• 66°

One last column for the road

After eight and half years here at The Daily Leader, I’ve decided to call it quits.

Dennis and I have been talking about it for several months, and we decided that now is the time.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I have always loved the newspaper business, but I need to make some adjustments in my priorities.

I started work here at The Daily Leader in December 1981 as a part-time typographer.

The only work I’ve really ever known has been newspaper publishing. I did take a couple of short breaks a few times and tried my hand at other careers. But I always seemed to find my way back to newspapering.

I’ve worked in many newspaper departments throughout my career. Starting out at a small newspaper means you get to work in a lot of different areas and I’ve worked in most of them. I’ve jokingly said, “I’ve worked in every department except the pressroom.”

Back before computerized pagination, I worked in paste-up. And before there were Mac computers, I strung together codes 5 inches long to make letters a certain size and font for ads and headlines.

I’ve worked in the newsroom as both a writer and photographer, and I’ve worked in the business office and advertising. I even worked in circulation for several years, when I was in training to become a newspaper publisher with Thompson Newspapers.

Working in the newspaper business has allowed me to work and move to some interesting places.

Through my actual newspaper work, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of interesting people – some famous and some not so famous.

There have been politicians and celebrities, but there have also been a lot of club meetings, school children and just plain everyday people.

One of the first feature stories I wrote was on a woman named Millie Hudgins, if I’m remembering her name correctly. She grew day lilies. That was in the mid 1980s when I was learning the ropes of feature writing and Outdoors Editor Joe McDonald was my mentor.

I recall Joe reading and editing my stories, and making suggestions to make my writing better. He had such a flair for writing. He made a great teacher and helped me become a better writer.

Over the years, I’ve had many mentors who have helped further my career.

It was a little over eight and half years ago when former Leader Managing Editor Nanette Laster knocked on my door and asked would I be interested in going back to work – part time.

At the time I was enjoying being a stay-at-home mom. Liana was in junior high and I was doing small remodeling projects around my home.

Nanette told me to put a small resume together and drop it by the office. They needed a part-time copy editor to help out in the newsroom. I was hired back. At the time, I was thinking having a part-time job would help fund my remodeling projects.

It wasn’t long before my part-time position became a full-time position, and before I knew it, I was promoted to lifestyles editor, a position I’ve now held off and on for seven years, including a year as graphics director.

I’ve enjoyed my time back at the newspaper, especially writing this weekly and then bi-weekly column.

Again, because of this column, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people and I’ve received so many compliments and greetings from people I had never met before. I’ve made a lot of new friends.

I’m going to miss writing each week, but I have a lot of new personal projects on the horizon.

I plan on working on a few family genealogy projects.

I’m currently working with a couple of friends on the history of Pearlhaven. We’re hoping to one day put up a historical marker and maybe publish a small book about the community.

I also plan to clean out some closets and have a yard sale, following my motto of “less is more.”

I’m sure Dennis is going to enjoy me cooking more, and I might even take up ironing his work clothes. I see a lot more domesticity in my future.

While I’m sad I won’t be writing to you each week or getting up each morning going to the newspaper, I’m excited to be moving on to the next chapter of my life.

So it is with a tearful good-bye that I write for one last time … And how was your week?