A confession about The First Wife
Many things have changed since I came to work here in 1974. Many people have come and gone. A constant through it all has been the unwavering support of My First Wife and My Current Wife. In support of full disclosure, “they” are the same woman.
Janice and I married in 1971. I was a student at USC. Had we not married, I’d still be a student at USC. After I said “I do,” I found I really meant “I don’t” have as much desire to play pool and go to movies.
All of a sudden, I had hours and hours of study time. I spent much of that time in the library at the journalism school in the basement of the Carolina Coliseum where I first heard (if not actually met) Ernie Segars. He wore an Army jacket and worked in the library while in graduate school.
Janice and I had only one car, so I had to hang around until she got off work. Hence, a lot of study time. My grades skyrocketed and almost hit a 2.5 GPA. I almost got off the bad Dean’s List and onto the good Dean’s List. Almost.
Soon, we were living in Clinton. I was selling advertising for The Chronicle and Janice was working at M.S. Bailey and Son, Bankers (known as The Bailey Bank).
I quickly became advertising manager. I actually gave myself that promotion since I was the entire sales department. Mr. Wilder was surprised and perhaps a bit miffed when he saw my new business cards with the new title.
I think that was my first time on double-secret probation.
As I moved more and more into the news side, my nighttime and weekend hours increased. Nothing like Vic MacDonald works now, but it was a lot.
Most weeks, I would leave the house Monday morning before our kids got up and I wouldn’t see them awake again until Wednesday night after the paper was printed.
As far as I can remember, Janice never once complained. Thinking back on it, I think she was happy I wasn’t home. But I missed a lot of bath times and meal preparation and cleanups.
My kids became accustomed to “I have to work” as the answer to just about every request that we do something as a family. The last full-week family vacation was in 1988. We went to Disney World.
My wife and our children and our grandchildren are the reason I have worked so hard for so long. I wanted to get paid so I could provide things for my family. Without them, there’s a chance I would have learned to play the guitar and gone on tour.
Janice is a wonderful, sweet woman who’s easy on the eyes. Stacie and Kevin (the children) were good kids and are great adults. Dale and Elizabeth (the in-law kids) are likewise great people and wonderful parents.
Wyatt, Brock, Wilkes and Marett (the grandkids) are now the gas in the Franklin engine. They make everything go.
I am very, very fortunate and I love them all.
As I was cleaning out my office, I came across the following Letter to the Editor that Stacie wrote in response to someone who had written a letter critical of a “humorous” column I wrote about Take Your Daughter to Work Day. The letter criticizing me was published. Stacie’s letter was not published (until now).
I am writing to defend my father from last week’s Letter To The Editor. I really don’t think (name of writer) has any right to jump to conclusions.
My father was talking about me going to work with him. To tell the truth, I have been to work with my father before and he does not see issues at surface level.
Plus, I have my own job. Why would I go to his job?
I think you have a right to your opinion and freedom of speech, but know what you’re accusing somebody of first.
Because I have been to work with my dad and I don’t care to go back.
(Larry Franklin is retiring as publisher of The Chronicle. His blog is on MyClintonNews.com.)