Last week I attended the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) annual conference held in Scottsdale, AZ.
I'd like to tell you about an amazing presswoman I met.
This classy lady has dark hair and she looked really chic in a bright yellow stylish jacket with shoes to match.
Katheryn Fiene Firchler-Heires, from Southern Illinois, has three last names because she was married three times.
"I buried all three. And I nursed all three until the end," she said proudly.
She was honored at the conference because she has been a NFPW member for 45 years.
While that alone is impressive, wait until you hear how old she is ... 95 years young.
She said she joined NFPW when she was 50 because she thought she could use professional help in her career. When you hear about her career, you'll have to agree with me, she needed no help.
Katie was 22 years old in 1939 when she began working for the Steeleville Leader newspaper as a typesetter and ran off the newspaper, one page at a time on the press.
When World War II broke out, the paper asked her to write a column called "Dear Boys" where she kept the hometown soldiers up on what was happening at home.
"They loved it," she said.
She later went to work for the Sparta News-Plaindealer, writing a column called, "Katie's Kolumn: A Woman's Viewpoint" and a cooking column that resulted in a well-received cookbook titled "Katie's Cookbook." At 95 she still cooks and makes her own bread. "I always have a loaf baking when I know my daughter, Cassandra, is coming to visit. I want the first thing she smells when she comes in the door to be that of bread baking." A classmate of Cassandra's did all the line drawings in the cookbook and they were of all things found in Katie's kitchen.
Katie added "radio personality" to her resume and worked for the station in public relations and advertising.
Still working at the newspaper at the age of 92, when it was sold to another company, she quit when it failed to put her byline to her story.
I sat with Katie and her daughter, Cassandra, at one of the presentations at the conference. I noticed she was taking notes. I leaned over and asked what she was doing. She said she was planning on doing an article on the session.
"I'll submit it somewhere," she said. "A writer never retires."
I had never thought about that before. But I guess she's right. Writing isn't so much a career, as it is something we just have to do. Age has nothing at all to do with it.
Attending the NFPW conference always leaves me energized to try out all the tricks of the trade we learned. But when I meet amazing newspaper women like Katie, and believe me, everyone of these gals I talked to are amazing, I am humbled to be in the same sisterhood.