Remember “The Perils of Pauline?” Of course you don’t. Very few people from that era are still around, but some of us remember hearing about and seeing movies about that long ago serial flick.
What made me think about old Pauline was a news report from across the pond. Many of them, as a matter of fact, because so many of the foreign correspondents gracing our TV screens these days are women.
We’ve heard about and read about all kinds of tributes to women lately. Long overdue, of course. Nurses and doctors and teachers, and on and on.
Women may finally be coming into their own, at last.
I remember vividly being able to talk with Barbara Jordan and hearing her reply to my question that the hardest part of her life wasn’t being Black but being a woman.
So, let’s add women journalists to the list of heroic women. They certainly belong.
On a much, much smaller scale, I think back to some of my experiences as a newspaper journalist and, believe it or not, some things got very interesting, very weird and sometimes pretty scary.
One time I stopped my car along the edge of the highway to go visit what I thought was a wreck surrounded by police cars. It turned out to be a crime scene, not marked with yellow tape, and the man sitting in the car had been shot to death. The cops ran me off.
Once upon a time someone who wrote a threatening letter claiming he was about to bomb the AMOCO plant left it on my desk at the newspaper office.
His problem was, nobody saw it for several days because I was on vacation. I’m sure he must’ve wondered why nobody had reacted. I did find it and called the police. But I also made us a copy on the Xerox machine. The note had an oily feeling, and the police later told me it had been sprayed with bug killer.
They caught the note writer. But in the midst of all the goings on, they took my fingerprints because I had handled the letter. I’ll bet they’re still on file.
I once spent a day interviewing a woman who was desperately ill from having breast augmentation. She wanted to warn others.
I wrote the story and had it all ready to run. She committed suicide, and that story didn’t see the light of day.
I watched a little Vietnamese woman run screaming down the street to where her husband lay dead in his boat after his little onboard stove blew up. Terrible.
The scariest situation happened down at the Texas City port where a gasoline barge had been sliced on its side and was spewing fuel all out in the water.
Trucks traveling down there to help had to start their engines and then disconnect their batteries, I was told. Those of us with cameras were told to disconnect our flashes.
They sprayed the whole canal with white foam and I took pictures of that. It was very pretty.
I called in my story from a guard shack.
Then I went back to the office and started shaking, realizing we could’ve all blown up in an instant.
But, like women standing in the middle of Afghanistan and Gaza, I’m still around.