Twenty-five years

The once impossible dream has been, with this issue, surpassed. The 25th year has been accomplished.

The article that you are now reading is the conception of my 26th year of writing for the Wellington Advertiser. To say that it was not a challenge would be a statement that is far from the truth. To say that it was not enjoyable would also be an abuse of the truth. To say that I had no help from anyone would be a statement bordering multiple slander, for I had help, lots of help, from many with patience and empathy far greater than I myself possess.

It is with this issue that I wish to thank many, and more than many family, friends and acquaintances for having made this roller-coaster goal come true. I am not a reporter. I am not a fiction writer. I have had no formal literary coaching, other than the fact that my father stirred my interest in the power of the pen while juggling the 26 letters of the alphabet, which he taught me  backwards at the age of three.

I am a freelance writer who feels comfortable in scribing only that which I have personally experienced. Within that boundary I fail to wander beyond the inside fringe of the truth. If I am guilty of anything, it is of calling a spade a spade, and you can expect no apologies from me for that.

As you all well know, the first on my list to which I owe the deepest of gratitude is my Little Lady, my wife, the love of my life for 52 years. Though now, having passed on to the paradise among angels in which she strongly believed, I still feel her presence, standing, encouragingly, as in the past, firmly by my side. Yet I must admit, what I do miss greatly is the gentle touch of her hand on my shoulder as she would unfailingly place a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee on the desk beside me in the hours of predawn each morning.

Secondly, my thanks and appreciation to William H. Adsett, founder and publisher of the Wellington Advertiser since March 1968, who, in the first week of August 1984, hurriedly glanced lightly at my presentations and said to me, “Go see Alice.”

And to Alice, to whom I am equally indebted, for having accepted my first, and many after, articles that were riddled with phonetic spelling and punctuation dysfunction. Would you believe it – all this well prior to computers and spell check.

And, too, to David L. Adsett goes a note of appreciation, who, in 1994, quietly slipped into his father’s footsteps as general manager, and in recognition of mono loyalty has placed my article in a prominent position for easy reading each week ever since.

Not last, and certainly not least, I want to send a special verbal big bear hug of appreciation to the one and only, who refers to herself as Old Gladys Purkis, who lived all her active life outside of the Advertiser’s circulation circle, in Cambridge, and who is guilty of now being 94 years young, and who is also guilty of sending me my first fan mail letter, way, way back during my first year of writing.

Though we have not often been blessed with paths that cross, she has kept in touch, giving unending encouragement on a regular basis. She has purchased each and every one of my four books and has gently chastised me for not hurrying up and getting on with the next.

Because she and my Little Lady possessed kindred hearts, the possibility of our running away and getting married on some long weekend is certainly there, but then again, that would entail us buying a large house with a big play yard within walking distance of a school, and I’m not sure either of us are quite ready for that at this particular time in our life.

And, too, there is no end to the list of those who have, over the years, given me support and encouragement through e-mail, letters, phone calls and personal contact. The list would go on and on. To all I owe a big bundle of thanks. You all know who you are so consider yourselves hugged and hugged again. I could not have done it without you.

My own personal life goal is to reach 104 – so who is to say, do the math – is another 25 years not possible?

Take care, ‘cause we care.              




Barrie Hopkins