It was my senior year of college at the University of Washington. I worked as a cocktail waitress at the Tally Ho, which were restaurant lounges in three hotels in Seattle. I had worked my way up from hostess to breakfast waitress to cocktails during my years in school.
One night at work, I got a phone call from a suicide hotline. (I need give a shout out to LA from Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 for her post about her burn and reminding me of a scar I still carry.)
The person on the line said they received a call from a family member of mine who attempted to end their life. She refused to give me any more information and quickly hung up. I called back and learned the phone call was an error. They were not allowed to give out confidential information of any kind. They weren’t supposed to call me in the first place and could give me no further information.
My parents were going through a messy divorce. I remember feeling like gravity had disappeared and at any moment I would fall off the Earth.
I left work and drove home to Snohomish to our family home, which was 45 minutes away from Seattle. I remember commuting to school and staying home with Mom as much as possible. She was the person who called the suicide hotline and gave them my work number after slitting her wrist.
Weeks later, we were at Nordstrom downtown Seattle and Mom wanted make up for her scar on her wrist. I was mortified when she approached a woman at a counter and asked for help. She showed her scar on her wrist and the woman behind the counter after an initial shocked look, was gracious and found something for my mom to cover up the scar.
Unfortunately, my internal scar never went away.
I was taking a class at the UW in radio broadcast and I had to splice together a recording. I chose the Beatles song “Help” and wrote a piece about the suicide hotline. My professor was very concerned and wondered why I had chosen that specific topic.
I am amazed I made it through the quarter and graduated.
Speaking of scars, which ones do you carry with you physically or internally?
Clips I saved in a scrapbook from my journalism internship as a student at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Thanks to fellow blogger from Writing from the Heart with Brian for his post about “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. It brought back memories of my first encounter with the powerful little book that has been by my side since my internship as a “stringer” for a Washington state newspaper.
The Elements of Style was listed as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923 by Time in its 2011 list.
I haven’t thought about those days “like forever.”
Our professor, who was an intimidating former editor/publisher of a Northwest paper before he retired to “professoring,” selected 12 students to move to Olympia, Wash., our state Capitol. He assigned each student a newspaper where he believed they’d fit.
For example, a single mom who was older than the rest of us, got the Seattle Times, the biggest newspaper in the state. I was assigned to The Daily Chronicle and covered news for Centralia and Chehalis — the midpoint between Seattle and Portland, Ore.
I was surprised to be one of the chosen. In fact, I was scared to death having no interest or knowledge about government and politics. How was I going to write about it?
I looked up to — or rather worshipped my older brother at the time. He was the golden boy who was smart, good looking and could do no wrong in my eyes as well as my parents.
We got together so he could go over the basics of government with me. I was going to get a crash course in politics.
“What’s a Gop?” I asked pronouncing the word so it rhymed with cop. I was referring to the GOP or Grand Old Party.
“Is it too late to get out of this?” my brother asked. “Please, do not go!”
I was so afraid to go, that I procrastinated and showed up to the state Capitol several days late. My excuse was my part-time job at a restaurant. I was comfortable in my apartment with my roomie, watching General Hosptial and eating Kraft Mac-n-Cheese. I liked working with career waiters and waitresses. It was so less threatening than the unknown I faced.
I missed orientation, meeting the other students, but finally mustered up courage and made my appearance. My professor gave me a one-on-one tour. My best friend’s dad was a lobbyist for Weyerhauser and invited me to his office for my second crash course — this one about the timber industry. His wife was a big wig in the department of Natural Resources and they took an interest in me.
They helped me get off my feet and I busied myself with my first article, writing it longhand on a legal pad.
“I never would have selected you if I knew you wrote longhand,” the professor said stopping at my desk. “I can usually tell. Put down the pen and use the typewriter from now on.”
The 12 students, including me, shared one big room with our desks in two rows. The professor had a private office and critiqued our stories. He made us rewrite them before sending them via wire or snail mail to our newspapers. If there was a tight deadline, I’d call my editor at the paper and read the story to him as he transcribed it.
One of the students put up a picture of a cowboy and named him Bill. Then he posted all our headlines that included the word “bill.” Bill would to this. Bill would do that. Bill would do all sorts of things.
I turned in my first article to my professor. He called me into his office. It was marked with lots of red ink. He told me it was a great puff piece for Weyerhaeuser, but instructed me to get both sides of the story. He gave me names of several people to call who were in government or lobbied against the timber giant. He also showed me how to cut and paste my article so the most important facts were up on top.
Yes, back then we cut and paste with scissors and glue!
The article above about RIF by lottery above was from a bill that a Senator in my newspaper’s district proposed. My editor asked me to write about it. The bill and the article was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. I got a call from a congressman reading me the riot act over it.
“You must feel so powerful!” he yelled at me.
I guess he missed the joke — even though I have the word “joked” in the article. Sheesh!
What memories do you have of an internship or first job? What did you learn?
It was Waffles the Pug’s seventh birthday over the weekend. Since I’m in a low mood due to health issues in my family and I can’t focus, I decided photos of Waffles were in order to make me smile — and you, too. Who doesn’t like cute puppy pictures?
Seven years ago we got Waffles as a Christmas present for our daughter. Waffles became an unofficial mascot for her Utah swim team and they allowed him to come to swim practice. The sports marketing team posed him for social media posts. He’s been a joy to everyone, especially my daughter.
Waffles is a love bug, but does have one annoying habit. He puts whatever he can into his mouth. He’s uncontrollable like a two-year-old. Consequently, he’s given us plenty of scares. Once he found an adderall on the floor at a friend of my daughter’s. That was a night in the ER. Then he ate poisonous berries in our backyard. Trip to ER. The worst though was when he swallowed a piece of wood that got lodged in his small intestine. Surgery. Good thing my daughter has dog insurance!
Through all the fun and the drama, I can’t figure out where seven years disappeared.
Waffles in the sweater I bought him for cold Utah winters.
Waffles in one of his Ute posts.
Waffles in Carpinteria celebrating his first birthday at the beach.
Waffles in his puppy glory.
Waffles with his momma when we met him.
Waffles hanging out with our daughter in our backyard.
What do you think is more adorable — puppies or kittens and why?
I read that naming pets after food is a trend in 2023. I guess my daughter was ahead of her time?
I’m a Husky, as in a University of Washington alum. The U Dub as it’s known, is on Lake Washington in Seattle. It boasts a great medical school and breathtaking views of mountains and water.
My parents went to the U-Dub as did my brother. I’m not sure if my grandparents on my mom’s side went there, but they could have. I know my grandparents on Dad’s side did not, as they were immigrants from Finland.
My daughter went to Utah, which was a fairly new school to the PAC 12. Because of the influx of cash by joining the PAC 12 (due to TV deals for football), my daughter was treated to a bevy of goodies as a scholar athlete. She called me the first day of school and said they gave her an iPad. They also gave her a laptop. They had an athletic dining hall that served all-you-can-eat crab legs, oysters and prime rib after wins by the football team. She had access to free trainers, massages and tutors. Oh yes, her workout gear was magically laundered and replaced in her locker. It was quite a deal for sure. That’s on top of tuition and books.
I soon became a fan of Utah, giving up my Husky loyalty. I loved going to the swimming PAC 12 Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Because of teams like Stanford, CAL and USC, there were many Olympic swimmers including Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin and Simone Manuel. It was like attending our own private Olympics. You can read about my first PAC 12 meet HERE.
I was proud my daughter was a swimmer in the PAC 12. I loved the 100-plus year history of the conference and the many rival football games, like U Dub versus “Wazoo,” UCLA v. USC, O vs. OSU.
Now that’s all gone. First USC and UCLA left. Next it was Colorado. The last few days Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah announced alignments with new conferences.
I find it really depressing and upset that money is at the root of this change. I’m all confused about the Big 10 and Big 12. I don’t get it at all. I guess my PAC 12 gear will be collector’s items.
What are your thoughts about the death of the PAC 12?
What sports are you a fan of? Do you like pro or college sports?
I was watching a terrible football game yesterday (we are 49er fans) when this message popped up on my phone.
If you’d have asked me, I’d have said I’ve been blogging for five or six years. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.
As for the Eagles winning the game instead of the 49ers, I’m excited because of a player from my daughter’s university, Britain Covey, who is on the Eagles. I’m a big Britain Covey Fan.
Britain’s grandfather is Stephen Covey who wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and owned Franklin Day Planners. Britain played football at the University of Utah while my daughter swam. Although 5’8″ tall, was quick, smart and returned punts for touchdowns, up to 98 yards I believe. He was a team leader of the Utes.
I never thought he’d make it into the pros, let alone to the Super Bowl as an undrafted rookie!
If you follow football, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
How many years have you been blogging? Does it seem longer or shorter than the actual time?
My pretty kitty Olive sitting on the back of a sofa. No, this photo has nothing to do with my post.
I saw an article that said that many college graduates regret their major. The number one regret was journalism.
I was Communications Major in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington in Seattle.
I enjoyed the experience. During my last year of school I was assigned to be a reporter at a local paper. I reported to the editor and worked there five days a week. I turned in my articles to my professor to be graded.
Then, I went to the state Capitol and was assigned to a local paper as a stringer. I’d write three and four articles a day about the goings on at the state Capitol. We were a group of 12 journalism students living and working together.
When I got into the workforce I had a nice portfolio of news clips. I ended up in Public Relations and wrote stories and newsletters I was assigned. I soon found out it was a LOW paying job. Especially my first one. I was making less than $1,000 a month in the mid 1980s.
The article from CNN listed these majors as the ones graduates most regret:
My BFF from the University of Washington and me during one of her visits to our home.
Without my friends I would have been lost.
I’m talking about my recent visit with my mom. In case you missed it, I wrote about it HERE. It was difficult to find my mom in skilled nursing and to see how drastically she’s aged since my last visit.
I stayed with my best friend from college who lives six miles from my mom’s assisted living. Lots of times I stay in a small hotel close by. It’s not that nice, but affordable. It was so much better to come back each day to my friends’ comfy house and not be alone.
My BFF’s husband loves to cook and he shopped and prepared my favorite foods. The first night he made steamed clams, garlic bread and a delicious salad. Last time I visited, we went to Pike Place Market and I bought clams, which he cooked. They remembered how much I enjoyed them which was touching. I suppose they didn’t forget after I kept asking if they wanted the clams on their plates! They surrendered them to me.
It was so comforting to not stay by myself and to be able to relax and talk with close friends each day and tell them about my mom. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
The power of music.
One day my mom was kind of out of it. When I walked into her room, she was asleep. She woke up and said “Who are you and what do you want?” I was standing over her bed. To be fair, she didn’t have her glasses on and was groggy.
I got her out of bed and helped her sit in a chair while I sat on her walker. I turned on the TV, but she wasn’t interested and stared down at her hands.
I remembered my brother told me that she perked up listening to music. Mom was a coloratura soprano opera singer. My brother played her Joan Sutherland, a famous coloratura soprano, on his phone and he said Mom sang along with her. I played her favorite songs from Don McClean including Vincent, American Pie, And I Love You So, and Castles in the Air on my phone. She owned every one of McClean’s albums and played them over and over when I was a child.
After a few minutes of listening, my mom began to sing along. The music moved her and made her more alert. She focused on getting out of her chair to walk to her old room. I was amazed at the power of music and the effect it had on her.
“And I Love You So”
And I love you so The people ask me how How I’ve lived till now I tell them “I don’t know”
I guess they understand How lonely life has been But life began again The day you took my hand
And yes I know how lonely life can be The shadows follow me And the night won’t set me free But I don’t let the evening get me down Now that you’re around me
And you love me too Your thoughts are just for me You set my spirit free I’m happy that you do
The book of life is brief And once a page is read All but love is dead This is my belief
And yes I know how loveless life can be The shadows follow me And the night won’t set me free But I don’t let the evening bring me down Now that you’re around me
And I love you so The people ask me how How I’ve lived till now I tell them “I don’t know”
What are your thoughts about the power of friendships and the power of music? Do you have any examples of how they’ve added to your life?