EDITOR’S NOTE: The columns of Bill Duncan, a long-time journalist, have returned to The News-Review. Duncan, who died in November 2011, wrote a weekly column for The News-Review and The Capital Press of Salem from 1981 to 2011. Duncan wrote the following column seven years ago. His thoughts are still pertinent to today.

After 59 years of marriage, my wife knows who is her valentine, so I didn’t rush to the candy store or buy her fancy jewels. Instead I sent her a copy of an email that came unsolicited to my electronic in-box from someone who introduced herself as Kate and said she wanted to be my friend.

My love message to my wife was that she better behave because I had someone in her 20s who wanted “to be my soulmate” and that she had “all the parts of what I wanted.”

I should have anticipated my wife’s quick comeback in a return message from her PC to my Mac. She immediately wanted to know if I had answered the email, and as an editor, had corrected Kate’s grammar and spelling. Then she added. “You’ll have to do better to make me jealous.” Kate said she had found my profile on a dating site. Somebody must have stolen my identity. I will admit both my wife and I have jokingly thought about testing eHarmony to see if we are compatible.

We are both journalists and are always looking for a good story. Our eHarmony came in the form of an Irish leprechaun named Lee B. McConville. He was the journalism professor who matched us up by assigning me to escort her to a dance in the late 1940s. She was the editor of the college newspaper and, as a lowly reporter, I jumped at the chance for an assignment.

We have spent a lifetime of sharing assignments. We’ve worked on the same newspaper several times and were assigned to take the last voyage of The Queen Mary in the late 1960s, I as a reporter and she as editor of the shipboard daily newspaper. At one time she was a newspaper fashion editor and she had a deadline for an entire fashion edition. She became ill and I leaped in to see that she met the deadline. Still, as sick as she was, I had to ask her a question: “What the hell are foundations?”

I envisioned something like bricks and mortar, but learned some intimate details that the girls keep secret.

Maybe that is what Kate meant by “all the parts of what I wanted.”

About the grammar in Kate’s letter? She writes:

“You are far from me but I belief that there’s nothing that love can not do. I belief love can move mountain and love turns around person life to precious life and a sweat one.”

Funny thing about Kate. She forgot in several places how to spell her name. In one place she says it is “Kate,” in another “Katea” and other times she is “Kait.” Interestingly her return email address is “hotmail.com.” That fits.

The mystery of all this is with my email server. After a debacle recently of going weeks without Suzanne Beecher’s online book club, DearReader.com, to which I subscribe through the Douglas County Library, the reason was finally made clear. A techie for the server, located somewhere in Timbuktu, told me the spam checker considered the name Suzanne as a porn site and blocked it. My question is: How did Kate slip through the spam checker and end up on my computer screen?

Oh, well, it gave me an excuse to send a love message to my valentine — a message that only a couple of journalists would understand — and my valentine is not Kate or Katea or Kait. She is that newspaper editor I married 59 years ago and is the house grammarian.

“You Had to Be There,” a collection of Bill Duncan’s columns, is available from Ada Duncan at 541-673-1073 or adagduncan@gmail.com. It can also be purchased from While Away Books in Roseburg or from Amazon.com.

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