Skip to main content

At 100, Ethel Bradford still writes about life outside her window

Oct 03, 2017 05:02PM ● Published by Shaun Delliskave

Centenarian Ethel Bradford reflects on 70 years’ worth of columns. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

Gallery: Life Outside Her Window [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

Just by looking at her, you’d swear she isn’t a day over 70. Certainly, you’d expect her to be retired, but for 100-year-old journalist and columnist Ethel Ohlin Bradford, every day is another chance to write a new column. 

Many long-time denizens of Murray and central Salt Lake Valley still remember Ethel’s column, “Out My Window,” published in the now-defunct Murray Eagle and Green Sheet. Now, the centenarian publishes a blog by the same name. Her feisty style has not diminished over 70-plus years of writing; her recent column titled “Sex in Spaaaaace” picked up on a theme she wrote about nearly 30 years ago.

Born April 16, 1917 in Murray, she still lives less than a few miles from her childhood home. Her childhood memories are vivid. She recalls the open stretches of farmland and wild spaces that made Murray seem like a remote part of Salt Lake County. She remembers the moment in elementary school that kicked off her writing career. The teacher instructed her class to write simple one-line sentences starting with the letter A and going down the alphabet to Z. Ethel rebelled and wrote a flowing essay that connected all the sentences. Her teacher gave her assignment a bad grade, but Ethel said, “I knew I got the writing bug back then. I knew I had it.”

Her career as a journalist began with wanting to do something more fulfilling than her job handling Mountain Bell’s payroll in the 1940s, so her husband urged her to head to the local newspaper that was looking for writers. She was assigned to write wedding announcements with no formal training. 

“I cheated,” she laughed. “I copied the articles on the Salt Lake Tribune’s society page and just changed the names.” From her inglorious start, she picked up the skills to take on bigger assignments.

When Murray Eagle publisher Jim Cornwell’s sister-in-law decided to give up her weekly column, “Out My Window,” he approached Ethel about picking it up. She has had it ever since. 

“The writing came easy to me,” she said. “I remembered that experience back in the third grade and had the feel of the flow of words.” 

The popularity of her column grew, even though the paper initially attributed the column to the pseudonym of “Trudy.” Eventually, people were pressuring Cornwell to reveal who Trudy was, and after an acrimonious meeting at the local rotary club to credit the true writer, Cornwell caved and Ethel’s name graced the byline. As the spread of the Murray Eagle went beyond the boundaries of Murray, it morphed into the Green Sheet—with its distinctive green broadsheets—and her column became a front page regular.

One time while waiting at her bank, a man identified her from her picture that accompanied the column and approached her. Unsure whether she was about to endure an argument, she acknowledged that it was her. She recalls the man’s eyes welled with tears and he thanked her for writing a column that he always carried in his wallet. 

About that incident, she didn’t ask which column touched him, as it was too personal, but recalls saying to herself, “Thank you God.” 

In addition to her column, she reported hard news. One event that still haunts her was covering an execution that she volunteered to witness. “I wanted to see what happened to that man,” she said. “It was murder killing a murderer.” 

She recalls watching the prisoner being administered a lethal injection and watching the supervising physician getting alarmed when he still detected vital signs and the warden calling for a second injection to be rushed in to finish the task. She recalls being appalled at the lapse of journalistic ethics as a television reporter pressed his ear against the wall to hear what the reaction might be from the condemned man’s family sitting in the adjacent room.

After the Green Sheet folded in the early 2000s, Ethel still produced her column independently. With the help of her sons, John and Bill, she publishes her column on her blog. The wall surrounding her computer is bedecked with photos of not only family but fellow newspaper colleagues and past columns—the paper’s green hue faded with age. 

Over the years, the former president of the Utah Press Women association received local and national accolades for her newspaper work, but the most endearing recognition she recounts is when people have told her that they cut out one of her columns to save. While she could have retired with the paper’s end, she has gone on to publish numerous books elaborating on her columns or recalling stories of a bygone era that used to happen in front of her windows.

Ethel Bradford’s online blog can be found at http://www.fromoutmywindow.com/

Local Life
  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/20/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Free Estate Planning for Senior Citizens

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Utah State Bar's “Serving our Seniors" program seeks to empower senior citizens to take steps...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/20/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • FREE Women's Self Defense Class

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Free Self Defense for women! The third Saturday of every month! We have tons of fun and learn a l...


  • Free October Event DSM Cricket-wireless

    10/21/2017
    02:00PM — 05:00PM

    DeYoung Smart Mobile Cricket October Event with the Helping Paws. October 21st, 2017 2pm-5pm At 5...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/26/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/26/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/27/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/01/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • R.C.I.A.

    11/02/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    11/02/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/03/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden Adventures - Squishy Squash

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Did you know that squash are actually fruits and NOT vegetables? Learn more about squash and disc...


  • Free Anti-Bullying Class

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Gracie Barra Sandy hosts a free self defense class once a month on the first Saturday of every mo...


  • Local Authors & You - Booksigning

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Saturday, November 4 1-5 pm Are you an aspiring author hoping to be published? Do you enjoy m...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    11/05/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/08/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • R.C.I.A.

    11/09/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Champions of Magic

    11/09/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Following in the footsteps of Downton Abbey, John Oliver and James Corden, the latest British sen...


  • Murray High School's Brigadoon

    11/09/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Murray High Schools Theatre Department's Brigadoon!


  • Instruction Classes

    11/09/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


 

Online Edition
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974