From the time we are born until we die, our life is a series of milestones.
We learn to walk, then talk. We go to school for the first time. We graduate, sometimes several times. We have that first job and often start a career that spans many years, sometimes get married, have children, grandchildren, etc., then comes the day that we make a major career change. We retire.
I have reached that point in my life, and this holiday season, I want to celebrate that change. I am looking forward to a very active retirement.
As I reach the end of 42 years of full-time employment, 36 of which have been with two newspapers, the Cordele Dispatch and the News Observer in Vienna, I have somewhat mixed emotions.
I will miss seeing many people on a regular basis, and I want to use this space to express a lot of “thank yous.”
Thank you to the people of Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox counties who have made the news and to those who have read the news. I believe everyone should see his or her name in print before his or her obituary is written.
I have had the pleasure of writing about a lot of people during the past 36 years. Thank you to everyone for sharing your lives with me and with thousands of readers.
I have covered numerous meetings and special events and tried to report on them as accurately and objectively as possible. When I used the editorial page to express my opinion or that of the newspaper about issues, you may or may not have agreed with me, and that’s fine. That’s what the editorial page is all about.
Not only does the newspaper have a right to express its opinon, but it also gives readers a chance to be heard, and I have printed many letters whose writers I did not agree with.
Thank you to those who questioned me or disagreed with me. You made me think, and you also helped me better cope with criticism.
I am particularly indebted to three men in the newspaper industry who gave me a chance to prove myself. First there was Ralph Drinnon who as editor of the Cordele Dispatch in 1977 interviewed a young English teacher and said he’d rather have an English major than a journalism major in the newsroom.
For the first time I really enjoyed going to work. I joined Drinnon, Mac McLemore, Harvey Simpson and Miss Frances Lasseter in the editorial department, and I learned more about newspaper writing and photography in two years than I believe I would have learned in four years of journalism school.
Seven years later in 1984, I had been serving as editor of the News Observer when Robert Tribble bought the paper. He offered me the chance to manage the operation and remain in the editor’s position. For the next 22 years, I was involved in all aspects of producing a newspaper from the financial end to selling advertising to getting the paper delivered to subscribers.
Mr. Tribble already owned numerous newspapers, and I was the first woman he made a general manager. Before I left the News Observer in 2006 to come back to Cordele, women general managers outnumbered the men in the Trib organization, and I always felt that had he not been pleased with my performance, he would not have hired so many women managers.
Finally, after I had been back in Cordele about five months, Jeff Masters gave me the opportunity to become publisher of the Dispatch.
I had never had more than two people working for me in the past, and I was a little uncomfortable with a larger staff and the other responsibilities that came with being in charge of a building and staff, but I muddled through, always with a lot of encouragement from Jeff.
I consider Mr. Drinnon, Mr. Tribble and Jeff my primary mentors, and I appreciate everything they did for me.
I also appreciate all the people with whom I have worked through the years. They have put up with my quirks and not complained, at least not very loud. I wish the present staff at the Dispatch the best in the new year.
They have a lot going on with bi-monthly magazines, special sections throughout the year, twice weekly newspapers and an increased presence on the web, Facebook and other mobile platforms. I look forward to seeing the progress under publisher, Tom Overton.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am especially thankful to God for allowing me to have such a fulfilling life and that I continue to enjoy good health. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!