Monday, November 21, 2011

Almost Missed this Anniversary

I must be having fun, because time sure is flying.

It occurred to me last week that a big anniversary passed by in September and I missed it. No, not Tori and my anniversary. I am proud to say that in our 22 years of marriage I have never missed that celebration. Sept. 5 – my very best day ever..

No, this is even older anniversary. Forty years ago last September I became a reporter. I walked into the newspaper classroom at Miraleste High School in September 1971 and I've been a journalist ever since.

I'm not going to waste anyone's time – least of all mine – reminiscing about the news business. I've met some really interesting and cool people and some jerks – and sometimes they were the same person. And sometimes they were my co-workers. I covered some really interesting stories and wrote so many obits and four-graf traffic accident I couldn't even begin to count. It's been a living – barely. More importantly, it's been a life.

When I started I wrote on a typewriter, with a glue pot on my desk. You glued all the sheets together, top to bottom, to make one long take they couldn't get mixed up in composing. There were actual spikes on the editors' desks. Back in the day, when you spiked story, you SPIKED it! The editor sent the copy down to composing via a pneumatic tube.

Now I work for an online news service, The V.I. Source. I tell people we're the paper with no paper. Hell, we don't even have an office. We're spread over three islands and converse almost entirely by e-mail.

There's no big conclusion here – no epiphany or wise words. You want wise words? You came to the wrong place! I just happened to think about that the other day and thought it was worth mentioning. 40 years is a long time to do anything. And I learned a lot about writing. Had to. I know my way around a sentence, and that's a fact. Sitting down at the keyboard – whether a 1920s era Underwood or this MacBook – is not a daunting proposition.

Anyway, I thought that was worth mention.

• It's also the 40th anniversary of when I met John and Andy, my two old high school friends. We were inseparable – and undoubtedly really obnoxious – during high school and I'm still in touch with them. Andy is in Seattle and John in Ojai and we've all had interesting lives full of things we never could have imagined. What's the saying? Life is what happens while you're making other plans. They're still two of the best friends I have. Happy anniversary guys! Oh, and I saw a T-shirt Saturday that perfectly expressed us. It said, "The Older I Get, the Better I Was."

Also, and this is less than meaningless so feel free to stop reading, I attended three high schools from 1969 to 1973, and within a decade of my graduating, not one of them was still a high school. Father Ryan is still around, but they moved it to fancy new digs on the other side of Nashville. I can't imagine the old Gothic building near downtown is even still standing. We moved to California and I went to Fermin Lasuen, but a year and a half later it closed. It's now a retirement home for seniors. Oddly, so is the hospital I was born in. And Miraleste is still a school, but because of population shifts it's now a middle school. Most people go to one high school for four years and can still go back and relive the glory days. I went to three, and they're all gone.

On the other hand, there's my friend Mark, who went to high school in Seattle. About a decade after he graduated he went back to visit the old stomping grounds and found a chain link fence and a big hole where the school used to be.

Okay, enough reminiscing. Time to get back to work!

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