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Local Column

Schrader: Sharing a life story in 8 chapters

Linda (Klein) Means
Linda (Klein) Means

Many of us would like to tell our life’s story but don’t know how to begin, or wonder whether it is interesting enough to share with others.

Linda (Klein) Means has capsulized her life into eight fascinating chapters in her book, “Passport to the World: Looking Back While Moving On.” It reaches from here to Caracas, Venezuela, and then across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. She has chosen snippets of her lifetime of experiences, turning them into eight essays. They even make good individual stories. It would be a good way for any of us to assemble our own biographies, except she has a lifetime of journalism experience to draw upon.

We were classmates at Northern Illinois University, both majored in journalism and were part of the Northern Star staff in those free-wheeling days of student journalism when print media still reigned supreme. After college, we went our separate ways – I moved out West, and she went to Wilmington, Delaware, to work at a large daily. But she returned to work at the Chicago Tribune before going to U.S. News & World Report, then getting married and moving to South America. 

I only heard of her travels and later life in Boston, where she hosted a cable TV talk show, through her brother, Ron, a well-known DeKalb attorney. 

She spends part of the book telling about her early life on the family farm near Hinckley, focusing on her grandmother and how she influenced Linda’s life.

The most poignant chapter for me is about her younger brother, John, who lived with Down syndrome. She shared details about their interactions and how much love there was in the family surrounding John.  She wrote a poem at the time of her brother’s death, which she has included in her book. Linda is no stranger to poetry; her first book written for children a few years ago was one long poem titled “Old Gramma Cat.”

Linda is flying here next week for Huskies homecoming and also will be speaking to the Rotary Club of Sycamore about her life. There also is a book signing at the Hinckley Historical Society later in the week.

• Barry Schrader can be reached via email at barry815@sbcglobal.net or through P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115.

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