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The Calling
Marg-Ins 5-1-24

Sometimes I think I may have missed my calling.

That’s probably a familiar thought for many people, who – years down the line – find themselves doing a job they never envisioned having.

Or it’s possible you could have more than one calling.

This thought arose again most recently when friend and co-worker Michelle and I got talking about roller derby, of all things. Of course, you can find anything you want on the internet and she was able to pull up a match featuring the Bay City Bombers at Golden Gate Park. Put me on skates and let me zip around an oval rink, knocking people out of the way? Sounds like a good way to make a paycheck to me.

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

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

Which brings me back to the roller derby. I thoroughly enjoyed skating as fast as I could when we would go to the rink and know that, given the chance, I would have loved suiting up for some roller derby. It was pretty nostalgic watching a little bit of it with Michelle; the roller derby ladies were positioning themselves so they could ‘check’ each other into the railings, sort of hockey-style; they formed a ‘wall’ by linking arms so their opponents couldn’t get through and, at one point, a person we assumed must have been the onsite doctor came rushing on to tend to a downed skater and nearly got taken out himself. I remember watching it live when I was a kid and thinking that was something I could be good at. But upstate New York was not exactly the roller derby capital of the country so that didn’t happen.

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

Instead, I enjoyed playing both field hockey and soccer in high school, and you can do a fair amount of ‘checking’ in those sports, too, as long as you make sure the officials don’t see you.

Like many, I had several things I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up – among them were a teacher, an actress (who doesn’t want to do that?!) or a professional puppeteer, as my high school best friend and I did puppetry together for years. She’s the one who went on to become a teacher, continued with puppetry and also is a professional storyteller.

But truthfully, it was probably meant to be that I am here.

I was always writing; always. I did 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 turn it in to a career. When I think back, Hollywood and the Muppets aside, my goal was to be able to make a living by writing, whatever form that took.

Turns out it started in radio, writing news stories and commercials and then getting into the broadcasting side. Later, I moved in to newspapers and that’s ultimately what brought me 3000 miles, making the coast to coast move. And I still get to use some of my puppet voices on occasion, much to the delight of my granddaughter.


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