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January 31, 2011

I Was Just Thinking: Readers weigh in with tips, quips and thank-yous


Daily Star

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As promised, every six months I'd like to share some thoughts from the old e-mail bag. I encourage you to drop me a note and let me know if a certain column resonates with you.

In August, I had a column titled "Dads Are Doomed When Daughters Become Brides." I can't tell you how many e-mails I received congratulating me on my daughter's then-upcoming wedding. And yes, it all went off without a hitch (except for being the coldest Saturday in Beaufort, S.C., in three decades). The bride was stunning, the groom was handsome, and the father of the bride survived.

I received the second-largest e-mail response of the year to my column of Aug. 30, but not about the content of the column. Maybe most people do not know this, but the columnists of this paper do not supply the headlines.

In this one, where I shared an interview with the pioneering Flo Loomis, the first female lineman (lineperson?) for NYSEG, the headline made more news than the column. I referred to Flo as a woman in our area who cracked the famous glass ceiling and made a mark despite the drawbacks both perceived and real that came with being a female in a man's workplace.

"Area Had Its Fair Share of Crack Makers" read the awkward headline. More than 20 wrote me of the inappropriateness of this headline, with its modern-day drug connotation.

Andrew from Unadilla said "the DEA will be looking for Flo after that headline!" Wilma from Grand Gorge chastised the headline-maker for "sullying this good woman's reputation." Online, "KcFourdoggs" left a post saying, "Great article … hopefully this headline doesn't make it to David Letterman."

Well, the headline never made it into the late-night lexicon, and Flo and I had a nice chat about the whole kerfuffle. She remains a refreshing free spirit and a force for good.

My transportation column (Sept. 13) about OPT buses and John Insetta brought many warm e-mails. None, however, could match the gracious and heartfelt missive from John's son Jeremy. He said, "The column was an honor to read." I was humbled by the response.

My "political column" (Sept. 27) was quite popular. Former State Sen. Edwyn Mason's name rang true with many area readers. Louise from Delhi wrote, "How I miss politicians of the high standards of Mr. Mason. He was a real political icon." John from Davenport wrote, "Ed Mason had this area and his constituents always in his heart. I miss him." Sadly this longtime political presence passed away July 9, 2003. I was glad that I included this familiar name in my column.

The Beekman Boys' column (Dec. 6) was fun and well-received, but some suggested that I could have mentioned other businesses in the Sharon Springs area. (If I had more than a 750-word weekly limit, I would have!) And I heard from my friends at the Oneonta Post Office that my U.S. Mail column (Dec. 20) created a long line of positive comments from post office customers who (like me) appreciate all the good that they do, and all for just 44 cents!

By far, the column that triggered the most e-mails from the readers appeared Nov. 27. It concerned Hollywood actor Robert Taylor and his visit to Oneonta in the 1960s. The gist of my column was the visit of a big movie star to Bresee's and what it must have been like the day he appeared. (I was a mere teenager at the time and only read about the event 40 years later).

I innocently said, "I don't know why Robert Taylor was at Bresee's that day." Well, stand back and let the floodgates open!

I received 50 e-mails from readers telling me exactly why Robert Taylor was here! I heard about the Don Sherwood connection from Don's own family; I heard from 10 people who were actually at the store that exciting day; I heard from the travel agent who booked Robert Taylor's airplane flights; I heard from my old pal Joe Campbell who certainly reported it on the air at WDOS; and on and on.

The response to the Robert Taylor column was great. I knew it must have been an exciting happening when Hollywood came to Oneonta, and I was right!

So keep those e-mails coming. I truly enjoy your comments. And who knows, maybe in six months I will be talking about your e-mail right here in this space.

Let me hear from you … and I'll catch you in two.

'Big Chuck' D'Imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his "Oldies Jukebox Show." You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at wdosbigchuck@aol.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck.