Those who shaped me and my writing are many and varied.
My son, Andrew Garber-Browne, not only created this website. His gentle, persistent encouragement keeps me writing.
My daughter, Kelly Browne, has always pruned my ideas with her vision, beginning as a clear-eyed child, then as a brilliant-minded adult.
My late husband, Scott Browne, financed and indulged me for thirty-seven years as my career followed his from Missouri to Kansas to Oklahoma to Pennsylvania.
The journalism professors at the University of Missouri-Columbia indoctrinated me into the “old school” of the responsible, accurate, objective, Fourth Estate.
I suppose that definition has died. Google it. Hint: I’m not referring to the TV show.
I learned the requirements of a daily newspaper: fast ploughing through minutiae, consideration of the press room, and a gentle hand with brides-to-be posting their engagement photos at the Sedalia, Missouri Democrat. I’m thankful that how newspapers really work was shoved at me as a rookie women’s editor there.
At KMAM-KMOE-FM in little Butler, Missouri, the news editor/writer/reporter job I took was only part-time. I was given the opportunity to work full time and show off my extroverted side in a country music radio show each afternoon.
A job as traffic director at KAFG Radio in Oklahoma City introduced me to my astrology mentor, the smooth, clear-voiced DJ Lance Ferguson.
I got a look into the other side of the media — how creativity is bought and sold — as an advertising buyer and proposal writer for Ray Ackerman and Peggy Howard at an Oklahoma City advertising agency.
Then my aplomb and diplomacy was cultivated as a claims adjuster at a moving and storage company. Thank you Larry Howell.
Finally, editors at “The Sentinel” (Carlisle, Pennsylvania’s daily newspaper), helped me fall into my element — what I’d been trained to do many years ago in J-School.
The setup made for staying on task. Editors sat behind the reporters there — desks formed two concentric squares, reporters facing the walls, editors looking over their shoulders.
Questions were shouted across the newsroom. I was forced to learn to focus on my screen, my notes, my phone, a deadline.
Managing Editor Fred Burgess taught me to question the facts. Editor and columnist Rich Lewis imparted how to fly without all the facts. (He’d say, “If someone has a question, we’re putting out another paper tomorrow.”)
I learned how to sniff for a story from the late Kurt Wanfried; to make it fun from Francis Volpe; to get it done from Pam Saylor. The late Editor-in-Chief Carol Talley insisted that I write with my own voice -- and taught me when to keep silent.
Thank you all for an education far beyond the rudiments of my college years.
My biggest debt is to my parents, the late Allen Walters and Edith Godfrey Walters. Mother said, “Let’s write down ‘Journalism’,” when I was choosing my high school career track. Daddy always said, “You can be whatever you want to be,” kindly leaving out the details that you have to reaally want it, and you have to do what it takes to get there. They gave me life -- and showed me how to make my life what I want it to be.