England product learns about life in Portales

Complied by Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent

Your name: Melissa Hammar
Your job: Food service at McDonalds
Your age (and Birth Date):25 years old, 11-16-79
Your hometown: I was born in Omaha, New England.
Your family: I have two sons, Darin and Joey, and my boyfriend James Smith.
Your hobbies and groups you are involved with, volunteer work: My hobbies tend to be chasing kids around and doing laundry. I also enjoy reading and cross stitching. I volunteer to walk the dog every now and then. With work and school, I don’t have much time for anything else.
What do you think of Portales?
“When I first moved to Portales, I hated it. My family moved here from England, where I was half an hour from London. We moved to this tiny little town that smelled like cow manure and there were practically no military brats anywhere. I was made fun of more here than anywhere else I’ve lived. My teachers did try to help by pointing out the differences in people and saying they were good, but they only made things worse. I think that ENMU is a good school, which is why I’m still here. As for Portales itself, the people here still try to be nice by pointing out the differences in people, but that still only makes things worse. But I really do think it’s getting better.”

Tell us about your parents:
“My parents are Scott and Zella Berry. They are both from Ohio. They live in Albuquerque where my mom works in human resources at a bank and my dad teaches public school. They were both in the Air Force and my dad retired from the military about 10 years back. They’ve been married for almost 27 years. My dad makes jewelery and my mom also does work for their church up in Rio Rancho.”
When you were a kid, what did you think you would be doing as an adult?
“I wanted to live in New York City in a high rise apartment, be a lawyer, and at the age of about 30, adopt a 5 year old boy with brown hair and brown eyes. I also had plans to never get married and work about 60 hours per week.”
Tell us about your first career:
“I don’t think I have really had a career, just jobs. My first job was working at Sears in the children’s department. The Nintendo 64 and Play Station had just come out and I got to play a lot of demos on them when things weren’t busy. It was an easy job, and with no bills $400 a month was great. I blew every penny I earned, as all teenagers should.”
Tell us about a happy time:
“I remember when I was little, my dad use to go on (temporary duty) and he would bring me and my brother little souvenirs from the neat places he had been (i.e. Washington, D.C.). I kept a coloring book that he had given me for almost 10 years. Then my mom told me that he just bought the stuff in the airport on the way coming home. Thanks, Mom.”
What is your favorite smell?
“I like frankincense incense, coffee in the morning and the smell of rain.”
What do you enjoy doing with your free time?
“I like playing with my kids and taking them places they’ve never been. I like to read and play racquetball. I like to take walks in the evenings.”
What is the best gift you have ever received?
“My Grandpa Joe used to make things out of leather, and when I was small he made me a little leather pouch that had my name on it with flowers. I used to carry it to church sometimes with my offering money. I still have it. I liked it so much because it was made just for me and I thought it was so neat what he could do with his leather working tools.”
If you could go anywhere in the world for dinner, where would you go and what would you have?
“I like lobster a lot. So I guess somewhere that has good lobster. Maybe in Maine.”
What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but have been afraid to try?
“Skydiving. I’m afraid of falling. However, I like when I’m in an airplane watching all the houses get smaller and smaller, until they all look like toys. Has anyone ever noticed that a ton of people have pools in Dallas? That has always impressed me.”
If you could go on an adventure, what would it entail?
“Just about anything having to do with dragons or elves or strange far away lands that sound neat.”
If I could do anything, I would…
“Turn invisible. I think that would come in handy.”
What is your favorite book and why?
“‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Because it shows that even though you may not be able to control a situation, you can always control how you act toward others. And that you can’t control what the outside world shows your children, but you can control what you teach them and what is acceptable and not acceptable in your house.”
What advice would you give to high school graduates?
“Spend all your graduation money on things you’ll only have memories of. Go to college right away and keep going. Take all your math classes as soon as you can. You’d be surprised how quickly you forget the formula for logarithms.”
What is your greatest hope?
“What my children grow up to be kind, caring, accepting, and successful.”