This goodbye is really just another old hello
September 29, 2004
I remember being 8-years-old, and lugging a hefty typewriter from the basement two stories up and onto the kitchen table.
As dad worked outside on that fall day, and the house was gloriously empty, I began working on my first collection of short stories – and I mean short.
Each of the stories was half a page or so, with edits done by striking out whole sentences with a line of dashes.
When I was done, I fashioned the loose-leaf pages between two orange pieces of construction paper, and illustrated the front in crayon sketchings, which have since faded.
My favorite short story was an Encyclopedia Brown-like mystery about murder (of course now I’m thinking Encyclopedia Brown didn’t really write about murder).
A housekeeper’s alibi about cleaning the kitchen went south when the detective found a layer of crumbs on the kitchen table.
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I always liked that one.
As I grew up, I ditched the typewriter for stories written by hand, some of the most thrilling stories of teen angst coming during the six hour family drive to Pennsylvania to see relatives.
That’s when “The Easter Story,” was written. It was about a teenage girl’s insecurities getting crazy out-of-control, and her discovery of peace and love when she finds her hidden Easter Basket in the clothes drier at her Grandmama’s house.
That really did happen – not just in the story. Every Easter our baskets were hidden, and that Easter, “The Bunny” happened to find a really tough spot.
I still got the peanut butter eggs.
High school stories delved into amorphous questions about life, with my ever so-called “Ten Thousand Questions” being rejected by the high school literary magazine.
Even so, I’m glad to think I was doing something productive during Trigonometry class, besides sneaking food right before lunchtime from my desk, and wondering how the heck my classmates could graph math symbols representative of infinity.
High school stories tell about first jobs, boys, infatuation, summer time, and honest dialogue between friends.
And I’m not talking about the journals I kept.
My first college paper is about a girl whose crush on the “boy who lives below” takes an interesting turn when her typewriter falls from her top window and nearly lands on top of him.
Anyway, an English degree, several jobs, and many years later after that first time I lugged the typewriter up to the kitchen table as an eight-year-old, I was hired by The Record-Courier to cover cops and education.
The two years here have been the most educational of my life, professionally and personally. The issues and topics I covered provided the opportunity to put what I enjoy most to work.
Sneaking food from my desk right before lunch time.
I’ve also found that many of the imaginative plots I wrote as a kid are not as farfetched as some of the things that happen in real life.
People stealing fish from pet stores, drivers claiming not to be drunk when clearly they’ve just told deputies they were drinking, and, more recently, a man opening a DVD box at Wal-Mart and putting the remote in his pocket. Universal remotes wouldn’t work and he didn’t want to buy a whole new DVD player to get what he needed.
The Record-Courier family is truly unique, in that employees have to work together to get a paper put out.
I love it. And I will miss it.
Today is my last day at The Record-Courier. I will be covering education at the Nevada Appeal beginning Monday.
I know I’m a sucker for sappy, but I love this job. Thank you Peter Kostes for hiring me, my co-workers for putting up with me, my editors for finding space for my long copy and for guiding me toward that land of concise leads, and readers for supporting our paper, and so on.
Truly, thank you.
— Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.