because I’ve always put a high value on education.

Ever had a brush with celebrity?

Lunch with Joe Biden (and five other people).

Would you go bungee jumping or skydiving?

Bungee jumping — my bones couldn’t handle a skydiving landing anymore.

Do you have a tattoo?

Yes, two or three.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to tell someone?

That a loved one had cancer.

Would you consider plastic surgery if someone else paid for it?

Not right now — ask me again in a few years.

Biggest pet peeve?

People who use the word “like” to start every sentence or phrase.

What’s your usual wake-up time in the morning?

5:30 or 6 a.m.

What talent do you wish you had?

Anything musical

Favorite band or musical artist?


Favorite dessert?


If you could go back in time and change one historic event, what would it be?

I don’t think you can change one historic event without changing others.

What’s your favorite condiment?

Black pepper

Do you have bumper stickers of any kind on your car?

Yes, “Families Belong Together” & Shakori Hills Music Festival: Preventing Droughts in Chatham County Since 2001

If you could create one rule that all society had to live by, what would it be?

Again, it sounds cliche, but “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

How do you define success?

By your level of happiness in any given endeavor.

Describe your life philosophy in six words or less:

What goes around, comes around.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I wouldn’t, she needs the experiences to learn — both good & bad.

Would you rather explore outer space or the ocean floor?

Outer space - it’s still so mysterious.

What’s the most important thing your job has taught you?

My jobs have always taught me to separate what you’re doing from who’s the boss when necessary.

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