A half-century of living

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If we are lucky, we all have significant birthdays in our lives. In reality, they are only numbers but these dates can cause us to reflect. Such is the case with this small town newspaper reporter as I mark one of those birthdays today.

It was 50 years ago, May 14, 1969, about 8:30 a.m. if memory serves, that I made my not so significant entrance into this world. From that small town hospital in Mooresville to today it has been quite the ride.

That ride has included significant events in history. I entered the world under the administration of President Richard Nixon and I live today under the administration of Donald Trump. Between the two, there have been seven other occupants of the White House.

I’ve seen one of those presidents impeached, one who would have been impeached if he hadn’t resigned, and one who may yet be impeached. I’ve seen another president narrowly escape an assassination attempt. I have seen a peanut farmer, a baseball team owner, a movie star and a real estate billionaire all move into the Oval Office at one time or the other.

I have seen both the good and bad. The worst was in my adult life when terrorists blindsided us on Sept. 11, 2001, killing thousands of Americans in the process.

I have seen two space shuttles explode, Elvis Presley die and I even saw the Cubs win the World Series. I’ve seen a princess die and multiple princes and princesses being born, including young Archie just last week.

Man landed on the moon in my lifetime, but I was 2 months old at the time, so memory is a little hazy on that one. I do remember excitedly watching as space vehicles gently floated into the ocean as they awaited pick up. I remember nervous apprehension as the first space shuttle took off.

On a personal level, I have lived in nine cities or towns, but only one state. To borrow a popular saying in our state, “I’m Tarheel born and Tarheel bred and when I die I’ll be Tarheel dead.”

I left Dunn a scared kid for East Carolina University in 1987 and circled back right where I started. I have spent the last 20 years here reporting the news which continues to be both rewarding and challenging. The last 20 years have seen me gain a wife, two children, a grandchild and two dogs into my family. I’ve watched children graduate from high school, my wife start a successful business and a grandchild attend kindergarten.

I’ve experienced two brain surgeries in a two-week period — another story I can tell another time — but I wear the long ugly scar on my head with pride. It reminds me that perserverance and pride always win out.

As of this morning I am beginning my second half century. I remember thinking 50 was old. Now it seems like another speed bump on the road of life. It is literally just a number on a calendar.

Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or twoerner@mydailyrecord.com.

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