It was a Tuesday like any other. I was at work at The Lima News when my boss called me into his office.
That boss was an intimidating guy by anyoneís standards, and getting called into his office, more commonly referred to as the penalty box, was normally not a good thing. So, I took one last look around my desk at the family photo there Iíd probably be packing up to take home.
Instead of telling me to pack my bags, he told me that he and my current boss, Jim Krumel, wanted me to begin writing a column. Thanks guys, but not my cup of tea. In fact, because that Tuesday was April Foolís Day in 1997, I thought this was a joke. My boss said weíd determine that after the first few columns.
The only writing I was doing on a regular basis at that point was my Letís Reminisce weekly article. And it didnít take anyone too long to figure that while I wrote the words for that, Anna Selfridge at the Allen County Museum was the brains behind the operation.
Yet these bosses wanted me to give the column a try. I'd highlight happenings that area residents were doing. These would be stories that perhaps werenít full-blown newspaper stories but were certainly deserving of a mention in the newspaper. In my column.
My first column came out May 11 of that year. It highlighted some folks who had come to town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Lafayette-Jackson High School, and while in town, found fellow classmates from their 1935 stint at Honey Run School on Grubb Road.
I have to admit, I loved getting to write about their chance meeting. I couldnít wait to write my next column. So, the following week I wrote about another area residentís story. And the week after that, and again after that.
However, the well of story suggestions dried up before too long, and I sat one weekday afternoon staring at a blank computer screen. No story ideas. Just that blank screen staring back at me. Mocking me.
I finally wrote a story about my family. And then I held my breath, wondering what the reaction would be from the readers, and from my bosses. The Sunday that it appeared in the paper, I was sick with worry.
It was then that I learned how wonderful the readers of this newspaper were. They began writing me the nicest notes, telling me of similar things that their children had done, or the crazy things their husbands had said. I felt like we bonded.
And since that time, the readers of this column have become my marriage counselors. They have become my psychologists, my consultants, and my friends. And today as I write my final column, Iím having a very hard time leaving this group of people who have come to mean so much to me.
Iím having an equally hard time leaving my co-workers at The Lima News. For the past several decades, they have been family to me. I can honestly tell you they are the most loyal and talented group of people with whom it has been my privilege to work. They always made coming to work easy. And now leaving is not easy.
Before I go, I want to update you on the family you have read about for years. My parents are doing well and still teaching me the life lessons I need to learn.
My children are grown and both have jobs they love. What parent could ask for more? Iím so proud of the adults they have each become.
And my husband? He retired in June, which is why Iím joining him now in this venture. Weíve sold our house and weíre moving south before the cold winds blow.
Scary, right? But you know what? Iím looking forward to the adventure Iím sharing with my best friend.
And now the April Fool run ends. I want to thank you all for the great times youíve afforded me, and the many gifts of friendship youíve shown me. Itís been wonderful, and thatís no joke.