Reactions To Deborah Paul’s Final Column
The magazine’s editor emerita had written in 432 issues dating back to 1981.
After 36 years of writing her column, Deborah Paul’s final installment in the December issue elicited a lot of letters. Here are some of the best.
I received my Indianapolis Monthly about a week ago. As always, I turned first to the back page to read Deborah Paul’s column. After seeing the title, I knew. I sat the issue down, and dreaded opening it back up. This morning, as I finally read it, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a single word. I want Deborah to know that I have thoroughly enjoyed each of her columns, and I will miss them so much. My hope is that she truly enjoys her next chapter.
I had a heavy heart reading Deborah Paul’s final column. I have subscribed to IM for the past 30 years, and her writing was the first thing I read each month. When I moved away in 1991, I missed a lot about Indy. Her column helped me feel connected to the Circle City.
Congratulations to Deborah Paul on her retirement. I have laughed and cried with her. It seemed we were raising our children and having life adventures on about the same schedule. Over three years ago, I left my beloved teaching career, when I, too, heard that little voice. I miss many people, but I find there is so much more to enjoy without work and deadlines. I hope Deborah finds great joy in her next life chapter.
Jean Gause Rawlinson
Although I wish I had met Deborah in a mall or supermarket to let her know how her stories have touched me, it may never happen, so I am taking a minute to write this note. When my 20-year-old cat died years ago, a few months later, Deborah’s words explained exactly how I felt. I too, walk through the woods with arms outstretched to touch the trees, and again, her column explained exactly why and how I feel when doing that. I try to explain to my grown daughters that “when I was young” the only opportunity for a girl to do something adventurous was Girl Scouts, and that is why I was a scout until my senior year in high school. (They still snicker). Deborah wrote a column about that, too. And now, as I contemplate retiring from my nursing job after 44 years, once again her words touch my heart. I understand about the little voice saying “enough.” As with everything, there’s a time to let go.
Like the women in the malls and supermarkets, I also would like to thank Deborah for many years of reading pleasure. I hope in this time of divisiveness and polarization, that she will continue to champion free speech, the unbiased media, and human rights. I believe with all my heart that our democracy is in peril, and that her voice is too important to go silent.
What am I going to read in Deborah Paul’s magazine now that she has retired? One of the constants in my life has been immediately turning to the back page and soaking up whatever she has written. May God bless her in her retirement, and may I figure out a reason to continue our subscription.
When we would visit our friends in Carmel, I always enjoyed picking up old copies of Indianapolis Monthly from their pile of magazines. Those issues contained plenty of interesting articles, but I enjoyed Deborah Paul’s column the most. It was so well-written and insightful that I decided last year to subscribe to the magazine even though we live in South Bend. So count me among the countless who will miss her words of wisdom and whimsy every month. I spent my career at the South Bend Tribune (and still write a weekly column for them in retirement), and I often have envied how well she turned a phrase. I will keep her last column as a reminder that, at some point, we all need to move on (although I wish she hadn’t).
I’m trying to imagine each month without Deborah Paul’s commentary on life. As an attorney for the past 54 years and a subscriber to Indianapolis Monthly from its infancy, I wonder if maybe I have rights and whether she can she really do this. After all, Deborah is 11 years my junior, and I guess I had subconsciously counted on her to educate and entertain me during the remainder of my years. Of course, her recent essays had been leading up to this. We just didn’t want to read the message on the wall. So many of us have fond memories of growing up in Indianapolis during that wonderful period of the 40s, 50s, and 60s which she frequently chronicled. Not unlike Deborah, we too had parents and pets, fascinations and frustrations, enigmas and enlightenments. We have had illness and uncertainty. Deborah spoke so expertly on these passages of life, assuring us that we were not alone.
John M. Burgett
I just had a chance to look at my latest issue of Indianapolis Monthly and, as usual, turned to the last page first. I guess I’d say I’m shocked but not surprised. I’ve been reading Deborah Paul’s monthly columns for about as long as she has written them. Although I’m about two years older, our lives have had so many similarities. I also grew up in Meridian-Kessler and have memories going back to the Atlas Grocery (with David Letterman). Whether they were about pets, aging parents, or countless other topics, Deborah’s down-to-earth columns often went right to my heart. She will be missed with every new issue that arrives, and yes, she should be proud.
Make no mistake: Indianapolis Monthly will always be Deborah Paul’s magazine. Her columns allowed so many people to walk beside her as she encountered those attic moments and optional four way stops. We need more voices like hers right now, not less. I will miss giggling or empathizing with her words, and I wish Deborah everything that is due to her in her next adventure.
I just read Deborah Paul’s final column, and the words rang so true to me. I, too, am a retired columnist, having penned a weekly column in my newspaper, The Spotlight. In my 27 years of owning the Southside paper, I composed some 1400 columns and, looking back on that endeavor, still find it mind boggling. Where the heck did all of those words come from? Well, like Deborah Paul’s columns, they came from writing about life experiences, current events, and just whatever came to mind that day. We sold to Gannett in 2006, and I’ve since devoted my time to volunteering, RVing, enjoying family, and just not having to do one damn thing on any particular day. The adjustment has, for the most part, been enjoyable. I hope Deborah finds lots of “nothings” to fill her life. Congratulations to her. She has earned it.