Don’t Bury The Hatchet
Recently in this column I admitted that the last thing I wanted to do was to attend Mary Ellen’s 50th college reunion. Now, I have my own reunion coming up. It’s a get-together of the folks who worked on my college newspaper, The Hatchet, in the late ’60s and early ’70s at The George Washington University. It was a heady time to be in the nation’s capital and working as a journalist. But I wasn’t really a journalist; I was a humor columnist. As I reread some of my stuff almost 55 years later, I realized my writing then wasn’t really very good. My journalism teacher said my column was sophomoric, which I took as a compliment because I was only a freshman at the time.
In preparation for this event, the organizers asked every attendee to submit a brief summary of what he or she has accomplished since graduating. Many of my old classmates wrote lengthy bios detailing some pretty weighty positions in the journalism field. I was a little intimidated by some of these, but I also thought many had rambled on and not stuck to the suggested length of 500 words. I decided to opt for brevity. The sign of a good humorist is knowing the value of being succinct. Here’s my employment history in a few words:
A few days later, I did send one addendum. I had forgotten to mention that I had recently been elected to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame. I wanted my GW friends to know this as soon as possible. I was concerned that by the time I got to the reunion, they might take back the award.
That brief bio above was just my first 15 years of employment. After that I settled down to 30 years at WISH-TV. I compare this to my friend Seth who after graduation from GW in 1968 went on to visit 46 countries enjoying all the different cultures based on his interest in anthropology. Another classmate became an executive editor of the Chicago Sun Times. The more I read these mini-resumes the more I knew that being a goofy field reporter and a humor columnist was not going to get me selected to address the group on the topic: How working on The GW Hatchet led me to experience the world and do my part to make it a better place.
By the way, I saw an old girlfriend from back in the ’60s on the invitee list who I hadn’t seen or heard from in 55 years. I sent her an email telling her I hoped she was coming to the reunion.
“I’m sure I will recognize you after all these years.” I told her.
“I bet you will,” came the response, “I’m still 6’2’’ with a full-length beard.”
I had sent the email to Seth by mistake.
Just a final note. Ten years ago, a similar reunion was held. My wife and I were excited to return to DC for a visit. I made the hotel arrangements, which I seldom do because I always mess something up. A week before the trip, Mary Ellen asked me to confirm the reservations and to be sure we were located near The White House, a site we planned to visit and close to the restaurant where the reunion dinner was to be held. I called…
“I’m just confirming our rooms and I wanted to know how far we are from The White House.”
“About 3,000 miles,” he told me.
I had booked a hotel in the state of Washington.
– Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at [email protected] aol.com.