Sunday, June 14, 2015
When I Was Your Age...I Was on the Newspaper Staff!
Shirley Devey Girl Reporter!
I wish I was as glamorous as the girl reporter in the picture...Rosalind Russell in "His Girl Friday."
This is your reporter, Shirley Devey Hatfield coming to you from the news desk of C.A.V.E. Radio, American Fork, Utah. It's been 42 years since I prowled the hallowed halls of AF High School looking for material for my column "Shirley's World." I grew up reading humorous writers like Erma Bombeck. So I wanted to be a humor columnist for a major newspaper when I grew up...or else a Broadway actress or playwright. I was on the junior high newspaper staff and also on the yearbook staff...so it was logical to sign up for the high school paper as well. Madison, my 17 year old grand daughter, is on the yearbook staff of her high school. Journalism obviously runs in the family. So, Madison, here is another chapter in the saga called "When I Was Your Age."
My fellow newspaper staffers.
I am the one on the left standing wearing a dark coat and my trademark round glasses.
Once they let me be on the newspaper staff, I lost interest in actual news reporting. I had dreams of writing my own trademark column with my own byline. I don't know I how convinced Mrs. Gordon to let me have my own humor column...she must have seen my lackluster interview of the girls' P.E. teacher. I'm one of those people who is often terribly shy, but who covers up feelings of low self-confidence with humor. To be sent to interview a cranky teacher was to me a bit like being sent to my execution or finding myself at school in my underwear. I hovered outside the P.E. teacher's office for a half hour before she came out and demanded who I was and what I wanted. Good times.
I enjoyed writing my column...although sometimes I would use it to tease someone like my younger brother, sophomores, or the boys who sat on the floor in the hall and called me "Betty Lu" when I walked by. I once called them the "Jocks, with heads full of rocks, who sit in the hall, wearing shoes but no socks." Lack of socks was some kind of senior boy fashion statement. Looking back on some of my columns I can see that today my humor might be considered "politically incorrect" or insensitive. I've learned over the years that humor can be hurtful at times. No one likes to be the butt of one's jokes. So I am still learning.
My First Forkaster Column
I later chose the name "Shirley's World" after a Shirley MacLaine TV show.
The world of technology was in a whole different place, when I was in school. We used adding machines and slide rules in our classes. The Forkaster was typed on a typewriter and printed by mimeograph. Mistakes on the master meant that a page would have to be typed again. My typing skills were so poor, I was not allowed any where near a typewriter...unlike Rosalind Russell in "My Girl Friday." And I have no idea how they put photos into the pages. I drew a lot of silly little cartoons to illustrate some of the articles and even designed a couple of ads for local businesses
Right here, right now, I am creating a blog post. We can sit down at our computers and be publishers and reporters with the push (or click) of a button. We don't have to work for a news organization to be reporters these days...we can be bloggers. My "bucket list" included working for a real newspaper...preferably my hometown paper, The American Fork Citizen. By the time I actually worked there, the paper had a Highland edition. I tried being a reporter and covering school activities and city council meetings...but it wasn't long before shyness got the better of me and I was again lobbying for my own column. I was able to do both...reporting and the column...for a couple of years until it was time to do something else on the list. I can't say that being a blogger was on my "bucket list," but if I knew then what I know now...it sure would be. I'll end this post with one of my favorite columns. By this time I was also using my writing to tease George...I called him Waldo...lol!
Valentines Day Column...
George loved my articles...he got a kick out of being "Waldo."
That's the way it was when I was your age!