CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I was a wild-haired and wild-eyed third-grader, my left arm in a cast from fingers to armpit, when my parents took me to an open house the newspaper was hosting.
Ever after that day, I don't recall wanting to work anywhere else.
When other girls my age were playing with dolls, I was trying to teach myself how to touch-type on a Remington manual that likely weighed more than me. I wrote my own newspapers, seldom burdened with facts (or subscribers).
I can't even recall what exactly it was about the newspaper that so thoroughly won me over the day of that open house. I wish I could.
But maybe it's a good thing I can't.
Since this coming Thursday will be my last day at Charleston Newspapers.
The past two weeks have been difficult and awkward. After more than 22 years, the newspaper building feels like home. I've never spent this many years anywhere. Not in the house I grew up in. Not in any other place that I've lived. It's been my one constant.
Which explains the vast amount of junk that's collected in my office.
The late, great Gazette humor columnist Terry Marchal was one of the first people I met when I came to the paper. He was sliding down the hallway in his socks, his gray-white hair crazily tousled, singing "Suddenly Seymour" from "Little Shop of Horrors."