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‘Inside the Blue Line’ reaches the finish line
February 12, 2013 - Don Williams
It’s time to say “s’long!” (I speak Adirondackish, you know.) The Inside the Blue Line Column is 25 years old. I wrote a similar column for a couple years for The Leader-Herald back in the 1950s and, 23 years ago, today’s version commenced in the same newspaper where it was born.
Three other papers were added thereafter and, during the years, the column acquired loyal readers who provided me with welcomed, positive feedback that kept me going.
Many have shared with me that they have kept scrapbooks of the articles from the beginning. I am thankful for the Adirondack followers and for the kindness of The Leader-Herald, The Adirondack Daily Enterprise, The Amsterdam Recorder and the Hamilton County News for sticking with it for so long.
A new book was published recently that researched the beginnings of “famous” people; the research concluded that most began their careers in failure, and talent and genius did not guarantee an easy road to success. It was perseverance and determination that moved them to notable careers.
Not that I classify myself as “famous or genius,” but I was told by my high school guidance counselor that I was just a farm/store boy and should forget about college. I went, and fortunately, I had college professors who encouraged my writing, shared Adirondack research with me, and, upon graduation, through my education career choice, I fell into an associated writing career. My master’s degree required a major thesis, which took determination and follow-through, launching me into a serious journey of producing a finished product including books and articles. My six years doing a television show also required extensive research and writing.
During these years, my love of sharing the Adirondacks led to an endless flow of printed words. Adirondack Like magazine has printed my articles, and for some 20 years, I did the Adirondack column for the New York Sportsman magazine. Other outdoor and educational publications also have been a source of my body of work.
Books provide a real challenge and opportunity to share the Adirondacks. My book on Nick Stoner came out in 1969 through the kindness of Jim Tindle at the Willard Press, went to a second printing, and now is available in paperback. “Nick Stoner and the Sammons Boys, the Revolutionary War stories,” sold out and claims high prices in the rare book market. (Would you believe $800 on eBay?)
My book on Oliver Whitman and the book of 100 Adirondack stories have become unavailable classics. And now, the six books that I did for the Arcadia “Images of America” series, each of which has 200 Adirondack photographs and stories, have never stopped selling. Add to all of these writings a pile of miscellaneous articles written for special occasions and others, and it becomes evident, there is a plethora of Adirondack information out there, preserved, I hope, for prosperity.
Retiring the “Blueline” column is one of life’s dilemmas. On one hand I will miss it, and on the other hand, life is filled with change, and I can no longer keep it going. I know that many of my friends, relatives and loyal Adirondack readers have looked forward to reading about the Adirondacks once a week.
For those who want a weekly dose of the Adirondacks, I might suggest getting the Arcadia books; there are enough pictures (worth a thousand words) and stories in the six books to last another 23 years.
I have two more books in the works that are going to require major time, research and energy. I hope to get them out before I get much older.
There are some good, newsworthy Adirondack Trail Byway stories waiting to be told, and my 200 vintage Adirondack tools need to be photographed and published with descriptive explanations of how they were used — I have got to get to work!
Editor’s note: To read Bill Ackerbauer's Feb. 10, 2013, article looking back on Don Williams’ career as an Adirondack historian and storyteller, click here: 'Mr. Adirondack'
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