Bidding a fond farewell
It’s time to say goodbye and thanks for the memories.
A few months short of three years working at The Ledger ends Monday for me.
I love writing for newspapers and love Fairfield, but my journey now is west.
As a native of a San Diego suburb, El Cajon, it has been a mixture of pleasure and discomfort to live in Iowa and western Illinois for 22 years.
Thirty-some years ago I left Monterey, California, after marrying a Keokuk, Iowa, native I met when we both lived in San Francisco.
As a new army wife, we lived in Killeen, Texas, next to Fort Hood. I missed the ocean, but was in love and excited to see any parts of the country east of Oakland, California.
My army husband’s orders had us move to communities near Fort Devens, Massachusetts (talk about east!); Fort Huachuca, Arizona, with its high desert living; Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; Fort Rucker, Alabama, in the town of Enterprise, (home of the boll weevil statue); and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, near Nashville, Tennessee, and Land Between the Lakes.
We moved to Iowa in 1992 for my then-husband to attend school when he left the army. After five years near Davenport, we both took jobs in Keokuk, and lived across the Mississippi River, first out in the country in Sutter, then in Warsaw, Illinois, where our son and daughter were in high school.
Each place holds special memories of people, good times and bad times. Each place has supported me and helped me learn.
A not-sought divorce brought me to Fairfield and graduate school in January 2010. Within eight months, I moved to Centerville to teach in Seymour, Iowa. I returned to Fairfield in late summer 2011.
Jeff Wilson hired me and I was introduced to The Ledger family. It has changed over the past 33 months, creating a new working family and friends. I have no complaints about this job; it just keeps getting better.
I have enjoyed covering meetings as I grew to know the people. I am fond of those on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfield school board and school district administrators. I was sad to see Art Sathoff leave. I laugh – in a joyous way - thinking about Dick Reed riding his Harley to Sturgis or when he talked about driving a Volkswagen van in San Diego in the 70s.
I have learned from the people who show up at the meetings and discuss their views.
I really like hearing and writing the stories about some of our shopkeepers, business leaders and retired folks.
I still miss the ocean.
I have come to really hate the humidity. Why do we sweat inside air-conditioned homes while drinking coffee and getting ready for work on summer mornings? I don’t think it’s only me . . .
I do not relish scraping ice and snow from my car and only going outside to go to work and back.
I am returning to the Pacific Ocean coast, my favorite place in the world. I’ll live in a state new to me, Oregon, with family nearby.
It won’t be as sunny and warm as Iowa, but it won’t be humid or sub-zero, either. It probably won’t have four seasons expressed so brilliantly. I may miss the iced trees in sunlight, the delight of a tulip popping up in April. I know I’ll miss the autumn colors, it’s my favorite time of year.
However, it’s really the people who make a place home. And I am grateful for this community that celebrates farmers and artists, this community that dances and works hard.
I am very grateful for the support shown to me by our editor Andy Hallman, and the community knowledge, the news savvy and news style shared by the stalwart of our newsroom, Vicki Tillis. I am glad to work with our sports editor Allyus Fritz, who is a whole grade-school younger than my own kids, so I get a different generation’s view.
It’s been fun to work with Jodi and Beth in our production/graphic arts department; Wyatt in production; Janice in circulation; and Karen, Leanne and Sherry in advertising.
Melanie, our office manager, has been funny, patient and kind with this-math challenged writer about mileage, counting column inches and sometimes what day of the week is it?! Her daughter Skylar has brightened our days with delicious treats.
Two summers in a row, Fairfield High School teacher Staci Wilson Wright has joined the newsroom, keeping us in stiches and writing what she knows the audiences want. It’s only her own stitches keeping her out of long stints of sitting at a computer with us this summer.
I am grateful for the expertise and friendliness of Charlie, our pressman and Steve, who travels between our newspapers to lend patient, technical support.
Amy Sparby, our publisher, has been kind and approachable. She helped out this reporter and gave rides for a few days when a car battery died during our Siberian winter.
I wish to be so lucky in my next adventure.
Thank you Fairfield — even if Oprah; the Smithsonian Magazine; Jim Carrey; Gov. Terry Branstad (1990: “one of the state’s economic superstars”); and . . .
• Mother Earth Magazine (2006: “12 Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of”) • Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (designated Fairfield as one of the Iowa Great Places)
• National Center for Small Communities (2003: elected Fairfield as a recipient of The Grassroots Rural Entrepreneurship Award; Fairfield “has become recognized as one the nation’s most entrepreneurial small towns”)
• Community Vitality Center’s Entrepreneurial Community of the Year.
• Home of the first performing arts theater named for American composer Stephen Sondheim.
• One of 21 locations to receive the state Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award.
— hadn’t said it, I think Fairfield is a pretty great place to live, work and be.