Do you ever bump into your old self?
My family and I went camping on the Oregon coast this weekend, and on the way home, we stopped by my old newspaper office.
I was managing editor there in 2004 and 2005, and it was the hardest job I’ve ever had, not in terms of the work, but in terms of the politics. I stepped into a messy situation, and the community made it known that they didn’t want me there. (By community, I mean the people in power, who were friends with the recently fired managing editor.) Plus I had braces and looked young in a place where many go to retire.
This is the job that made me decide to quit working for community newspapers, as much as I love the work. That was six years ago, and so far I haven’t changed my mind.
Yesterday, when driving by, we saw one of my former coworkers in the window, so we parked and went inside to visit. She was thrilled to see me. The place looked the same, despite a fancy paint job in the front office. There are only four employees there now. It used to be a bustling newspaper office, with maybe 15 on staff. I used to manage four people plus freelancers.
Midway through our conversation, my former coworker said “Oh!” and reached over her desk and grabbed a fancy blue and gold plaque from 2006. It was sitting there, on top of a pile of paperwork, and it had my name on it.
Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, First Place, Best Headline Writing, Laura Stanfill, 2006.
She had been saving it, there on top of a pile on her desk, for the past six years. And somehow the faith she had that I would return to visit, someday, restored a bit of mine.