Venice Heritage’s ANNUAL HERITAGE DINNER is just a few weeks away, and this year’s event is one that you won’t want to miss! ABC7’s reporter and local personality Linda Carson will be leading a conversation on some of our local historical landmarks. Spanning a journalistic career of more than a half century, Carson has been a member of the ABC7 news team since 1995. Among her many other duties as a reporter and talk show host, she reports stories each Monday on local history, a segment she calls “A Place we call Home.”
The Venice Heritage Dinner will be held May 25th at the Venice Yacht Club, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 and may be purchased ON THIS PAGE. Proceeds from the evening will be used to complete restoration of the Lord-Higel House.
Venice Heritage recently enjoyed a conversation with Ms. Carson about her career, some of her favorite local historical landmarks, and what’s left on her bucket list to accomplish.
VHI: If you had not become a reporter, what do you think you would be doing today?
LC: I decided I wanted to be a reporter while reading the old “Brenda Starr” comic strips in the newspaper when I was a kid. Brenda Starr was a reporter for a newspaper and that’s what I thought I would do. Also, I think I would have loved to be a police detective. I love watching TV stories about them. I’d love solving crimes, but I’d never make it because I’m too much of a coward. I’d be scared to go out searching for the criminals alone in the dark.
VHI: What do you consider some of the more memorable stories you’ve covered during your career?
LC: I started in Atlanta in 1964, and I reported on Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife constantly. Being on the scene during the fight for integration, watching Dr. King and the changes he brought about, was truly amazing. I remember my camera man, Clarence Gordon, and me sitting on the floor of Dr. King’s home, arguing with him that non-violent resistance would never work. And Dr. King took the time to explain to us why he thought it would work. Another personal life changing moment for me occurred when I was sent to interview the head coach at Georgia Tech, Bud Carson. I ended up having dinner with him that night, and we were married for 35 years. Since coming to ABC7, most memorable stories, I was in the room with President Bush on 9/11, and I interviewed serial killer, Danny Rolling, about how to avoid becoming the victim of a killer. I also witnessed in person, along with the families of his victims, his execution.
VHI: You do a segment on local history every week. Are you afraid of running out of stories to cover?
LC: Yes, I am. I am always afraid I won’t find anything for the coming week, and so far, something has always appeared. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
My favorites? Oh, I would have loved being in Venice when the Kentucky Military Institute was here. I graduated from high school in 1956, so I can just imagine the fun those girls my age had, with both local boys and boys from Kentucky Military Institute competing for their attention. I also find it amazing that Venice is a planned community. That the founding fathers actually sat down and drew up a picture, a map of exactly what they thought an ideal town should look like, where each thing should be, and then built it just like it was planned. Most cities just spring up haphazardly, with no rhyme or reason.
VHI: Why is history important? Why do you think it is important to maintain one’s heritage?
LC: History shows us how the world works. Or, at least, how it has worked up to this point. It shows how achievements were accomplished and how mistakes were made. And by looking back, you can often see how terrible mistakes could have been avoided. One thing we can learn on the Suncoast, financially, it’s always been a boon time followed by bust, then boon again. This can make you both cautious and courageous. If you look to history, when times are bad, hang in there, it’s going to get better. And when times are great, better save your money, it’s not going to last forever.
When I look back at my own personal heritage, I can see I have it really lucky, and I feel an obligation not to let my ancestors down. They worked so hard, endured so many things, like World Wars, the Great Depression, and personal losses with bravery and faith. It makes me want to be the best person I can possibly be.
VHI: If you could cover any story or conduct an interview with any person, what would it be? What is left on Linda Carson’s bucket list?
LC: If I could interview anybody, I guess it would be Jesus. I’d ask him why bad things happen to good people. I’d sure like to have that explained.
As for what’s left on my bucket list, in a word: traveling. In the last 12 months, I’ve been to Israel with my son, South Africa with my best friend, and I’m going to Ireland with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter in July. Also on my bucket list: spending time with my children, grandchildren, family and friends. And I hope to continue working as long as possible. I love meeting new people, hearing new ideas, learning new things, and seeing new sights. Life is good!