Decades ago, when I was about 10 or 12, I calculated what year it would be when I reached 65, the full retirement age at that time. The year turned out to be 2013.
It seemed so far away. I couldn’t envision that year, me, or what life would be like so far into the future. But here I am, now 65 years and 1 month old, wondering how I got here so fast.
This is a farewell column of sorts, but it’s not a goodbye. I will retire from the Record-Eagle on Friday, but will continue my monthly column and also write occasional stories as a freelancer.
I have worked for the Record-Eagle for 35 years, more than half my lifetime. I started on April 13, 1978 as a reporter. I wrote stories for four years, then worked as city editor for 12, followed by a variety of other newsroom titles over the years.
My original plan in 1978 was to stay only a year. By the end of that first year, however, I had fallen in love with this area, the Big Lake, our communities and people.
Over the past weeks, many have asked what I’m most proud of during my time here. Two in-depth, public service series and the Record-Eagle’s 150th Anniversary History Project pop instantly to mind.
“Faces of Poverty,” an eight-day series published in 1990 took a look at the region’s poverty and its effects. It won many awards, including a prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Distinguished Reporting on human rights and social justice issues. Rotary Charities ordered 500 reprints and gave them to Rotary Club members to read before deciding on its grant awards that year.
The 1991 five-day series on the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed reported on the importance of regional environmental stewardship, planning and management of this valuable resource that crosses all city, village and township lines in five-county region.