Oprah Feature Part 1

"Oprah's mother and I are first cousins," said Katherine Esters.

Seventy-four-year-old Katherine Esters lives just outside Kosciusko with her husband Albert. Although actually cousins, Mrs. Esters say through the years Oprah has always called her aunt.

"I took her mother out of Mississippi and when she went to Wisconsin, her mother lived with me until she was acclimated to the society. For that, I got to be called aunt," Esters said.

Oprah was originally born in a small community called Buffalo, located just outside Koscuisko. Despite living in a small area, Esters said Oprah did not let that stop her and was instead always a high achiever.

"Oprah could read when she was three because we provided her with starter material and daddy read as much as I because daddy didn't do much work. He read and taught Oprah to read. She's been reading practically all of her life," said Esters.

Perhaps it was her love fore reading which lead her to pursue a career in broadcasting. In fact, in 1975 Newscenter 11 six and ten anchor Tom Daniels worked with Oprah for about a year at WLAC, Channel 5 in Nashville.

"My best recollection of Oprah was a s a very shy young lady. She kept to herself. She didn't really seem particularly happy at that point, but I was impressed with her on air work. She had a great voice and I thought she had a great future," Daniels said.

"One of things that most people don't know about Oprah," said Mrs. Esters, "is that Oprah she has a photographic memory. You can tell Oprah something and she doesn't forget it."

Although intriguing, Esters says Oprah is not the only captivating figure in the family.

"Morgan Freeman's grandmother and my father were first cousins. I'm proud of both Oprah and Morgan but most of all I'm proud of my mother who made such a difference in this community. She made such a difference that it is no longer the same," said Esters.

Not only did Esters mother make a difference, but over the years, Mrs. Esters has also made a tremendous impact on both the local and state level.

Thursday we'll tell you about some of Mrs. Esters' accomplishments and what her contribution has been to Meridian.

*** Recently, Mrs. Esters attended a taping of the Oprah show in Chicago. During the after show taping of the program, Oprah paid homage to Esters. That portion of the program will air Thursday night on the network, Oxygen. ***