Sixteen years is a long time. I don’t think I’ve realized just how long until I started cleaning out my office desk. It’s been 16 years and about nine months since I first came to work for East Penn Publishing, now called The Press weekly newspapers.
In a short time, I will step into a life of retirement — a season of my life that I hope will also last a long time. In anticipation of that final day in the office, I’ve been cleaning out my desk, one file at a time, and have come across a lot of memories.
An old Rolodex is filled with contacts for Whitehall and Coplay officials, reminding me of the many people I met and worked with when I first came to the office as the editor of the Whitehall- Coplay Press in 2000. Since then, I have also covered news for the Parkland Press, attending municipal meetings in North Whitehall and Upper Macungie townships, before taking my current position as associate editor of the Catasauqua Press.
I found a file with letters announcing Keystone Press Awards I have received for news beat reporting in North Catasauqua, for a news feature I wrote on a mass casualty event in Upper Macungie Township and for news coverage of a pedestrian fatality in Hanover Township. Underneath that folder was a special newspaper section honoring World War II veterans, for which I had written several articles and taken many photos. What a privilege it was to interview those local war heroes and tell their stories.
I had been a dairy farm wife for 25 years, raising five children before leaving the farm, returning to college and completing a degree in professional writing at Kutztown University. In Kutztown, I was first a reporter and then the editor of the Kutztown Patriot, before accepting a position at this office. My life is a testament to the belief that it’s never too late to become who you are meant to be.
Making the decision to leave a job I love has not been an easy one. The editors and staff members in the office here and the writers and photographers I have worked with are good friends. I have the greatest admiration for borough officials and community volunteers for the work they contribute to their communities, and I will miss being “in the know” about the inner workings of local governments and organizations I have covered in our weekly newspapers.
My love of community journalism, as it is presented by The Press weekly newspapers, will not fade as I leave this office. These local newspapers are truly local — always there to share your joys and sorrows, to inform you about the nuts and bolts of daily government and to showcase the accomplishments of your children and neighbors. Long after I am gone, these hometown newspapers will continue to be there to keep you informed, adding much to the quality of life for the communities they serve.
It has been my privilege to be a part of the team.