Between my junior and senior years in college, I worked as a copyboy for the Washington Post. I got the job by writing a pleading letter to editors of newspapers on the East Coast. I was turned down by all of them, but hired (to my surprise) by the Post. I was sitting at dinner one night in May in my dormitory at Wellesley when a call came from the managing editor, Ben Gilbert, gruffly asking when I could report. I almost jumped out of my skin on the spot.

I was paid $35 a week, which was very low even in 1959, and I lived with friends in a hotel room. I started with the night shift, which involved running out to pick up copy from the AP or somewhere else between midnight and 8 am.

I met a lot of memorable people (including my future husband). One of the most memorable at the Post was a young reporter named Tom Wolfe. He made a name for himself when he was assigned to write about Vice President Richard Nixon’s trip to Eastern Europe without leaving his desk. He wrote brilliantly colorful articles, and no one knew he was not part of the traveling entourage.

My friends and I invited him to brunch, but he wasn’t interested in any of us. We thought he might be gay (he wasn’t).

I told him of my adventures on the night shift and confessed that I carried a pen knife for safety. Fortunately, I never needed it.

Years later, when I met him at a social event in New York City, I reminded him of our brief shared time at the Washington Post. He looked at me, blinked, and said, “Ah, yes, the girl with the Golden Scimitar.”

True Tom Wolfe.