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Chit chatting about Helen


Every week I sit down to write this column and wonder what topic will grace my space. Often I do have an idea well ahead of time, but there have been many times when I haven’t a clue what to put down on paper until the last minute.
Monday we received news no one likes to get. Someone had passed away; someone dear to our hearts at the Record.
That someone was Helen Ricci.
Just last summer I had the pleasure of interviewing Helen and two of her former classmates; now living down under in Australia. As always Helen had that kind smile and charm about her that makes you wish she was your grandma.
I remember one of my first close encounters with her being much the same way. It was when I was 21 and considering taking this job as editor (That is 15 years ago on the caveman time scale, in case you were wondering).
Both she and Len welcomed me into their home and had a really good heart to heart about what I was getting myself into. After all they should know... Len ran the paper for about 40 years.
Helen jokingly told me that Len was married to the paper first and her second, since the news, printing and production of the paper always came first no matter what family function was going on. Then I thought she was joking... but I now know what she meant.
It has to take a very patient and understanding woman to have her husband running out at all hours of the night to get photos of a fire and Helen was that woman.
I grew up with two of her grandsons as my good friends. Richard and Gary Armstrong and was taught in school and Sunday school by her son Don Ricci. Later I hired her grandsons to work for me at the paper.
Helen and her family have truly had a great impact on my life, my career and the community as a whole. For years she wrote a column called Chit Chat with Helen which touched so many people’s lives.
It was missed when she stopped writing it and now she will be missed only that much more.
My deepest sympathies to Len and family.
–Until then,