A look back on my relationship with The Tico Times

This is a sad farewell and thanks for the memories column. I am remembering my relationship with The Tico Times, which sadly, ended its print publication last Friday.

In the late 1980s I visited Costa Rica. Before I returned to the U.S., I subscribed to The Tico Times. Each week I read about the little country I had fallen in love with. I was impressed by the investigative reporting and loved reading about the adventures of the columnist, whose name I have forgotten, but who described living in a wilderness I could not imagine. I was fortified and heartened to learn about all of the activities and clubs an expat had access to.

A couple of years after I moved to Costa Rica, I became really annoyed with the letters to the editor from expats and visitors complaining about one thing or another in what I considered a very livable little country. So I wrote a perspective entitled “Mussolini Made the Trains Run on Time. Yes, but…” and sent it to The Tico Times. To my surprise, they published it.

After that I had the pleasure and fun of getting to know Susan Liang, then an editor with The Tico Times, and one day told her that The Tico Times should run a column about living in San José to balance the columns by Mitzi, who masterfully painted life in the country. Susan said, “Why don’t you do it?” (Or words to that effect). So I wrote a column which I called, “I’ll Take the City,” and again, to my surprise, The Tico Times took it. I think Susan had something to do with that.

I also recall she gave me my first part in a play produced by the Little Theatre Group – that of a bag lady whose dream it was to live in McDonald’s.

I didn’t live far from The Tico Times office at the time, so I walked down the hill and delivered my typed column in person once a week. It wasn’t always published once a week.

Then one day, a new, young editor told me I didn’t need to
write any more columns. I was sorry (and surprised) to hear that. Actually, I was crushed, but I had to smile, later, because it was my first experience being fired. And I got my first job when I was 12.

And then, a couple of years later, to my surprise (you would think my life has been full of surprises), Jay Brodell appeared upon the scene. He had recently resigned as general manager at the TT and suggested that I might like to write a column for the daily online newspaper he was planning to launch. I jumped at the chance. A few days after the job offer we were walking towards the Centro Cultural in Los Yoses. and he suggested we needed a picture. So I sat on the stone wall, and he snapped my photo. It is not the one I have today, but we used it for years.

Meanwhile, we all move on. Tico Times owner Dery Dyer married, and I am sure has found a busy and satisfying life outside of the newspaper world. Susan is doing house exchanges and living in every country I would like to visit. And Ann Antkiw who did a beautiful job writing the restaurants reviews, will be working as hard as she has all of her life, it seems, as well as continuing to be a dynamic force in the Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica. Ann and I were roommates for a while until she went off to Africa on a safari. Later, we started a catering business. Her frozen dishes were much better than mine, and I hear she is now making her pot pies available.

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