I feel like over the past four years, I’ve written opinion columns ranging on just about every topic, but I’ve never had the opportunity to express my opinion of you.
In general, most people don’t have any sort of relationship with their step-aunt’s mother who is roughly 50 years their elder, and prior to coming to UT, I didn’t either. I knew that you and your husband used to work at UT, but beyond that, not much.
Four years ago, after I had my first (and perhaps my worst) column published in The Daily Texan, you sent me a note that I held on to.
You wrote: “I was reading the column while waiting for class to begin and exclaiming how good it was, so, of course, several of my exercise buddies (all retired UT staff and faculty) looked over my shoulder and we all agreed it was a very good column — very good writing about a very important subject. I look forward to reading your columns regularly from now on!”
Reflecting on that note, two things stand out to me. Firstly, your kind words took me off-guard — we didn’t really know each other — and encouraged me to open up a blank Word document and try writing another column, which prior to receiving your note, was something I didn’t really want to do. Secondly, I didn’t realize at the time that you were serious when you said you’d look forward to reading my columns regularly. In the past four years, I’ve written more than 50 opinion columns, numerous viewpoints and countless horns up/horns down in The Daily Texan, and, true to your word, you’ve read all of them and sent me an email with Your thoughts.
Your feedback hasn’t always been positive, and but it was always consistent and concluded with the same sign off: “your #1 fan, Helen.”
Now that I have a little space to reflect on my time with the Texan, I want to let you know how much I appreciated that you pushed me to improve as a writer. You gave me motivation to finish every column I’ve ever had trouble with, because I knew at least one person was looking forward to reading it.
I’ve written columns referencing my parents, friends, acquaintances, and most recently, my little sister, but I’ve never had the chance to write a column for you.
Writing for The Daily Texan has been one of the defining experiences of my life. Thank you for coming along for the ride.
Yr #1 fan,
P.S. OU sucks.