The Calling – Oakdale Leader

Sometimes I think I’ve missed my calling.

That’s probably a familiar thought to many people who – years later – find themselves doing a job they never envisioned.

It is also possible that you have more than one calling.

This thought came up again recently when friend and colleague Michelle and I were talking mainly about roller derby. Of course you can find anything you’re looking for on the internet and she was able to organize a game with the Bay City Bombers in Golden Gate Park. Put me on skates and let me zoom around an oval rink, knocking people out of the way? Seems like a good way to make money to me.

In my younger years of course. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my siblings and I’s favorite places growing up was the roller skating rink just a few miles away. We spent almost every Saturday afternoon there and they had occasional night skates and always a big New Year’s Eve skate night that we enjoyed for years.

That was much more civilized, you skated with a bunch of friends and classmates from your school. The most dangerous part of the afternoon was the last half hour, when you could exchange your skates and use a skateboard, being careful not to bump into anyone.

That brings me back to roller derby. I really enjoyed skating as fast as I could when we went to the rink and I know that if I had been given the opportunity, I would have loved adapting to roller derby. It was quite nostalgic watching it with Michelle; the roller derby ladies positioned themselves so that they could ‘check’ each other in the railing, a sort of hockey style; they formed a ‘wall’ by linking their arms so that their opponents could not get through and at one point a person who we assumed had been the doctor on the scene came rushing in to rescue a crashed skater and was almost eliminated himself. I remember seeing it live as a kid and thinking I could be good at that. But New York State wasn’t exactly the roller derby capital of the country, so that didn’t happen.

And I’m not complaining; who knows if I would have made the derby cut.

Instead, I enjoyed playing both hockey and football in high school, and those sports also involve quite a bit of “control” as long as you keep the refs out of sight of you.

Like many, I had several things I wanted to “be” growing up – including a teacher, an actress (who wouldn’t want to do that?!) or a professional puppeteer like my best friends in high school. I did puppet shows together for years. She is the one who became a teacher, continued with puppetry and is also a professional storyteller.

But honestly, I was probably meant to be here.

I was always writing; always. I made my first collection of short stories on an old manual typewriter when I was in grade school; my brother did the artwork. And when I developed an interest in photography, it was a natural progression to combine those writing and photography skills and make a career out of it. When I think back, Hollywood and the Muppets aside, my goal was to be able to make money writing in any form.

Turns out it started in radio, writing news stories and commercials, and then moved into broadcasting. Later I turned to the newspapers and that eventually took me 3,000 miles, moving coast to coast. And occasionally I still get to use some of my puppet voices, much to my granddaughter’s delight.

Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 209-847-3021.