I took it as a good sign.
The paper seemed a different place then. Happier. Warmer. Lively.
Back then, Bob Smith was the Gazette's publisher, and I was his assistant. Except assistants were still called secretaries then. If Bob decided to leave the office while I was away for a minute, he wouldn't write me a note. Instead, he'd leave some random item on my desk for me to find so I could guess where he went. It was usually something easy like a golf tee or a ball marker or a menu, or even a lid that smelled like Coppertone. My favorite, though, was when he left a surgical glove and a cough drop. He'd gone for a physical. ("Turn your head and cough.")
Although I've told this story before, I'm in a reminiscing mood, so bear with me.
For the first 10 years I worked at the paper, I told only one or two people that I liked to write. I was afraid I'd be laughed at -- afraid the secretary's dream of being like the reporters might seem sadly adorable -- so I kept it a secret until a news release about a writing contest was sent to the newsroom with my name listed as one of the winners. Rosalie Earle, then managing editor, saw the release and asked me about it.
Rosalie happened to be looking for someone, preferably a new mother, to write "Smell the Coffee" on alternating weeks with former Gazette reporter/columnist Greg Stone, who had young daughters, too. I'd just returned from maternity leave after having Celeste. Rosalie gave me a shot at the column. Thirteen years have passed since then, and even though I'm leaving, I'm going to continue writing my column. I was nicely surprised when both old bosses and new said it was OK.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I first walked the halls of the paper, getting reporters to sign my cast. And it seems impossible to think of someone else sitting at my desk, enjoying my windows, filling my drawers with junk of their own.
As sad as I am to be going, I'm excited to start something new. To meet new people and hear their stories and screw up their names. (I'm lousy with names.)
It's scary to go, but I think it's time to not limit myself by having achieved a third-grader's dream.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.