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'I Am Born'

by Timothy Hunt
| June 27, 2010 9:00 PM

Since this first column is simply a self-introduction, I thought it was OK to steal "I am born" from Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD since Dickens is no longer around to sue me. As journalists say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism." Dickens understood that concept well, having worked both sides of the copy desk.

I was born in the early days of World War II just outside Chicago, the fourth son of Fred and Alice Hunt. The Hunt family got stuck on one name and so my grandfather, father, oldest brother and son are all Freds. My father for many years was a Linotype operator, an obsolete machine then used to set type for newspapers and job printing and now the name of this column.

Dad was later president of CTU No. 16, the printers' union in Chicago, which is kind of funny - the Hagadone papers fought my dad and his union for many years. In this corner, at 145 pounds (soaking wet) in the union-made trunks, Fr-r-r-r-r-ed Hunt Jr. I don't know how much Duane Hagadone weighs but he won the match because the union was dissolved about 25 years ago. Most of the hand-to-hand combat was done by Bob Paulos, who died not long ago. Bob bought me dinner one time because I had the longest continuous readership of Hagadone papers of anyone he could find who would admit it - 1963-1971, the DeKalb Daily Chronicle; 1971-1987, the Arizona Daily Sun; 1987-1993, the Bonner County Daily Bee; and since 1993, the Coeur d'Alene Press. That's nearly 40 years. There were actually a couple of years in there where I lived in France but Bob overlooked that.

I will be writing a column for The Press partly because I am free - from work (a retired college professor, consultant to nonprofit groups, and nonprofit manager), from salary requirements, and, for the most part, from preconceived notions of right and wrong.

My wife, Kathryn, has been around here a lot longer than I; she retired from North Idaho College last year after 20 years in community education. Her grandfather, O.W. Edmonds (named Oscar but usually called Foxy) was mayor of Coeur d'Alene several times during the 20th century. Her father, Chet Rodell, owned a car dealership, and her mother, Marabel, was founder of the hospital auxiliary; they were a lot more than a car dealer and an auxiliary founder. I was lucky enough to appear on the scene in time to know them for a few years.

I have two kids. Jennifer lives in Boston with her husband, son, and two daughters; she is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard and vice chair of pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Fred is a designer and inventor for an outdoor equipment company in Eugene, Ore., called S4 Gear. He is married and has two boys. Both Jennifer and Fred call me regularly; maybe they won't after I start writing this column.

Mike Patrick, who works at The Press, and I, go way back to our years in Flagstaff, though we did not really know each other, then. When I offered to serve up a column with a theme or at least a style, he said he would rather leave those things unsettled so I get to use his newsprint however I choose. They say never to argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel but they also say fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Soon we will have an e-mail address where I can be reached. Charles Dickens never got an e-mail.

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