Though my dear Granny has been gone for many years, I still recall the countless things she taught me and my brother. Everything from how to spit off a bridge, a revelation that horrified our poor mother, to how to make alterations when sewing. (“It’s easy” she’d say, “just take in a gob.”) But don’t be fooled. My Granny was bright, accomplished, and a stickler for proper manners, especially when it came to expressing gratitude. Always one to write ‘thank you’ notes, my brother and I learned early on that appreciating others was the natural thing to do. It’s a lesson that has served me well.
Which is a round about way of getting to the meat and potatoes of this column – my appreciation of you, dear readers.
I began writing my first column, “Juggling Jobs and Kids” in 1986. (Yes, that long ago.) With three kids under five, I’d put them all down in the afternoon for a nap and grab 90 minutes for writing … if I was lucky. Thanks to you, that column was picked up for syndication and for the next thirteen years, I enjoyed communicating with people from all over the nation. It was a good run.
When my nest was empty, I took a break from that topic and pondered my next move. In no time, I realized I missed the interaction of writing a Q&A column and shortly returned to the scene with “The Second Half.” When your emails and letters began arriving, I felt like I had returned to a comfortable place where I belonged.
Eventually, I expanded this column into this website, “The Second Half Online.” Sure enough, thanks to you, it has grown because many of you check in to see what is happening and, better yet, in the conversation and/or offer up what you are doing.
Admittedly, my next writing project caught me off guard. It was a career detour and, at this point in the process, I have to say a very enjoyable one. Having always written non-fiction, I have long held a fascination for fiction. The story telling and character development intrigued me. I asked myself why I had resisted writing fiction for all of those many years and you know what? I didn’t come up any good answers. And then I thought of all of you …
So often during these many years, I have heard from people who have missed out on their dreams. Conversely, I have heard from those of you who have followed your passions. Reading your stories has been, at times, sad, frustrating, and enlightening. Mostly, it has offered me a constant awareness that generally, life is what we make of it. It’s also been a subtle reminder to me to take full advantage of whatever opportunity might happen along, whether that be by design or pure luck. I’d have been a real dolt to miss these valuable lessons along the way.
Little did you know that you were inspiring me to follow my writing dreams. Thank you! Yes, I took the leap and my novel, “Duck Pond Epiphany” is a reality. Who knew, a debut novel at 61?! But why not, right?
Sure, writing this book took sweat equity and my willingness to take the risk. And I fear I may have worn out the spell check feature on my computer! But every time one of you has been gracious enough to write me a positive note or email to tell me you liked a particular column, I feel fortified … and very grateful.
I have so enjoyed being your columnist all of these years! Thank you!