Copyright © 2010 Henrietta W. Hay
The Final Column - Learning to Write
ONE day when I was speaking to a third grade class, one little girl asked, "How long does it take to write a column?"
"A lifetime," I told her. And truly, we carry a lifetime around in our brains.
For the last 22 years (almost), I have been visiting with you every week. Writing for the Daily Sentinel has been the passion of my late years. But now, sadly, it is time to say "good bye". This will be the last of my regular columns.
A combination of the pressures of being 96 years old, and decreasing eye sight are the chief reasons. It was the hardest decision I ever made.
But Bob Silbernagel rescued me. You can't get rid of me completely. I will continue to stay in touch with you with random columns.
How did a Feminist activist and a Librarian of 25 years end up as a columnist?
When I was 75 I retired from 25 good years with the Mesa County Library. I enjoyed those years, but decided I was getting too old!
Instead, I became what I had always wanted to be when I grew up - a writer.
One day Denny Herzog, then editor of the Daily Sentinel said, "Would you like to do a weekly column? " I said, "Let me think about it." A second later I said "Yes". I realized that there were some lifetime odds and ends still rattling around in my brain.
And so began my great adventure. My parents gave me a wonderful start when they sent me to college in the deepest part of the depression. I realize now what a major sacrifice it must have been for them.
My four years in Boulder were wonderful. And Mrs. Hulley, thanks for being the toughest English teacher in America.
John and David, (my two wonderful sons) have been supportive from the beginning. Dave created an excellent web page and has maintained it all these years with all my columns. It has been invaluable as a reference source and as a means of making the columns available to people everywhere.
John has always been helpful and approving. He gave me confidence whatever things I did. He even read one of my columns at the reception following my grand-daughter's wedding in a Scottish castle.
Terry Pickens, my friend of 40 years, has been with me on my on my adventure since the very beginning. She has talked me through any number of columns when I needed someone to bounce things off of. And was she ever good at spotting typos.
Denny took a chance on a little old lady. He was always helpful and very seldom chewed me out. I don't know whether he ever regretted his action, but I do notice that when he retired he started doing the same thing.
Bob, as my editor of recent years, has been more than helpful.
My most intimate assistant is Mercury the Wonder cat. He lies next to me at the keyboard and he gazes at me with infinite patience.
Writing a column a week is hard work. I have nearly thrown my computer out my 3rd story window several times. And Mrs. Hulley would probably have slapped my hand if I ever made a tiny grammatical error.
On the upside, I learned so much, things that I never knew existed.
And I loved getting your letters and e-mails. Democrats tended to like me. Republicans didn't always. But whether you agreed with me or not, I was so glad to hear from you. Through the years I developed loyal readers in western Colorado. But beyond that I made contact with readers in different states because many of you shared my thoughts with your own friends and family.
The whole adventure has been so very fulfilling. I thank you for your support, but I must say a sad "good-bye".
It truly takes a lifetime to write a column.