Past / Present

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.Β 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.

Who knew?

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.

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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30 Responses to Past / Present

  1. Wow, what a great story.

    (Me, I’d have called you and told you, rather than having faith you’d stop by eventually, but that’s just me.)

  2. Laura … it sounds like a bit of “what goes around, comes around.” You were fated to return like a criminal to the scene of the crime πŸ™‚ As for small time, community work … I worked as the director of a small children’s agency in Manhattan for over 18 years and grass roots politics nearly destroyed my belief in the system. It is also why I will never join or be involved in any Board of Directors … not for a small or large group … never do you hear me? Congrats on finally getting your just reward πŸ™‚

  3. susielindau says:

    What a nice surprise! Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations!! That’s a wonderful surprise!! πŸ™‚

  5. Emma says:

    Aw that’s a lovely surprise.

  6. Duncan Ellis says:

    That’s a lovely story! And congratulations on your award.

    I’ve had documents return to haunt me years after I wrote them. I worked for a software house which was talking to a client about a telecomms system. Lo and behold, they were trying to figure out how to replicate work I had done for a previous employer, and there was my name on the front cover of the spec to prove it. Quite a blast from the past, that was.

  7. beatbox32 says:

    That’s an amazing story. Glad to hear she kept it for you.

  8. Oh, that’s nice. To think she kept it all that time is just lovely. πŸ™‚

    • Lovely is the perfect word, Ileandra. I always have such a sour feeling when I think about that time in my life. This did a lot to restore my memories of the good things that happened there.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    I always enjoy hearing examples of good things happening, often when we least expect it. There’s so much negativity in today’s world, we need to grab hold of the good when we find it.

    • That’s so true–and the main reason I decided to write a post about yesterday’s event. It balances out the hydrangea stealing post, right?

      As I said in another comment, this experience has gone a long way to helping me let go of that job. Six years later I’m still feeling burned, and then this moment, totally unexpected, was a gift. So was showing my 5-year-old my old desk and explaining, when she asked “Did everyone get one of these awards?” that I was the only winner that year (for my circulation category, that is). I think she was impressed, and it reinforces that I used to have a professional career and will again someday.

  10. Julia says:

    What a wonderful healing story! I love it when the universe opens up and helps shift the balance on something that’s been out of balance for a long time.

  11. Emma Burcart says:

    That is a great story! Congratulations on your award. I do think that sometimes it’s nice to get back to the parts of ourselves we liked in the past. Sometimes we have to go all the way around to come back to it. I’m so glad you stopped to talk!

  12. Better late than never… amazing and well deserved!

  13. 4amWriter says:

    Oh, yes, that’s fate if I ever heard it. What a nice treat for you. I’m sure seeing that honor helps remind you that even though the work was hard, it was worth it. πŸ™‚

  14. Lynne Ayers says:

    What a nice unexpected perk-me-up. Congrats.

  15. What a great story, Laura!

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