Wendy Harmer said: “The best thing about being a columnist is that when you look back at your humble collection of ramblings, they’re windows on a time and place of yesterday” … and a window into a slice of social history.
But now it is time to hand the baton over to another columnist. I have had a wonderful innings, but all good things must end, and that day has come for me, on my terms, my decision.
Into its fifth year, I have been given free rein to write anything and everything I chose.
Hasn’t that been a privilege in itself?
I have roamed widely; covering politics, books, local councils, local entertainment, the arts, sport, grandchildren ... even the decision to move out of our beloved home of 43 years was shared through the Addy.
It has been a labour of love. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
I carry concerns for the future of newspapers, of journalists and columnists.
In the words of a wise person “Sometimes we don’t know what we are missing until we lose it”. Journalism plays a critical role today in “keeping the bastards honest” and keeping politicians, union bosses and business snouts out of the trough.
Columnists play a different role. We hope to use our research and experience to write an opinion piece and not just the facts as we know them.
In either case, the jobs of journalists and columnists in Australia today are disappearing faster than the endangered polar bear – 2500 jobs in six years.
That means that a lot of mischief and devious dealings now go unreported.
People frequently asked me how I managed to find something to write about each week.
It was after I retired and after a diagnosis of breast cancer that my first serious efforts at writing began, when I wrote of that life-changing experience.
Articles followed in The Age, the local Addy, BCNA magazine and other publications until the then editor of the Addy, Rod Case, rang and invited me to write a weekly column each Thursday … and here I am, into my fifth year, about to sign off permanently.
I have never run out of topics to share with my readers.
The world is an intriguing place, people are fascinating, events never stop happening, grandchildren never stop being delightful and every week there are several topics I could tackle.
I shall miss that discipline of writing for a purpose each week. Crochet and croquet don’t quite do it for me.
In the meantime everyone, thank you for reading me, if you do, thank you for your discussions and comments both positive and negative, which I have appreciated so much over the last five years.
Thank you to those who are or were at the helm of the Addy.
I particularly thank my loyal readers, my family, friends, Domain Country Club residents and Forever Young choir who supported me every week, reading and commenting on my column.
They are my fiercest critics and loyalist supporters, as is Rob, that long suffering husband of nearly 54 years who checks and crits every column I write before I send it forth.
I have learnt that the older we grow the less another birthday matters.
We’re so lucky to live in this beautiful Australia and the best time to be alive is right now.