writing after all these years?”
I get that a lot, along with such queries as “Don’t you get tired
of doing the column in The Baytown Sun? … Aren’t you burned out
by now … Ever get bored?”
To all of the above I have one answer, a quote stolen from an ancient
Confucius say: “Anyone who loves job never works day in life.”
Truly, I believe that. Throughout my years in The Sun newsroom,
I never dreaded going to work, knowing that there always would be
something new and different to report and write about, page layouts
to create, interviews to do, stories to plan and edit. You know
-- stuff – the stuff that fills a job description on a community-focused
Not everyone likes to do all that stuff, and to them I say, find
another job. To work on a newspaper, you gotta love it. No matter
how much training and talent you may have, if you don’t enjoy what
you’re doing, forget it.
Actually, I hadn’t planned to continue writing after I retired.
I don’t know exactly what I’d planned to do – learn French, maybe,
or take up oil painting or finally master Chopin’s Polonaise in
A-flat major on the piano.
As it turned out, none of the above.
In ’95, about
a year after I had retired and moved to Fredericksburg,
I returned temporarily to The Sun for several weeks. The man who
took my place as managing editor had resigned and the newsroom needed
an m.e. while looking for a permanent replacement. Ordinarily the
assistant managing editor, Jane Howard Lee, would have stepped up
to the plate, but she was recovering from surgery.
During that few weeks when I ran the newsroom again and resumed
writing, I realized how much I missed work. I started writing a
column again and never have stopped.
By the way,
the column mug that Carrie Pryor-Newman took in ’95 was – for the
sake of accuracy -- replaced recently with a new photo in The Sun.
About time, huh? (News flash: Today I don’t look like I did 19 years
Often I’ve thought about Fred Hartman’s comment concerning outdated
mug shots. The legendary editor and publisher of The Baytown Sun
said they were “Horace Mann pictures.” Anyone who was that old and
looked that young in a photo must have submitted a school picture.
Through the years, “Horace Mann photo” became a newsroom catch phrase,
coming to mind every time someone turned in an obviously “younger”
photo. (Horace Mann is the name of a junior school in Baytown.)
As for the number of years I’ve been writing for The Sun, one might
say the time period spans from high school senior to senior citizen.
Well, we can say more than that. I started to work for The Sun when
I was 17 in 1952 and have worked constantly since then except for
taking off a year when my daughter was born, a year to finish my
bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Houston and a
year between date of retirement and going back to work temporarily
and resuming the column.
That’s three off-years and about 59 on-years.
Long time, but you know what? I’ve never worked a day in my life.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist, March 16, 2014 column
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