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I’m Published

April 18, 2008

My first political job wasn’t really a “job” in the traditional sense, in that I never got paid a dime. But it set me on a career path, introduced me to amazing people I am still close to today, and really made me who I am. I wandered into a state senate campaign in Charlottesville, where I was getting ready to start my last year at UVA. The candidate was skeptical-she thought maybe I was a spy. But I stuffed envelopes until my fingers bled (okay, they probably didn’t really bleed, but they felt like they would), and won her over. Other than my mom, that candidate became one of the most important women in my life. I went on to other jobs, always with her help, her advice and her excellent reference. She once told a US Senate candidate (who later became Governor, and is now a US Senate candidate again) that I was “zany.” Okay, that’s not the best reference ever, but I took it as a compliment. I planned to come back to work for her. We had a plan, me and the others who had worked for her from the start. She was going to be the first female Governor of VA. We had a plan. She had a plan. And I intended to be part of carrying it out.

Now this is starting to sound like the Cancer Blog, and that’s not the point, it’s just been that kind of month. See, our plan was ruined by cancer. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and amazed everyone (especially her doctors) by living 16 months instead of 4. But 16 months wasn’t enough to fulfill the plan. And it wasn’t enough for us, her friends, her employees, and God… her family. I will hear her younger son’s eulogy in my head for the rest of life. He was pissed. And I’m so glad he said that, out loud, in front of hundreds of people. Because I felt the same way.

That was almost 7 years ago. Last week I took my daughters to the groundbreaking of a cancer center in Charlottesville, named for this amazing woman. Her husband and others worked tirelessly to see this center become a reality and the care given there will be a tribute to them. Now, a little background on this amazing lady. She happened to have a well known last name. She has a famous sister. We got used to this, never thought anything of it. There are a lot of people, however, who are simply celebrity obsessed. And it makes me mad. One of my jobs at her funeral was to try to block the press (set up across from the church) from getting a shot of the sister and her two young daughters getting out of the funeral home’s limo. It really makes me mad.

So a few days after the groundbreaking I open up a weekly paper from Charlottesville and find this (scroll down to the cancer center blurb). They didn’t even mention her name! It’s all about the famous sister! So I wrote this.

Editor,

I hadn’t read a Cville Weekly in years. That’s partly
because I live in Richmond now, partly because when I
am in town, I usually pick up, ahem, a competitive
weekly instead. Yesterday a co-worker brought Cville
Weekly back from a meeting there, and I decided to
flip through it over coffee.

Regarding your brief piece under “News from this Just
In” (April 15-21 issue) about the Couric Cancer Center
groundbreaking. Here’s some news: the event was about
Emily Couric, the hospital, the cancer center, the
people who worked tirelessly to make it a reality. The
event had nothing to do with Katie Couric or the
“rumors of her departure from CBS.” She was there
because her entire family was there.  Because they,
like so many of us, loved Emily beyond expression and
know how important the Cancer Center is and will be to
people throughout Virginia.

Katie Couric would never want the event or the
coverage to be about her, and the event wasn’t. No one
was mobbing her or asking for autographs, etc. She was
not recognized from the podium as the famous sister. I
have the utmost respect for Katie Couric as a
journalist and a fellow UVA alum, and I happen to know
that she was/is a wonderful sister. But I learned
from, respected, loved and greatly miss Emily every
day. The 300 or so people there on Saturday would
probably say they feel the same; they cared about
Emily and the important work she left behind for us to
do. Don’t make light of it or turn it into gossip
column fodder. And maybe mention her name, beyond just
the name of the building.

Maybe I’ll just have to stick with your competition.

 

And they’re going to publish it. I’m proud of it. And I think Emily would be too. It might even meet her high grammar and puncuation standards.

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