*Except when I do.
When people find out I work at a newspaper, pretty much the first question I’m asked is “What do you write?” Sometimes, even people I know really well ask it. Sometimes they do it again and again even after they know I’m not a writer. (Hi, Dad!)
But newspapers are filled with people who don’t write, or at least people who don’t write bylined stories. Researchers. Graphic artists. Copy editors. Web developers. News assistants. And, yes, designers, too.
Ah, but sometimes I do write, about family travel, children’s authors, etc. Recently, I reviewed “Wonder Girl,” Don Van Natta Jr.‘s biography of Babe Didrikson Zaharias for the Star Tribune. Although she’s faded from pop culture, I’d always been fascinated by Babe, probably because I was a tomboy growing up, often playing baseball shirtless as a young child, much to my mother’s dismay. I read a sanitized children’s bio of Babe when I was young and was happy to devour this book and gain a more complete understanding of the woman behind the outsize accomplishments.
“Which U.S. athlete earned three Olympic medals in track and field, barnstormed the country as an all-American basketball player and won more consecutive LPGA golf tournaments than anyone since? It’s not a trick question. There is such a person, and her name — yes, it’s a woman — is Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
That Babe (born almost 100 years ago in Port Arthur, Texas) has faded so completely from our collective memory is a shame. She was a trailblazing athlete and fierce competitor who withstood withering attacks to become one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known.”