By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 11/15/13 (Fri)
When I began working at The Kenmare News last week, publisher Terry Froseth asked me if I would like to write a personalcolumn.
I immediately responded “of course I would like to do that.” He then asked me what I planned to call it. That response took a while longer, a day in fact.
But I came up with “Upside Down Under,” for a couple of reasons.
First, when journalists write personal columns and editorials, just about anything you can imagine may be included in the next edition of the newspaper.
As I considered what I was going to call this column, I thought about some of the things I’ve written about over the years and yes, they certainly do cover the entire gamut of news reporting.
Sometimes the world can be turned upside down and we often write about those events and they later become historical. So, the “Upside Down” is a given. The “Under” is an entirely different can of worms.
I have a close friend who lives in the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Hoppers Crossing. Her name is Judy Fell and we have remained in close contact since we became pen-pals in the early ‘70s when we were teenagers.
In 1993, I met Judy and her family and her husband Geoff and I became good friends. I also met her sister Val and we spent a couple of day’s at Val’s house in their hometown of Warwick, Queensland.
Seems like a warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?
Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Not even close.
When Judy and I were much younger, both her parents had passed away, thus she and Val were the only ones remaining from her family whose maiden name was Bridge.
Some time ago, Judy was going through some legal papers regarding some property in her hometown.
What she ran across can only be described as mind boggling.
In reality, Judy’s parents were actually her grandparents and they raised her in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Val is her biological mother, who in all these years, with all the chances she had, never told Judy that she was born to Val out of wedlock.
Judy was devastated and hasn’t talked to Val since. In my last conversation with her, she said she has no intention of ever talking to Val because no apology in the world is going to fix a situation like that.
Geoff told me that Judy was heartbroken over this, and rightfully so.
Regardless, Judy is still a lifelong friend and will continue to be. So the “Under” is a tribute to my Australian friend Judy and her strength that brought her through this ordeal.
Thus “Upside Down Under” becomes the column title and hopefully most of the time, I can inject some humor into it, although I’ll admit I’m not the greatest comedian in the world.