(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Everyone has a story. Stories have power. They help us understand each other.
I recently did a Jessop’s Journal interview with Jason CoZmo, a female impersonator that does a great Dolly Parton. In part of our interview he told me about a special woman that had celebrated her 100th and 101st birthdays by coming to his show.
I was able to track down this incredible woman, Romain Wahlin Zito, and have a nice visit.
On a personal note, when I was twelve years old, I got a cassette recorder for Christmas. I would interview anyone and everyone that would let me. My Gramps was very patient and would let me interview him. The first Jessop’s Journal video I did was about remembering him.
Interviewing Romaine was kind of like interviewing my grandmother.
She has a sparkle in her eye and a laugh in her soul.
I was taught that you don’t ask a woman her age, so instead I asked her when she was born. She exclaimed; “July 17, 1917. seven, seventeen, seventeen.” She went on to explain; “there are seventeen letters in my name. so seven isn’t a lucky number for me. DOUG seventeen is. Time to go to Wendover and put it on the roulette wheel. ROMAINE – that’s right.”
Romaine had fond memories of her parents. She told about getting in trouble and having the age old “wait until your father hears about this” moments. You’ll need to watch the interview to get the complete story, but her father, Walter Wahlin, seemed to have a special spot in his heart for his daughter.
Do you remember the first car that you drove? Changes are it wasn’t a 1917 Ford Coupe But that’s the sweet ride that Romaine had…and she started driving at the age of twelve. After going in the ditch her father had her practice shifting in the garage. At the age of 103 she demonstrated that she still has the shift pattern down!
Sports activities have been a big part of Romaine’s life. Everything from neighborhood baseball when she was a girl to winning a bowling tournament when she was a young woman. She showed me a newspaper clipping of getting some kind of cooking appliance as a prize. Romaine told me that she and her husband felt like millionaires when she won.
You’ll have to watch the glint in Romaine’s eyes when I ask her about getting a hole-in-one. She put up two fingers and proudly said “Two. Two hole-in-ones.”
She told me; “I hit the ball and it went in, right in. We were golfing with my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law and we got down there and I said, ‘where is my ball?’ They started looking all around it. It’s lost, we don’t know where it is. I walked over and looked in the hole and I said, I got a hole-in-one. He said, we knew that, but we didn’t want you to tell you. So that was the first hole-in-one. DOUG – do you know about how old you would have been? ROMAINE – I must have been 65 or something. The second hole-in-one. We were teeing off of number nine on St. George. I hit the ball and it went up on a curve and down in the hole. I’m luckier than good. I don’t have to be good, I’m lucky.
I asked Romaine what advice she had for me? She replied sweetly; “Enjoy life and like I do laugh a lot, which you do. And enjoy the friends the friends that you have. And keep a journal which I didn’t, and I wish that I had.” Romaine gave me that great smile and laugh when I told her that since the series is called Jessop’s Journal that we were going to give her a journal so you can start writing and have fun.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life.
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets , who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. I invite you to watch each episode of Jessop’s Journal at www.ABC4.com/Journal and share these stories with your friends and neighbors. Your feedback is always welcome.
Other episodes of Jessop’s Journal can be seen at www.ABC4.com/Journal and are made possible by the generous support of Rustico, Tailor Cooperative, JW Custom Hats, Ogden’s Own Distillery and LiquiDirt Organics .
You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success