Guest columnist Chuck Goudie: Words from 15 years ago that especially matter today

There are two important things that I've learned while reporting news in Chicago: words matter and actions count. Those simple concepts also carry over to everyday life, regardless of who you are or what you do.

Fifteen years ago, almost to the day, I wrote the words in the Daily Herald column reprinted below. At the time these words mattered to me, certainly mattered to my wife Teri, and to many good people who said that they liked what I had written.

Now they are words that matter in a different way, because my wife Teri died on July 1, a few days before her 65th birthday.

Even if you never met her, perhaps you will read the column now, remember a few of the words … and why I wrote them.

She hung the moon: An Independence Day love story

Her parents thought it would be cute, those three initials they gave her.

After all, it was the Fourth of July week when she was born, so what better initials than TNT?

It was July 1957 when my friend with the TNT initials was born in Chicago. Things were different back then, and not all of them better.

Eisenhower was a decent president at the time and was still years away from being known only as a dreadful Chicago expressway.

The first Mayor Daley was halfway through his first term.

Major League Baseball was still a respectable sport, with men like Minnie Minoso, Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio playing their hearts out in Chicago. The Sox would finish second that year, the Cubs last ... but only 33 games from the top.

Riverview was still rocking as "The World's Largest Amusement Park" on the North Side at Belmont and Western. The most popular concession that year was "African Dip." Black men were hired to sit atop tanks of water and taunt white passers-by, who then would pay to throw balls at a target in an attempt to dump the black men into the water.

That was the changing world that TNT was born into during the July 4 week, 1957.

Those three letters were claimed for her long before they stood for a cable TV network owned by an oddball named Ted.

Fifty years ago, with bombs bursting in air to celebrate Independence Day, Ed and Ellen Tausk gave their first-born child a name that would forever align her with Tri-Nitro-Toluene ... T-N-T ... the standard measure of strength for everything hot-blooded.

In what undoubtedly was her first sign of respect for the great American national holiday, Theresa Nina Tausk delayed her own birth until July 5, 1957.

If you are a holiday baby, or close to someone who is, you know that such a birthday and the adjoining holiday are genetically intertwined.

For Theresa Nina Tausk, aka Teri, the fireworks that mark July 4 have always had a secondary symbolism: her birthday.

Teri's casual friends have never understood her preoccupation with fireworks and why it is so important that she soak in as many pyrotechnic shows as possible every summer.

It's not the fireworks.

It's not the sky they fill with sparks and smoke.

It's the moon that dominates the background.

That is her real fascination. She marvels over the moon.

The moon, she has always explained, is reflected light. It has no light source of its own. You see it only because it reflects the good, warm light from the sun. Just as people should be reflections of the good in others.

As Teri celebrates her half-century birthday this week, another unusual convergence is about to take place.

The very same month that Teri rejoices in marking 50 years on Earth, she and her husband are also about to concelebrate another milestone: 25 years of marriage.

While I had absolutely nothing to do with the timing of the first date, I do know something about the second one because I helped to set it.

In her first 25 years, she was known as Theresa Nina Tausk.

In the past 25, she has been known as Theresa Nina Goudie.

This week, she tiptoes toward 50.

Later this month, on July 24, we march into 25.

Lest you think she has held it against me for hijacking her great initials TNT by way of marriage, I have never heard a complaint (at least about that).

Then again, she has never needed formally explosive initials to jar the ground on which she walks.

It takes TNT in your veins to burst through life the way she does: from the 10 marathons she vowed to complete before she was 50 and did, to the selfless hours she promised to devote to life charities and does.

In between that and raising five great children, she jets around the world teaching top executives how to handle corporate crisis and become effective communicators.

They are skills she honed at ABC, the place we met 27 years ago when she was producing newscasts. She was the first woman I saw in the newsroom the day I interviewed to be a reporter in Chicago. Her smile and laugh still dazzle me every time I walk into a room where she is.

Teri's next goal is to climb a mountain. Something shy of Mount Everest. Our friends think she's crazy and won't do it, but I know she will.

You see, I know why she wants to climb a mountain. It's to get closer to the moon.

• Chuck Goudie is the chief investigative reporter at ABC7 News in Chicago. The views in this column are his own and not those of WLS-TV. Teri Goudie did climb that mountain - Mount Kilamanjaro in September 2010. Joan Broz wrote this story about the achievement in the Daily Herald:

Chuck and Teri Goudie Photo Courtesy of Chuck Goudie
Teri Goudie
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