Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Goodbye, until my second act begins

As much as I like F. Scott Fitzgerald, I think he was all wet when he said, late in life, "There are no second acts in American lives."

Of course there are. And those of us who spend a lot of time in the theater know that although the first act of any show can be wonderfully exciting and interesting, it is merely a set-up for the good stuff that comes later.

I say this as I end one act of my life and wait to see what the next one brings (and, like Shakespeare, I think there can be five acts, maybe more).

Yes, I am one of the St. Petersburg Times employees who accepted the enhanced retirement package announced a couple of months ago. As of Aug. 31, I, along with many of my colleagues, will be officially retired.

I leave just eight days short of being here for 22 years. It was 1986 when I moved from a small daily newspaper in east Texas to join the great big St. Pete Times. I held a variety of jobs — copy editor, reporter, editorial writer — before I landed in the butter bucket, also known as arts and entertainment editor of the Pasco Times, where I've covered theater and the arts in Pasco and Hernando counties for 15 years.

I took a lot of ribbing from my colleagues downtown who wondered what "arts" I would be covering in Pasco: tractor pulls and mud-bogging contests? To be sure, the local arts pickings were slim when Pasco Editor Bill Stevens and former Times President and CEO Andy Barnes created this job (I like to think they had me in mind when they did it).

Since then, though, the area's arts scene has blossomed.

We now have a first-class Equity dinner theater, two popular community theaters in their own buildings, several performing arts centers with regular seasons, many visual art centers, thriving community orchestras, bands and choral groups, a plethora of outdoor festivals, opera study groups, world-class dance and theater studios, and a host of other performing and fine arts activities.

And I've done my best to make sure that everyone knows what's going on and where to go see it.

I'll miss doing that every day.

But, wait. Before anyone dons sackcloth and grabs for the ashes or, in some cases (perhaps a few actors, director, producers and restaurant owners) begins dancing a jig and hollering "Well, they finally canned the old witch," let me say that, like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, "I'll be back."

I'm taking off a couple of months for some R & R, including two significant high school class reunions and an extended road trip, and then, time and Times willing, I'll be back part time to cover theater, write columns, visit restaurants and do whatever I can in a limited number of hours to cover the arts and dining scene.

Someone else will be in charge of the listings and decide the stories to go into each week's Pasco Diversions section. For now, send those announcements to my editor, Bridget Grumet, at 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668 or e-mail at She'll get them to the right person.

Meanwhile, I'll see you at the theater — but, for now, I won't be scribbling in a notebook in the dark. I'll be a civilian.

Barbara L. Fredricksen can be reached at (727) 869-6262 or by e-mail at

Goodbye, until my second act begins 08/22/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 4:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Loggerhead sea turtle found in Islamorada resident's pool


    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on Monday, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys.

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on June 22, 2017, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys. [Photo from video]

  2. What Wilson Ramos will mean to the Rays lineup, pitching

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer was stumping for all-star votes for Corey Dickerson during a live interview Wednesday morning on the MLB Network when he lifted the right earpiece on his headset and said, "I hear a buffalo coming."

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (40) waves to the crowd after being presented with the Silver Slugger Award before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
  3. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players


    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  4. She doesn't care if you accept her, as long as you respect her

    Human Interest

    Mary Jane Taylor finds strength walking quietly among the dead.

    Mary Jane Taylor,18, visits Oaklawn Cemetery in downtown Tampa when she is feeling low. "When I hit my low points in life I go the the graveyard," she says. "people are afraid of the graveyard. I love the graveyard." The transgender teen recently graduated from Jefferson High School. She is  enrolled in summer classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville studying international business. She plans to transfer to the University of Florida, attend law school and become a civil rights lawyer. (JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times)
  5. Few new details in state investigation of Tarpon Springs officer-involved shooting of Nick Provenza

    Public Safety

    TARPON SPRINGS — An investigative report, released this week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, into the officer-involved shooting that killed 25-year-old Nick Provenza included largely the same narrative prosecutors released this month that ruled the shooting a "justifiable homicide."

    Stopping while riding by on his bike Michael Prater, 15, hangs his head after looking at the memorial at Safford and Tarpon avenues for Nick Provenza, a 25-year-old who was shot and killed there during a car show Saturday by a Tarpon Springs police officer. Investigators said Provenza pulled a knife on the cop who shot him. Friends find it hard to believe a man they described as a peaceful vegan and musician would be capable of such an act. Prater didn't know the victim but was at the car show.