retired

I am 67 years old and retired from writing the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press. (My legacy website is www.pluggerpublishing.com. It has links to my columns, the columns of others, my Appalachian writings and a civil rights project in which I interviewed three dozen men and women who went South during the ‘60s to combat institutional segregation and to register black voters).

Last year I learned I have Asperger’s. It was a great relief to finally put a name on this “thing” that has sat on top of my head for so long.

Dad died last August, 10 weeks before I had my cancerous prostate removed. As a result, I have become much more attuned to my mortality. I live in the now. The let’s-get-it-done-before-I-croak now.

My Blog

With a giant assist from our oldest son — a computer wizard — I have launched a blog that examines Aspie-itis from the perspective of one particular senior citizen. It can be found here.

The blog is G-rated, so affected youngsters can access the material. I’ll saddle my steed to Google and alert experts in the field (both from clinical and research perspectives) to this space. I hope some will share from their specific expertise. I’ll also reach out to those who have published accounts of their Aspie lives.

When I found out why I’ve always been different, it was like unbuttoning a cement overcoat. Now I understand why I think this, why I avoid that. If I can contribute – even peripherally – to just one person have a similar “Aha” understanding, this effort will be worthwhile.

Thanks for reading.

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I grew up in Abingdon, Va., and graduated from Virginia Tech in 1971. I wrote features and columns for the Bluefield, W. Va., Daily Telegraph from 1972 until 1987 when I was hired to write the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier. I retired from the newspaper in 2011. Altogether, I penned more than 6,500 pieces on every subject from murderers to moonshiners and mail-order brides to Appalachian snake handlers. I won several contests (and thousands of dollars in prize money) in contests sponsored by Scripps-Howard (the former owner of the Courier). My 12 books include “Swing Batta” (about coaching 9-year-old baseball players) that was published by Michigan State University, and “Defending My Bunk Against All Comers, Sir!” (about Army basic training during the Vietnam War) that was published by Zone Press. My play about the civil rights movement — “Jubilee in the Rear View Mirror” — has been performed three times. Two of my one-act plays have been in the Indy Fringe Festival. My humorous take on having my prostate removed was published recently in the Chicago Tribune. My legacy web site — Plugger Publishing — has links to four projects that have consumed quite a bit of time over the years. “Favorites” is a collection of my columns from Evansville. “Columnists: While We’re Still Around” contains pieces from other columnists whose work I admire. “Folks Are Talking” is a collection of Appalachian-related features I penned during the ’70s and early ’80s when I worked on the West Virginia newspaper. “Coming Together” contains interviews I conducted with three dozen civil rights volunteers who went South during the turbulent ’60s to register black voters and desegregate institutions. My wife MaryAnne and I live in Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis, where we happily babysit our two grandchildren, Gavin and Ben.

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