OUT OF COURT
When Judge Sharp moved to Raleigh in 1962, hastily arranging for rooms in the Hotel Sir Walter, she did not imagine that she would never again live in Reidsville. She had refused numerous opportunities to sell her empty lot in the Pennrose neighborhood of Reidsville, earmarked for her retirement, and she entertained herself from time to time with house plans. At first, of course, she had no idea whether she would remain on the supreme court, although after having been the top vote getter in the 1962 and 1966 elections, she knew that she could stay as long as her health permitted. Moving to Raleigh, however, had major repercussions on every aspect of her life.
The most immediate impact was on her relationship with John Kesler. To be sure, other factors such as the actual and psychological stresses of her elevation to the supreme court as well as complications in John's life contributed to the decline of their affair. But Judge Sharp's new base made it far more difficult for them to arrange meetings. Before, when she was holding court in Charlotte or Greensboro, for example, or even just passing near Salisbury en route to her assignment, it was much simpler for John to slip away for a rendezvous. In 1962, when Judge Sharp went on the supreme court, he was no longer a trustee of the university and had served his last term as a state senator in 1961, which meant he had fewer excuses to come to Chapel Hill or Raleigh. His only regularly recurring business in the area was as a member of the State Judicial Council, which met in Raleigh.1 “Absence takes a toll,” she lamented to her journal in 1966.2
She felt isolated in general. No longer did she travel about the state, renewing friendships and refreshing her outlook. She had been on the supreme court a little more than three years when she wrote John a sad letter shortly before her birthday. “Each year now, as I take inventory of the past one, I find less hope in it for the future,” she wrote. “And sometimes when I'm very tired I feel very blue.”3 The narrowing of her daily horizons seemed to have