Texas Woman, 76, Fights Off Cairo Crowd With Knife, Tea Kettle

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A 76-year-old Texas woman living in the heart of Egypt's political chaos said she wielded a knife and a boiling tea kettle this week to fight off a crowd that had entered her home.

"I had a knife, a nice sharp knife so I would make jabbing motions to them and there were times ... that I would make unladylike comments," Mary Thornberry said in a phone interview on ABC News' "Nightline" Thursday."

A friend of mine on the phone suggested that I boil a kettle of hot water and so, every so often, I would threaten with a kettle of hot water. ... I also had my walking cane and my rolling pin, OK ... so I tell everyone that's my armory."

Thornberry said the force of the crowd involved in the pro- and anti-President Hosni Mubarak demonstrations down her street seemed to burst into her building's foyer.

"A lot of these hoodlums got to my floor and stayed the night there," she said. "They tried to get to my apartment where I live. They made a lot noise, voices, and pounding on my door and incessant jabbing their fingers on the doorbell."

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Thornberry, who used to live in Forth Worth, Texas, moved to Cairo in 1996. She received her graduate degree in Egyptian history.

Struggle to Leave Egypt

Thornberry said she had not planned to leave Egypt despite the ongoing protests since Jan. 25, until the Wednesday afternoon incident.

"I didn't [want to leave] until this happened," she said. "Then my son talked some sense into me. Yes, they're trying to get me out."

Her son, Phil Derrick, is looking into any means possible to get his mother out.

"She's reluctant to give it up, but she realizes she's at a point where she's going to have to come back to the U.S. for a little while while this gets hashed out," Derrick told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Derrick told the newspaper that his mother is the only person left in her building, which is located in the center of Cairo.

With the ongoing situation in Cairo, Thornberry wasn't sure how or when she's going to leave.

"Dangerous for me to go out, dangerous for someone to come in," she said.

For now, Thornberry is taking the situation day by day.

"Well you just do what you have to do," she said. "When something happens, you just have to react."