Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


Aiken was a very interesting and fun place to live for a while and it came at kind of an interesting time in my life. Vietnam was winding down. I was losing my professional training wheels and building my own life.

I had my first orgasm.

I had my first interview with the FBI.

I had my first time seeing lightening come into my bedroom.

I covered the Masters Golf tournament.

And, I retired from journalism.

Those things really had nothing to do with one another except they all happened in Aiken.

Besides horse people, Aiken had physicists. Down the street was the Savannah River Site, a nuclear reservation. It was known then - early 70's - as the bomb plant or the bum plant. The population of Aiken was about 12,000 - horse people, scientists and red necks. It was quite the mix.

I was dating a physicist who was being considered for a hot job at the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington and he had to get security clearance. It was a weird experience. I was interviewed 3 times by the FBI about him and me and his work and what I knew about it. The FBI guys were so not fun. I mean really, it got to be kind of a pain the ass.

He ended up getting the job and moving to Washington. So I guess I passed the FBI test. Then I dated a guy who made his living playing backgammon. That was WAY more interesting. Although he really wasn't.

Every evening in the Summer, we had thunderstorms. You could almost set your clock by them. One evening I was in my bedroom getting dressed to go out and I saw a bolt of lightening come in one window, cross the room, and go out another. Scared the ever loving shit out of me. Both sills had burn marks on them after but the screens appeared untouched. So freaky.

The Masters Golf Tournament was down the road about 30 minutes. It was a BFD. One year the sports editor/reporter/photographer (one very tired guy) had to have his appendix out in emergency surgery just before the tournament started and the editor sent me. I knew zip about golf. I'd never even dated a golfer. I was not even that good at PuttPutt and there I was standing on the grass being serenaded by golf clapping.

It turned out to be fun and interesting and pretty with really good food. I did get the tops of my feet really badly sunburned but still... it was a great assignment.

But, I was getting frustrated. The fun stories were fun but not sustainably so. The non-fun stores were frustrating. I could never write about all I knew because even though I knew it was true, I didn't have credible sources and/or couldn't prove it. And no one cared anyway. I enjoyed the license to be nosy and I was great at ferreting out info but I lost my enthusiasm for sharing that info. Kind of a problem for a news reporter.

Then one Sunday morning Parade Magazine had a piece about Helen Thomas who, at that time was the much revered doyenne of print journalism. She'd been working her ass off as a reporter for 30 years. Parade reported that she made $27,000.00 a year.

So... I was frustrated with a dismally destitute future. Time to make a change.

To Be Continued
Tags: tbc
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