Perhaps it wasn’t cricket, Old Bean. So sue me.
The first question I asked the new lord-lieutenant of Bristol, and one I’m sure a lot of you want to know the answer to, was “Does Queen Elizabeth II call you ‘Peaches’?”
“Yes,” Lois Patricia “Peaches” Hauser Golding told me when I contacted her after she was appointed lord-lieutenant of the city and county of Bristol in southwest England.
Golding, 64, began her duties in that role last week, becoming the first black female ever appointed to a post created by Henry VIII – yes, that Henry VIII – hundreds of years ago.
She already was thought to be the first black high sheriff in the nation. She was known as “Sheriff Peaches,” according to some British media.
Being first is nothing new for Peaches Hauser Golding and her family.
She was born in Spartanburg, S.C., and raised in Winston-Salem. Eight years before Rosa Parks essentially sparked the modern civil rights movement by refusing to move to the back of the bus in 1955, Golding’s dad had sued the Greyhound Bus Co. for trying to make him give up his seat. He won.
Charlie Brady Hauser, a decorated U.S. Army veteran, used the $2,000 settlement to buy a car so his family and he wouldn’t be subjected to that sort of humiliation when they traveled. He taught at Winston-Salem State University and later served two terms in the N.C. General Assembly.
If you are rummaging through your mind trying to figure out from where you know the name Peaches Hauser or the distinguished-looking woman in these pictures, try imagining her in a Carolina Blue cheerleader outfit leaping into the air on the sidelines of Kenan Stadium on fall Saturday afternoons and exhorting the Tar Heels to “Hit him again! Hit him again! Harder, Harder!”
That’s right: The woman who is now the representative of Her Majesty The Queen in the city of Bristol was one of the earliest African-American cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Golding, despite having lived outside the country for nearly four decades, said in an email interview, “I am in touch with all of my former roommates, several former friends on Carolina cheerleading squads from 1973 to 1976, and many of my classmates from R.J. Reynolds High School.”
The former biology major said she also maintains contact with “several deans and the chancellor from more recent years. I’m a keeper of friends and retain many of my nursery school classmates as friends.”
I asked one of those former college friends, Dennis Quick, if he remembered her.
“I sure do,” he said.
Quick, who played basketball at UNC and is now executive director for auxiliary services for Richmond County Public Schools, remembered her as “always vivacious, always positive. She was one of those people who never met strangers.”
Not only that, but at dances on campus, he said, “she did a mean Robot.”
David C. Belton, one of the first black male cheerleaders at UNC and still a friend of Peaches, insisted when I spoke with him an hour later that it was he who “became known in 1973 for introducing North Carolina to the Robot dance with the UNC band playing ‘Shaft.’ ”
Peaches, Belton said, “was known for her incorporation and execution of ballet moves into cheerleading dance routines.”
“She transform(ed) our style into an art form,” Belton recalled, remembering that Golding was honored with a standing ovation for her solo dance performance at halftime of the final home game of the 1976 basketball season.
How, I asked Golding, does someone become a lord-lieutenant?
“The clerk of the Privy Council conducts a consultation in the county where leading political, religious, business, social and other respected individuals comment on the challenges facing the county and who might best be suited to address them,” she said. “The clerk compiles a list, presents the names to the prime minister, who makes a recommendation to the queen.”
Peaches – I asked if it were cool for me to use the nickname bestowed by her Uncle Odell and her Aunt Olena who both concluded that she looked like a little peach – moved to Bristol in 1983 after meeting and marrying Bob Golding. She was already known for her work on several civic and private organizations. The couple have an adult son, Charles.
Golding, a zoologist and native of England, had been running the University of Ibadan’s zoo in Nigeria when he first met Peaches, who was working in that nation as a teacher.
In addition to her duties as lord-lieutenant, Golding now works as a marketing specialist.
I mentioned the pictures I’ve seen of her with Queen Elizabeth II and with Prince Charles, and they all look positively chummy.
“I have had the pleasure of meeting the queen on four occasions,” Golding said. “She carried out the investiture for my OBE (Order of the British Empire) ceremony. As a board director of an independent television company, I attended a fabulous reception for the British media in the presence of the queen at Buckingham Palace, and on two occasions in Bristol, I attended a lunch in the presence of the queen and the duke of Edinburgh.”
Golding said she was last in North Carolina in July 2015 to celebrate her family’s 100th family reunion.
“My great-great grandmother, Bethania Hauser Williams Russell, was bought as a child and enslaved by my great-great grandfather, who owned a large plantation in present-day Yadkin County,” she said.
“Our black and white family continues to come together to celebrate our being Hausers. … I can trace my Hauser forebears, in an unbroken line, from father to son, from 1527 to the small town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland.”
I didn’t tell her that I myself have already met one queen – Queen Latifah at Hip Hop Jam ’92 in Chicago – and almost met another, Royal Queen Iffat al bint Ahmed when she was being treated at Duke Hospital. A phalanx of heavily armed guards escorted me brusquely from the joint before I got to say “Hey” to her, though.
That’s why, in case I ever get a chance to meet another one, I asked Peaches how does one greet the queen.
“When you first meet the queen,” she instructed, “following a deep curtsey, you say ‘Your Majesty,’ and subsequently you refer to her as ‘Ma’am.’ ”
Thanks, I may need that.
There has been for Peaches Golding “nothing that is a great cultural adjustment” she said when I asked about the differences between there and here.
“However,” she said, “as a guest in someone else’s country, it is important to understand the manners and etiquette that apply. When in doubt, be gracious and respectful and ask for help” when you need it.
Dang, good manners travel well, because that applies over here, too.
What doesn’t travel well, apparently, are grits. “They are not available here,” she said.
How about sweet tea? I asked. Please tell me y’all have sweet tea, because if not, you can cancel my flight right now.
“The British are renowned for the range of teas they drink,” she assured me. “In fact, the American habit of drinking tea came over with the colonists.”
She mentioned that incident where some of them dumped tea into Boston Harbor at the start of the American Revolution. I figured that might still be a sore spot over there, so I hadn’t planned to bring it up.
Other than friends and family, I asked, what does she miss most about North Carolina?
“Sunshine,” she said.