Esther Williams was the business manager of the Cedar Valley Daily Times in Vinton, Iowa, for 65 years. 

She never married and it was common knowledge that the newspaper was her life partner. She told the story of her life to Phylis Simnacher, a self-described home maker, Christian and freelance writer. 

Simnacher interviewed Esther on the occasion of the business manager's 90th birthday, and the story resulting from two days of interviews, was published in the paper on March 25, 1992. 

On the occasion of Vinton's 150 anniversary celebration, the newspaper is working on a multi-part special edition, one section of which features 150 prominent women in Vinton.

Deservedly, Esther Williams is among them. 

I had heard a lot about Esther over the years during my visits to the Vinton paper, but mostly, it was about how to this day her presence can be felt in the building, when there is a sudden light flicker or some logic-defying error, like the inability of a designer to open, despite repeated, problem-solving efforts,  a picture of Esther when all the other pictures in the same format worked flawlessly, 

In working on Vinton's sesquicentennial section, I was curious to learn more about Esther's dedication to the paper, and was lucky to find the writer of her profile still in town and willing to share her memories of what it was like to interview the woman who called everyone in town every week to fill a column about who hosted guests in town and other newsworthy human interactions, the precursor of Facebook.

This interview is published as done in real time and as with any oral history, the story of the subject, and the story of the writer are woven into each other.

Phyllis, it turns out nominated another deserving woman for the 150th anniversary edition, an ordained pastor, who at 95 still drives friends to their doctor's appointments and visits shut-ins and people in the nursing homes. You will hear echoes of her story as well, not to mention the story of a blind woman who Phyllis befriended.