Editor’s note: Ann DeFrange has been an editor, reporter and columnist at The Oklahoman since 1969. She will be retiring this month. This is her final column. "The Things They Carried.” That’s a title of a book about Vietnam-era soldiers a few years ago; one I’m borrowing for my final column. In two weeks, I’ll leave The Oklahoman to become a Journalist (Ret.) (Column, Oct. 7). Now, I’m cleaning out my desk. Although I’ve changed desks a number of times during the past 39 years, when you’ve lived somewhere that long, the stuff piles up. There are two fishing rods in the corner; they don’t have reels or tackle, but they had a story. There’s Elvis memorabilia. I always figured I’d spot him one day in a crowd at the state fair. I must have just missed him. There are pencils from the Police Athletic League and fancy pens from the Kiwanis Club. There are photos of me and the late Lucille Hamons, of Lucille’s on Route 66; we look alike. There are plaques and certificates and awards from many organizations; I appreciate them all. There are files and envelopes full of pieces of manuscripts and autobiographies that folks sent for me to read. Some of them were well written; some were well intentioned. All of them were interesting and all of them had a story to tell. There are drawers full of old newspapers. As I cleaned and threw away, I stopped to read what I wrote years ago. I’m pleased with what I did and proud of what it accomplished in the readers’ world. Every item was connected to a story, and every story was based on a person, or more. I’m taking all those people with me, in memory. They were the best thing about being a journalist.
‘Well behaved women rarely make history!’ That provided a great excuse for behavior I would have done anyway.”
First part of quote taken from a plaque on Ann Defrange’s desk