Saturday, January 07, 2006

Obituary headline: Late in life, a writer was born

As soon as I saw the headline - Late in life, a writer was born - on the news page (not just the obit page) of the Jan. 6, 2006, online version of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I knew it was an obit and suspected it was written by Amy Rabideau Silvers. I was right.

Amy wrote the obit for LaVerne Hammond, who started writing a seniors column for the St. Petersburg Times when she was 86. It wasn't like Hammond had been a freelance writer or a type of Lois Lane in her younger days. This was Hammond's first fling with such writing.

I love the way Amy used Hammond's changing career goals to chronicle her life. Hammond, who died at age 92, encountered obstacles to her various aspirations. She was either too young, too old or too female.

Hammond had a blast doing her column. Amy shared some of Hammond's experiences as a columnist, including the time she attended Harley-Davidson's 100th birthday bash:

"The bikers invited us to see their bikes up close and personal," she [Hammond] wrote. "One was truly an artistic expression on wheels. . . . I stood there admiring every detail.

"Suddenly, the man said to me, 'Would you like to go for a ride?' "

She loved her ride on the Harley.

"I gave my driver a hug and told my newfound friend that the rev of a motorcycle will now always remind me of a warm, beating heart," she wrote.

As a bonus, Amy included a link to some of Hammond's columns. You'll have to look up Hammond's obit to find it. (In case you don't know, you can get to the obit by clicking LaVerne Hammond's name above.)

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