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OUR CORNER: Saying goodbye doesn't come easy
Without going into the hows and whys, I tendered my resignation at The Courier-Herald Feb. 1 and my last day is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not severing my ties to the community or my relationships with the people who have been near and dear to my heart for all these years. It’s been a wonderful ride and y’all – I love to say that, picked it up when I lived down South – won’t be able to get rid of me that easy.
It was not a decision made lightly. I love sharing your stories and keeping the folks in town up on what’s happening. I firmly believe community is the key to community journalism and community newspapers. It’s about people. It’s about caring. It’s about heart and soul.
Editor Kevin Hanson says I care. Perhaps that is why it is more stressful at times to do the job. It also makes it harder to leave this job behind.
I started right after college graduation in 1987. Jean Lafromboise hired me. I missed working for Bud Olson by about a month. The big presses had been hauled out by then, but the small print shop was still here and when I wasn’t writing stories I was often helping out there.
The last time I left was 1994, when I married my honey and moved to the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area.
Oddly, when his job brought us back to this area four years later, I dropped in to say hello to my former editor Jack Darnton and in short order found myself putting together the 50-year celebration publication of the hospital. That led to more part-time publications, some ad sales and a gig doing classifieds. Bill Marcum, bless his heart, let me take my preschool-age kids to work and hired me full-time in 2001. Folks still tell stories of the kids coloring and playing with Legos during meetings and interviews.
It all equates to a while.
I’ve done some fun things. I trained with members of the British Army at Buck Creek. I played war games at Fort Lewis with soldiers from the Enumclaw National Guard Armory. I’ve seen the view from the SunTop Lookout. I’ve whitewater rafted the Green River past the Hanging Gardens down to Flaming Geyser. I woke up in the middle of the night to witness a home birth. I went mushroom picking with folks in the area. I’ve been face to face with an ostrich when that was the fad on the Plateau. I saddled up a horse and jumped into a covered wagon to mosey down the John Wayne Trail. I rode shotgun at about 80 miles an hour in a modified street car through the logging roads outside Enumclaw as part of a road rally.
It’s not been all fun and games. My first stories fresh out of college here were a death investigation and a lost hunter.
I was here for the controversial closing of Pete’s Pool, the fight to save the aquatics center, the Gay Rodeo, KMPS annual picnic, Lollapalooza, closing of Farman’s Pickle Factory and the Weyerhaeuser mill, the freezing storm and hurricane winds of the early-90s (which made January’s weather look like a picnic) and the fire that destroyed the block of downtown. I’ve gotten out of bed in the middle of the night, at least twice, for a fire at the Yella Beak.
I’ve been right there for Enumclaw High’s three state wresting titles, the EHS girls golf team’s state title and a boatload of individual state titles. And who can forget my “I’m Game” series, where at middle-age and out of shape I went out and joined many of you on the sporting field.
Also very dear to me are those of you who opened your hearts and homes. So very many of you have shared with me your deepest, most personal experiences so others could benefit or find solace. Bless you. You are true heroes.
More importantly, through all those years, I have seen how the people of this community rally and come together time and time again. I love this community and that makes this very difficult.
But, I’m not going away.
I’m a homeowner and taxpayer here. I’ll still be active at Sacred Heart Church. I will continue to sit on the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation board of directors. The last Thursday of each month, I will keep the tradition to help oversee our free Simply Soup community dinner at the senior center. I plan to continue working with the Enumclaw Schools Foundation’s kindergarten auction and I can definitely be found matside and poolside at my kids’ wrestling, swim and water polo matches, meets and games. The difference is this time I can cheer and cheer loudly.
I don’t have plans, but thank you Diane Franchini for suggesting I join the Garden Club and Chief Alan Predmore for inviting me to volunteer at Buckley’s new fire station.
I’m exploring options. I’m open to suggestions and, thank you, to the many folks in town who want to “talk” over lunch or coffee. I look forward to those discussions and the doors they may open.
Thank you, to all I have worked with in the office and on the streets. What a fabulous group of people. My greatest respect to all. You have made my job the past couple of decades easy and enjoyable.
To you, the loyal Courier-Herald readers, who have supported your hometown newspaper, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Words cannot express my gratitude. You put the community in community newspaper. It’s always been all about you.