My Life in Print

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I came up with the title for my memoirs quite awhile ago, but I put off putting anything on paper, including a simple outline. Why? To be honest, I didn’t feel like writing and I was pretty sure no one would be interested, even if I gave them a copy for free.

One day, Tom Morin, who was my typography instructor at Santa Fe Community College and who is a graphic designer, showed me how he had formatted his memoirs, and I suddenly exclaimed: I’m ripping you off! What Tom did was combine graphic elements, including photographs, with short essays to create a visually attractive book that anyone would want to read. I had a lot of material already digitized and so it was an easy step to figuring out what my topics would be.

I came up with more written material than I had originally planned on because as the book developed I realized that I had published several essays in my blog (The Spectator) and could repurpose them in my memoirs. What’s mine is mine.
When I was just starting out in the newspaper business, I attended the opening of a new sports activity for young people. One of the founders took over the microphone and thanked half the known universe—except the newspaper I worked for. So I cornered him and asked rather bluntly if we had not helped get this activity off the ground.

A couple of days later our publisher showed up in the newsroom and started talking about that confrontation. But he wasn’t angry; he was pleased that I had said something, even though I had confronted a local political powerhouse.

Thus, I learned something about naming names right there and so I have kept the number of names in this memoir to a minimum. It’s not because I am not grateful; it’s because I am afraid I will leave someone unmentioned—and peeved at me forever.

Trust me. If we’ve journeyed on the same trail, you were a great help to me and I appreciate it. Take your bow.

This memoir was created for my daughters and grandchildren, and I count all others who take the time to read it as great friends—or relatives.


The Land of Fees

When my wife and I were selling our house in New Mexico, the agent for the title company needed information about our mortgage so he could pay it off and close it down. But in checking on us, he discovered that we also had a home equity line of credit with the mortgage holder and he needed to close that account.

We had never drawn on the account. We paid $35 a year just to have the safety net. Fortunately, we never needed it. So imagine our surprise when we received an updated statement of closing costs hours before closing in which we were being charged $66 by Chase to end our home equity line of credit. The $66 is called the annual fee and lien release fee.

I found that unusual, given that we had paid more than $200 over the line of the line of credit just to have the line of credit and so I complained to Chase and demanded my money back. It took a couple of months, but eventually Chase turned me down and told me that it had been written into the contract we signed for the line of credit.

Who remembers what’s in a contract? Who understands them when you sign them?

Shame on me.

My new mortgage company has been after me to secure a line of credit and get one of its credit cards. Sorry, Wells Fargo, but I don’t trust you folks now that I’ve been burned by Chase.

I’m going to stick with my credit union—and this time I’m reading the fine print.