Linda Starr at Blue Starr Gallery gave me a challenge to come up with seven things about myself. She did this in her own blog where she did a great job of relating interesting facts from her past.
I'm hard pressed to think of seven things so I'll just do one for now.
After I got divorced in 1982, I moved to St Paul and enrolled in Concordia College. My major was English and minor was Communications. In my senior year (at the age of 45), I signed on to do an internship in the newsroom at a local TV station. I worked there for three months and spent a lot of time as a "gofer". I covered a few news stories that happened on weekend evenings when nobody else was around.
One occasion was when a huge earthquake hit Mexico City (1986) and they wanted to get reactions from the first planeload of people to arrive back at the airport. I went out with a camera man and waited around until the plane arrived. I held the microphone off-camera and asked questions of the passengers. It was a pretty straight forward story.
On another occasion, late on Saturday night, there was an incident involving police and gunfire in a troubled neighborhood. At the same time, an electrical outage happened in the same area and it was thought they might be connected. When we got there, the camera man walked around taking video of the police cars and spectators behind the condoned off area. It was hard to make any sense out of the chaotic scene. I spotted an officer sitting in the back seat of a squad car interviewing a woman. In desperation, I went over and rapped on the window. They stared at me as I shouted through the closed window asking what had happened. They turned away and ignored me. We returned to the newsroom with nothing.
I felt like I had failed, especially when an rival TV station broadcast a news story about the supposed gang-related incident. More than that, however, was my embarrassment at having been rude and aggressive in approaching the police car. That was totally unlike me. It brought home to me that I was unsuited for being in that line of work. (It later turned out that the other station had blown the story out of proportion and elevated a relatively minor incident into a "gang war". I found that personally satisfying.)
Another discouraging factor was that, in hiking the long concourses of the airport, I realized that I was physically unable to handle the legwork. I was unaware that I had a hip deformity that was aggravated by the exercise. (I had to tough it out for another ten years before I had the hip replaced.)
So, I had to give up my dream of being a reporter. I had waited too long, but at least I got to give it a try. That's a lot more than I had ever hoped for.
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