Skip to main content

LadyBoomer


I called family and apologized in advance for disgracing the Martinez name and honor.  I begged my best friends to stand by me as I prepared to publicly humiliate myself.
The weekly newspaper hit the neighborhood Thursday morning as I prepared to leave town for the weekend – not because of the column I had just written but because I was on my way to a teacher’s conference in Dallas.
I opened my copy and saw her – LadyBoomer – in her place in the centerfold of the small community paper, every word as I had written it. It was up to the readership to decide if I was a writer or not.
*  *  *  * 
Three months before (December 2001) I had just survived a divorce that had taken five months to finalize.  I was ready to forge a new future when I opened my weekly Herald and saw an ad looking for an op-ed/personal column writer.  All I had to do was dust off my resume, create a column voice, and submit three, 250-word samples – all in one week’s time. 
What did I have to offer?  I was a newly single, fifty-something woman with an empty nest, facing the new millennium with an even emptier pocketbook – and I loved to write.  There it was:  I was a lady, a boomer, and single. Surely, there must be others in my situation.   Maybe we could commiserate and laugh at ourselves while we did it.
I submitted everything well within the time limit and I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Every week I opened the paper and nothing. 
I came home from work one day in late February to a phone message from the paper’s editor.    My hand shook as I returned his call.  The response for the job had been overwhelming and it took a while to read and choose the top four applicants.  I had been chosen among three others.  
The editorial board had decided to let the readership choose the winner.  They would print one entry every Thursday throughout the months of March, April, and May, and the column to get the biggest response would go weekly in June.  Was I in?
My confidence was a low as the pay, but I figured I would get some experience from all this.  I was asked to beef up my three columns (up to 450-550 words), and resubmit before the last Thursday of each month.  (I worried since the assignment wasn’t alphabetical and I was last in the rotation, I might be the weakest writer.)
The first column played with the author’s last name and how people always worried over how to pronounce it. I read it and got nervous.  It was so “cute.”
The next Thursday we read about junk mail and I started to worry.  This one was so “tame.”
The third writer told about a daily fight she had with her husband over their one Lazy Boy chair.  I lost interest halfway through except this was my competition.
I. Was. In. Big trouble.
This was when I started calling my family and apologizing. I begged my friends to not abandon me. I called my editor and asked if it was too late to change my name to a pseudonym.
He laughed at me and told me to leave it to the readers.
*   *   *   *  
I got home late on Sunday from the conference to find my answering machine flashing with messages from family and friends. I started my computer to find both email inboxes full of emails, all congratulating me.
The column on “Why I Joined the Gym” (because I was looking for a man my age, healthy enough to get his own evening snacks) was a hit. LadyBoomer received 643 emails that week.
PS:  LadyBoomer ran from March 2002 until I retired her in October 2005. She was a grand old gal. 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Finding My Muse

1)Because my muse has a wicked sense of humor and visits me at odd times and in inconvenient places, I have learned to record inspirations/ideas immediately before I forget them or they dissolve into nothing. I carry small notebooks, own a digital recorder, and have been known to text messages home. I will scribble on anything – old napkins I find in my glove compartment or old receipts. I even pop out of bed in the middle of the night to jot things on sticky pads. 2)Calendars are great places to find topics. I use important dates, seasons, and upcoming holidays to plan blog posts. I can also go back into my work calendar to refresh my memory about meetings, conferences, or books I have read that might be worth sharing with others.   3)I will sit with a good cup of coffee, pen and paper ready, and read the newspaper searching for topics, interesting characters, or modern trends.  News channels and other newsfeeds are just as good.   4)I love to read the TV and movie guides for titles and…

The Girl Who Eats Canned Spinach

I went to a Catholic elementary school run by strict Belgian nuns, and we could not leave the cafeteria until we ate everything served on our food tray. Once a week, they served warmed, canned spinach with our meal. The spinach tasted nothing like the way my grandmother made it, but I ate it. I gulped it down in three or four bites and it amazed my table mates. I told them we ate it at home so I was used to the taste. Now, my real problem began the day I ate the spinach off my friends’ trays so we could go play outside. As soon as the nun monitoring the cafeteria turned her back, my friends ate something off my tray I didn’t want, and I ate their serving of spinach. I only did it for two of my table mates, but the word spread. On the next Spinach Day, kids followed me to my table.I was suddenly very popular, and as soon as the nun marched off to the other end of the cafeteria, my friends and an army of others who only knew me as The Girl Who Eats Spinach, begged me to take their servin…

Facing My Fear of Guns

With the ownership of firearms comes responsibility, so I had asked HoneyBunch several times to teach me how to shoot and to help me get my License to Carry. I got my wish two weeks ago. HB and I signed up to take a LTC class. He bought me a gun, one similar to his, that would be the type we needed to show shooting proficiency, and for one whole week he tried to get me to become familiar with it, but I was hesitant. I read the booklet that came with the gun. I practiced loading and shooting it in what is called dry shooting (no bullets), and since the flyer said I would have to shoot thirty shots at different distances, I finally tried with it loaded. I was a nervous wreck. The class of twelve turned out to be close to forty people. We were of all ages, colors, and genders, and I was glad I wasn’t the only woman my age. The shooting test came first, and we were separated into two groups. Those who were proficient (or thought they were) would shoot first, and those who were novices wou…