It's been a crazy and fun 40-something years in this wacky, throw-your-stuff-in-the-trunk-of-your-car and move- to-the-next-city world we call local television. My play list includes Baton Rouge, Chicago, Cleveland, San Diego and Charleston.
The U.S. Army trained me as a meteorologist and then found me a place in Germany for two years. There, I quickly learned how to count with my thumb. There, it's the first digit, especially when ordering adult beverages and bratwurst with pom fritz (french fries).
Home from "over there" put me back in Louisiana State University Journalism School by way of the G.I. Bill. I survived on $93 a month for many semesters. Part-time bartending and drumming in local bands helped me graduate just in time to grab a TV gig during the national bicentennial celebration. First TV for me was a weather gig with magnetic numbers and no computer-generated graphics like today. This was in Baton Rouge - think flying roaches, 90 percent humidity and plenty of hurricanes.
Chicago came calling after the station saw the bit of me water skiing with Twiggy, The Water Skiing Squirrel. There, I met my Mountaineer partner and mother to our now 20-something son, who earned a master's degree in forestry at West Virginia University. WMAQ in Chicago is where I also met Willard Scott, Jack Perkins and Deborah Norville -- several of my many mentors.
Cleveland then called after Al Roker split for the "Today Show" and WKYC wanted a different slant on things. The Mountaineer said, "Let's Go!" When they sold the Cleveland station, it was San Diego and KUSI that called this time. The homes were twice as expensive and the salary was cut in half. Reluctantly, the Mountaineer said, "Let's . . . ah . . . Go?" For 20 years, the water bills were more than $400 a month, but it never got below 40 degrees. So when my age was twice what they were hiring and my curves were at my waist and not where they were wanting them and since I spoke only English, I was pushed off the bench and didn't even get to dress out anymore. The Mountaineer suggested we move back home to West Virginia and this time I said, "Let's Go!"
The cool thing is I've landed here at WCHS TV-8 and Fox 11 and they said to me, "Let's Go . . . Road Trippin' " So that's where we are today. If you haven't already had a chance to hear it, enjoy our theme song and check out the "Road Trippin' " Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org