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CALDER PICKETT 1921 - 2013
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January 29, 2014
I wonder who got to write Calder Pickett's obit for the Kansas City Star. I hope it was one of his former students. It sounds right, the printed word meant to be read aloud. Calder taught me to write obits (people die, they don't pass on, pass away, we don't lose them because if they were only lost we would go and find them). He taught me to spell people's names correctly. He taught me to type fast, drink coffee hot and black, to listen with five senses and let it flow out of my fingers and onto the printed page on an Underwood manual typewriter. He taught me to love history, believe in the Fifth Estate and the role that journalists should play in creating good government. He had two daughters, and so when that handpicked group of "women's libbers" got shoved to the front of his classes he made sure we were armed to the teeth to fighter gender warfare in the newsroom trenches. He was extra tough on us, he told me later, so we wouldn't buckle under pressure, but when we finally started to get it right, there was no Praise like Pickett Praise. I am sad that I missed his funeral back in November, but glad that someone at The Star got the obit right. Thank you, Calder Pickett, for all the life lessons you taught me....Rest In Peace.
November 12, 2013
Dr. Pickett was one of the great professors I ever had the privilege to learn from.
October 31, 2013
Among so many things ... his sideways glance, Bic pen clutched close to his chest, eyes darting as if in conspiracy. "Nixon," he whispered to me once as we sat down at a William Allen White Day luncheon. I had begun to ask him something about George W and he interrupted. "Bush makes me long for Nixon."
Later Calder caught up with me, grabbed me by the arm. "I was wrong," he said, again looking around like one of those characters in an old spy movie. "Not Nixon," he said with a dangerous grin. "Harding. Bush makes me long for Harding."
About Calder, things like that are what I will miss terribly. He was a giant. Without him the world is a lesser place.
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