Joni Hirsch Blackman grew up in Glenview, IL, where nearly every school she ever attended has now closed, including her high school, where “The Breakfast Club” was filmed. She doesn’t believe that’s a reflection on her personally.

Thankfully, the University of Arizona still exists. Journalism was the only profession that ever interested this former high school yearbook editor and, after four years at the great J-school there, Blackman graduated from the U of A cum laude and has continually worked in journalism ever since. She is married and has raised a family of three (plus, over the years, four dogs.)

Joni has worked as a reporter at The Denver Post, interviewed celebrities from Bill Gates to Gregory Peck to John Elway and Tara Lipinski for People magazine, freelanced for several national magazines, and successfully completed two years as PTA president of her favorite middle school. For the past decade or so she has concentrated on her newspaper columns, practicing Pilates, obsessively watching “Gilmore Girls” and trying to set a world record for attending volleyball matches.

Most recently, she wrote two books: “Downtown Naperville,” a pictorial history of her adopted hometown for Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series and “George Clooney: A Biography,” for Greenwood Press.

When George Clooney declined to remain on the top-rated “Roseanne” as Booker, the factory boss, in spite of advice that he keep probably the best job he’d had up to that point, he said, “No, I’ll be in a cul-de-sac. I’ll be that guy, and that’s all I’ll be.”

Yes, Cul-de-sacs can be places that are difficult to escape from, but also can be great places to grow up, and a wonderful place to come home to.