Sizing me up
Charlie Hedberg, longtime editor of the Centralia Fireside Guard newspaper, scared the living daylights out of me when I interviewed for a freelance job with him. He was tall and thin with bushy, gray eyebrows and coffee-stained teeth. We talked over his cluttered desk, with the smell of ink and the whirl of print machines in the background.
After glancing at my resume and writing samples, he barked, “You didn’t go to journalism school, so why do you think you can write for me?” I told him that I was comfortable with words and had been doing freelance writing for a few years. I could tell he was unimpressed. I also threw in that I read newspapers; a lot of them. Those must have been the magic words because he actually looked at me then. What followed was a fast paced quiz about current events that ended with me getting the job.
I won’t say that Charlie and I ever formed a mentorship bond, but I did learn from him and he gave me confidence. No, I didn’t go to school to become a writer, but I got the chance to show that I could write. Thank you Charlie.
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I’m sad to report that everything pre online-archive days is gone due to a devastating house flood in 2010. That includes hundreds of articles written for The Centralia Fireside Guard, the Columbia Senior Times, Columbia Business Times, and Columbia Family Magazine.