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The 'real Heloise' gives us a callPosted Wednesday, June 2, 2010, at 4:06 PM
Submitted photo Award-winning newspaper columnist Heloise enjoys jumping on this Russian made cycle -- a Ural -- which is camo painted with a sidecar and motoring across the the country.
I can tell you I was thrilled and surprised all at the same time.
As several of my co-workers here in the office were peering through the doorway asking me if it was the "real" Heloise, I nodded and continued to listen to the obviously very outgoing woman on the other end of the telephone line.
The Greene County Daily World started running the daily Hints from Heloise column on our "People Page" last month.
The reason for the live call on Friday from Heloise herself was simple. It's good business.
"I always call my editors to say hello and thank you so much particularly in today's economic and newspaper climate, I really appreciate a sale," she said.
The change in columns had us dropping "Dear Abby", an installment that has been a part of this newspaper for a long time.
Change is not a bad thing and GCDW general manager/editor Chris Pruett says the switch to Heloise is good for our readers.
"The Greene County Daily World is proud to offer Hints from Heloise to our readers. Heloise offers some very practical hints and information we believe you will find useful. The hints will help you save money and time, and in today's economy that can be a big advantage to your family's budget," Pruett says. "We appreciate our readers for being loyal to Dear Abby for many years, and believe you will enjoy reading Hints from Heloise."
The column is featured daily -- themed differently each day.
Her 500-word column runs in more than 400 papers across the country.
"That is amazing to me," she admitted.
Five or six new newspapers have been added since January.
She receives 500 to 600 e-mails daily from readers and makes a habit of carefully reading and incorporating them into her columns. She says she tries to make her column practical and easy to understand.
"I don't print what I think needs to be printed. I print what my readers wants."
In our call, she talked about those little stickies that are applied to every piece of fresh fruit in the grocery story.
She said those were annoying to her and included a tid-bit about them in one or her columns.
After that comment, Heloise received a letter from a grocery store manager who explained it to her. The stickie has a bar code on it and is used in pricing at checkout.
"At least for me, I still don't like it, but I understand why it is there," she said.
She has been writing the six-day-a-week column for 33 years.
The original Heloise was born Eloise Bowles in Forth Worth, Texas on May 14, 1919. When her newspaper column was syndicated in 1961, she added the H because she thought it made more alliterative sense -- Hints from Heloise.
The original Heloise died Dec. 28, 1977. Her tombstone reads, "Heloise, Every Housewife's Friend."
Her daughter, Kiah Michelle, the current Heloise, born in 1951, took over the column after her mother's death.
Heloise regularly does updates with new technology or when new ideas can be validated.
One such example is the hard boiling of an egg.
She pointed out for years it was suggested that adding a few drops of vinegar to the water before boiling would help the peeling of the shell from the egg.
She found out, it actually had nothing to do with adding vinegar to the water.
After publishing this, she was bombarded with correspondence from her readers.
"I got thousands of letters and e-mails telling me that I was wrong. They said your mother taught us differently. So I had to go back and tell them. My mother may have printed that, but this is the American Egg Board speaking and not me. It's the age of the egg only," she said. "The fresher the egg the hard it is to peel."
Heloise said she goes to great links to research her topics and in this day of fast-facts on the World Wide Web that is sometimes a challenge.
She is real big on validating her information and doesn't feel comfortable doing that from sources on the Internet.
"I want to talk to a real person," she said with a giggle. "Today, you need Heloise more than ever and I am the source you can trust. I'll vet it, I'll double check it or update it. It's just frightening how much bad information is out there."
During her leisure time she still mixes it with some business.
She likes to travel around the country with her husband on a motorcycle and visit her subscribing newspapers.
So don't be surprised if she pops into Linton one of these days, she told me.
Heloise lives in San Antonio, Texas and enjoys jumping on the couple's Russian made cycle -- a Ural -- which is camo painted with a sidecar.
She has had a motorcycle license since 1974 and very much finds cycling as a relaxing way to tour the country.
She earned a B.S. degree in Education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in 1974 with a double major in Business Administration and Mathematics and holds a teacher's certificate.
Heloise is a contributing editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, a monthly columnist and lecturer.
The award-winning columnist is also frequent guest on national and local radio and television shows and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Today Show, The View, the Jane Pauley Show and CNN.
She is also the author of 11 books, the most recent "Get Organized With Heloise" in 2004.
Heloise makes frequent appearances for battered women's shelters, the USO, The American Heart Association, military family support-services and animal-related causes.
We hope you enjoy Heloise's column Tuesday through Saturday in the Greene County Daily World.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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