It seemed right that, after half a century of hard work and sacrifce, Judge Sharp should have years of pleasure and enjoyment ahead of her. She looked forward to having time to travel, to indulge her thwarted interest in cooking, to relax for the first time in her life without the pressure of an all-consuming job. But her later years were to be filled with misfortune and tragedy on an epic scale.
She did have an opportunity to do some foreign traveling with Judge Bobbitt during the first few years after her retirement. With various groups, they visited England and Scotland, Scandinavia, Greece, and the Canadian Rockies and enjoyed themselves immensely despite some physical challenges. After their first trip, five weeks in the United Kingdom, Judge Sharp told one correspondent that her only regret was that she could not have gone sooner. Among other things, “It brought the realization that my increasing deafiness is a real handicap, and something of a hazard, to travel.”1
In Raleigh, she and Judge Bobbitt continued to go to the Justice Building every day, where the court provided them with makeshift office space. Judge Sharp described her routine in her new “chambers,” a seven-by-seventeenfoot cubbyhole that she had formerly used as an overflow file room: “It has no 'phone, no push buttons—only files, a desk, a chair, and my faithful old manual typewriter. With the permission of the present C.J. I'm a tenant-atwill in order to sort, evaluate, and dispose of the 'papers' I accumulated during the 17 years I was on the Court. I'm not making very satisfactory progress because I want to keep more 'stuff' than I have space to warehouse. I'm finding it very hard to 'throw my life away.'”2 She sorely missed having her faithful secretary, Virginia Lyon, to type her letters, in most of which she apologized for their unprofessional appearance.
She continued to be in contact with John Kesler by way of long phone calls and very occasional visits. In his eighties, he was acutely conscious that