A Squeaky Brush With An Attempted Presidential Assassin

Western Ag Vignettes

But she seemed like such a nice person.

Published on: December 18, 2012

News Note: "Squeaky " Fromme was sentenced to life in prison by a Sacramento, Calif.,  federal jury during this week in 1975 for attempting to shoot President Gerald Ford in Sacramento.

I bring this up because just a few weeks earlier, I met Lynette Alice Fromme when I was working as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee.  I was near the entrance to the second floor from a staircase when the door opened and his nice young woman asked me how to get to the newsroom. Being so very polite, I escorted her down the long corridors to the hub of the newspaper's editorial department. Along the way we talked and she introduced herself (she used "Squeaky," so the encounter was easily remembered).

En route we discussed her reason for being at The Bee (to visit with the city editor, she said), and chatted a little about the pictures along the hallway and my own job. By the time we reached our destination, were smiling and joking. She thanked me and waltzed away into history.

Who knew? A few weeks later, "Squeaky" was on the front page of The Bee, and I was bragging about my encounter in the lunch room. Maybe the hood she wore, uncharacteristic for the '70s, but a trademark of her and her mates, Susan Atkins, Sandra Good and Sara Jane Moore.

Years later, when she heard her cult leader, Charlie Manson, had cancer, she escaped from prison, but was recaptured and released in 2009.

Investigators say Fromme did not take part in the Manson clan slaughter of the Tate-LaBianca families in Hollywood in 1969.

E is for evolution
Talking about my days at a large metro paper back when print media ruled, I look down at my flat HP laptop keyboard and am swept back to my journalism beginnings. It was a Royal 440 manual typewriter I began on. Then came the first shocking entry into the electronic generation, scanner copy. We had to write with special typewriters on paper with a red border which we could not cross. The hard copy was then scanned into the computer.

A lot of us were a little scared of this new technology. Some reporters quit rather than change our their 440s.

As time went by, we had computers shared in the newsroom, and we learned the new language of using them.

All rather prehistoric now, it seems, with the devices we have today. Nevertheless, I never fail to tell my grandchildren that they owe my generation for making the transition from cold type to the hot new devices they hold in their hands, and the iPads they use to scan the world.

It has been a profound trip through it all to be sure. Despite all of the glitches, the GIGO, and the cyberspace eating of copy, the e-evolution is a remarkable achievement.  When I think of what gadgets my grandkids will have when they are my age, imagination balks.

But forget not to pay homage to those of us who blazed the trail of user-ness. We deserve marble walls with our names, golden trophies to our frustration, and a pat on top of the head for not going crazy along the way to now.