Farmer’s Daughter to Queen Victoria
Growing up on the farm as a shy young lady, Connie Oliver Humphrey never expected to travel the world, but she always enjoyed role playing. Even as a child, Connie liked to don costumes and pretend to be someone else. One of those earliest ones happened to be Dale Evans. At home she would dress in her cowgirl hat and boots as she became Queen of the West.
The first time this shy young lady ever performed on stage happened at Cambridge High School during the senior class play, with just a small part. Most of her high school years were spent in the bookmobile reading all the books in the history section.
So when Connie went to Marietta College, it seemed natural to major in history. However, lack of encouragement from the history teacher and a notice of her theatrical abilities from another, had her changing gears. Theater became her major and creating costumes her passion.
Still, when she graduated, Connie wasn’t sure what she wanted to do or where she wanted to live. Before making a final decision, Connie became a stewardess for Piedmont Airlines. Then she met the man who would change her world. Michael worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, which eventually led them on many great adventures.
Before long, Connie didn’t have to worry about where she would live as Michael became an Agricultural attache in the American Embassy in places such as Moscow, Hong Kong, and Jakarta, then moved on to Singapore. Connie was off to see the world.
On this amazing adventure, she never knew what was going to happen next. In each country, she joined the local theater group, where she helped with costumes and became an actress.
When on stage, her shyness disappeared as she became a different person. In her words, “I put Connie on a hook in the dressing room.” Only once did Connie and Michael appear on the same stage in a spoof on Robin Hood and His Merry Men. It required Connie to sing off-key, which she said wasn’t difficult for her.
In Jakarta, one of her favorite performances took place in the role of Emily Dickinson. Connie performed a one-woman show on stage there in the play, Belle of Amherst. She learned the poetry from the heart and talked to the audience as though she were carrying on a conversation with them.
Emily spent her life as a recluse, writing poetry and stashing it away because one suitor told her she was not a poet. Still she wrote as if she experienced the joys and sorrows of the human race.
During their travels, they shared many wonderful experiences with family and new friends. One of those happened at a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, where they attended a traditional Easter service. Only children and grandparents were permitted to participate, with the militia there to guard again other adult participation. As part of the American Embassy, they were permitted to view the impressive service.
Her favorite place, Hong Kong, overflowed with life and color. Every nationality walked their streets. which held plentiful food and supplies. Something exciting happened frequently wherever they lived. From an elephant ride in Indonesia to the dynamic Fourth of July fireworks in Washington D.C., new experiences created lifetime memories.
Upon her return to Guernsey County, Connie became involved with Dickens Victorian Village working on their Creative Team creating costumes for the mannequins.Then last year, with a bit of encouragement, she stepped into the role of Queen Victoria, queen during the time of Charles Dickens.
“How does someone get to be Queen?”
“You must select your parents with great care.”
Her visits to the elementary schools have been well received and she often greets visitors at opportune moments throughout the season. Connie enjoys getting dressed for her role as Queen Victoria, where she holds children under her spell as she tells of life as Queen.In December, there will also be a program, Dickens Audience with the Queen, where she shares the stage with historian, Chris Hart.
In her spare time, Connie’s role as farmer’s wife continues and she works tirelessly for the First Presbyterian Church in Cambridge. Her husband, children and grandchildren always come first, and give her a glow of happiness for all to see.
Connie values the freedom we have in our country after viewing life in some of the places they served. In fact in the near future, they plan an RV trip across the United States, a place they have not yet explored. They have people and places to see on their journey.
But first she must reign as Queen Victoria in Dickens Victorian Village.