Mary Jane Sertel founded the Miami Social Register (still Miami's only society look-up book) and her husband Lino Sertel was the city's main squeeze for business...law and insurance bidness (as we say in the south).

That they were among honored guests at my wedding shower, a cocktail buffet hosted by Sen. Claude Pepper (D, FL) and his personable wife Mildred, made all the other guests know this was a real deal. Since I wrote the daily society column for The Miami News, I was well-known to the guests since we bonded when I covered their parties.

When I attended a cocktail party at the Sertel's, Mary Jane took me aside and asked me to take over the Miami Social Register, that her eyes were failing fast and she could hardly see the printed word anymore.

As I reflected on that offer ( in my dotage -- anecdotage, that is) -- I realized I should have thanked her and said I was honored but I was too busy telling Mary Jane that "I am a writer -- I love being a writer. I can't give that up." She continued to propose my joining her. Mary Jane pointed out that I would never h ave to worry about money for the rest of my life. I told her that money is not my god. Never has been.

Her replacement eventually became a former neighbor of my youth in Grove Park, Ann Jackson, wife of Jack Jackson. They were a newsy twosome, just like the Sertels. Husbands prosper when their wives have an at-home business that can draw flies to their haunts.

Publishing a yearbook of any type (I did a prizewinner at the University of Miami) sacrifices one's time for writing. Being a clerk of names and vital statistics like addresses, club memberships and old school ties takes up all the time. It is exceedingly important to read everything three times to rest easy about typos.

I've never regretted that my work pays so poorly if you compare hourly wages. Writing to me is like being in a parade. Clerking is watching it. Very carefully. Writing is loosey goosey. C'mon in, and don't be late for the glide-rides. Varoom!