Ann Hoy flew out of New York City on Nov. 2, arriving in Arkansas in time to visit her friends and participate in all the activities surrounding UCA’s Homecoming 2012.
While many descended upon Conway for this festive week, most of them had showered before they left their home, which had full electricity, and may have even printed their boarding pass before they left for the airport.
Hoy did none of these things.
“I flew out on that Friday morning at 6 a.m.,” she said. “We had been without electricity since Sunday. I had not had a decent shower since Sunday night or shampooed my hair.”
She had no cell phone service, no landline service, no electricity, no television, no internet and no hot water, thanks to Super Storm Sandy, which had made landfall in New York on Oct. 29.
Taxis weren’t in great supply and the car service she normally used was not operating because of a gasoline shortage.
“I live in Greenwich Village at Washington Square Park,” Hoy said. “At 3:30 a.m., Pat, my husband, and I walked to the busiest thoroughfare, 6th Avenue, and I literally stood in front of a cab and forced him to take me [to the airport.] The driver was shaking his head and his finger at me and I said ‘I have cash money’ and he said ‘get in.’”
She added that packing was an ordeal as well, as there was no light with which to see what she had placed in her bags.
“I got there and there were things in my suitcase that I didn’t intend to bring,” Hoy laughed.
Her trip, she said, was well worth all the effort it took. The 2012 homecoming was the first she had attended since her graduation 50 years ago from University of Central Arkansas, then-Arkansas State Teachers College.
“Homecoming has always been at a time when I couldn’t come,” Hoy said. “Because I was teaching for 42 years.”
Hoy said she was impressed with the events, especially the dance on Friday night.
“I told my husband I wished he was there because we both love to dance, but I found plenty of partners. The entertainment was spectacular,” she added, saying it was difficult to say which events she enjoyed more.
“It was just so nice getting to catch up with all my friends,” Hoy said. She and a group of Delta Zeta sorority sisters stayed at the Hilton Garden together, and welcomed their classmates at the breakfast and luncheon. She added that the fried catfish was worth all the trouble it took to get to Arkansas in the aftermath of the storm, saying that decent fried catfish is a rarity in New York.
Hoy, who was born in Camden, and husband Pat, from Hamburg, have lived in New York City for several years but have also lived in Boston and at West Point Academy, where her husband served for 28 years and where they raised a family. Hoy’s husband is now an English professor at New York University, while Hoy is a retired elementary school teacher, who is often called to substitute. A proper retirement and a move back home to Little Rock is planned for the next couple of years. The Hoys purchased a home in Little Rock five years ago.
Hoy’s son returned to Arkansas to attend college at Hendrix, and graduated in 1986. Hoy said she encouraged him to attend UCA, but Hendrix appealed to him.
“We happened to be riding around the area one summer and Governor’s School was going on at Hendrix,” Hoy explained. “We looked, and he really liked it. There was something about that small school. He still has very dear friends and still loves to go back to Arkansas.”
Hoy said she was fascinated at the change and growth the campus has enjoyed in the last few years, adding that new buildings were designed to fit in, even match, older ones, giving a consistency to campus aesthetics.
“I’m very proud of UCA and ASTC and what it has become,” Hoy said. “The different degrees that it offers and the diversity and all the changes are for the good. It’s a good direction to be going in.”
As for next year, Hoy is already planning to attend Homecoming to help invite her sorority sisters into their 50-year club.
“It was fun going back sitting in that lovely stadium and visiting with all my friends,” she said.