Welcoming new columnists, bidding others adieu

I hope all of you love reading the work of our contributing columnists as much as I do.

You’ve seen some different — but familiar — faces this summer as former contributors penned some guest columns to fill our annual summer break.

Now it’s time to return to our regularly scheduled programming. And, as is the case every September, I must bid farewell to the writers who are moving off the rotation.

This year that is Bret Conway, Mistie Psaledas, Kelly Abate Kallas and student writer Isabella Terry. I enjoyed all of their work and am so grateful for their willingness to share their beautiful, touching, funny pieces with me.

I am happy to welcome back Bill Barre, John Bourjaily, Lisa Seplak and Lex Silberberg, all of whom began their two-year assignments one year ago.

Another former columnist, Denise Joyce, is returning to the fold this year. Joyce last was part of our columnist pool in 2015.

Joyce and her husband, Joe, have lived in Hinsdale since 1977 and raised a son and daughter here. She worked for the Trib for 38 years before leaving in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to another stint of writing columns because it’s a regular push to expand my thinking out of its daily routine,” she said. “Conversations and moments that give me pause will now linger with me: Is this something that has broader impact and can make someone’s life better? Even if the ‘better’ is a fleeting smile or nod of agreement.”

Our two new columnists are not related but share the same last name.

Jade Cook said she used to write quite a bit and traces her love of writing back to her days as a young girl.

“It began before I can remember and may have had something to do with ‘Harriet the Spy’ and my subsequent collection of colorful notebooks as a young girl,” she said.

She worked on the youth editorial staff of the Kalamazoo Gazette in Michigan before earning her bachelor’s from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. She’s written for Fitness magazine in New York and then Chicago magazine after she followed her college boyfriend, now husband — to Chicago and his hometown of Hinsdale.

She is mom to a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Since moving here, she’s earned her master’s degree in education, taught and worked part-time as the children’s ministry director at Hinsdale Covenant Church.

“Truthfully, I’ve never written to hold a mirror up to my own life,” she wrote. “All of my writing in the past was from a place of objectivity, so this would be a new experience for me. I’d like to give it a try.”

Kevin Cook is a 25-year Hinsdale resident who said he loves a great written story.

“I grew up reading Mike Royko and many other columnists, always mesmerized by (and a bit jealous of) their writing gifts,” said Cook, president of the Chicago office of a global public relations firm. “I tell stories for a living, but they are always someone else’s stories. I now want to share some of my own. Stories I believe others will relate to and enjoy. Perhaps nod in agreement as they read or smile or snarl. As long as it resonates.”

Cook grew up in LaGrange Park and graduated from LT before earning a degree from Purdue University-Northwest. He and his wife, Sherri, have three children, two at home and one a college grad out in the workforce.

I think you’ll enjoy reading their first columns as much as I did.

New food column

When it comes to column writing, this is a good year to be a Cook. Or a cook.

I am so pleased to announce that Amy McCauley, a former contributing columnist herself, is joining the paper as its first food columnist. Her “Tales from the table” column will be part of the monthly rotation of columns in our Pulse section.

Amy is so enthusiastic that she said “Yes!” before I even had the chance to finish explaining what I hoped she would do.

Learn more about Amy and what she hopes to accomplish with her column in the first installment, which will appear in next week’s paper. And then cook up some of her delicious Parmesan crusted chicken piccata.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean