You told me soPublished 7:49pm Thursday, July 28, 2011
You told me so.
When I started this job 25 months ago, I had numerous people tell me that I would be gone in a few years. I disagreed and said I was tired of moving and ready to settle down.
Those things are still true, but that doesn’t change the fact that today is my last day of work.
I have a good excuse! It’s much better than any of the excuses you’ve heard from any of the previous names you’ve seen come and go from the pages of The Outlook and The Record.
I’m marrying my long-time boyfriend next month!
We debated if we wanted to live in Alexander City or Birmingham. It was a really tough decision, but the latter won out.
He has family in Homewood, including his sister’s quadruplets. We’re angling to be the favorite aunt and uncle, and we’re thinking that will be a lot easier if we live in town.
We also have a ton of friends who live in the area. We also felt it would be easier for me to get a job in Birmingham, than for him to look for a job in this area. (I’ll be working for one of our sister publications in Shelby County.)
I made the decision a couple of months ago, but of course I didn’t bother to do any packing or moving until the past two weeks.
My boyfriend and J.D. Cowart, the Outlook’s sports editor, moved most of my furniture last weekend while I was at the beach for my bachelorette party. (Don’t ask me how I lucked out there.)
But I had still had a lot of packing to do this week, so that’s what I did most nights when I got home from work.
On Tuesday night, I was determined to get a lot done. I opened a bottle of wine – with a screw, a screwdriver and a hammer because I had already moved my wine opener – poured myself a glass and started packing.
It only lasted about 20 minutes before I was sidetracked by old copies of Lake that I was supposed to be boxing up.
I thumbed through my old stories, many of which appeared in whole or in part in our newspapers.
August 2009 was the first issue I contributed to and it included some of my favorite stories. There was the feature on Red Hill Rendition, a collection of musicians that meets in an old Elmore County schoolhouse for performances.
That issue also included my story about AquaPalooza 2009. That was a very hot and chaotic – but very fun – initiation to the newsroom.
There have been countless other stories I’ve loved over the years. There was one, in particular, that sticks out both because of the difficulty I had in securing an interview and the fascinating subject matter.
Salvacion Muyco McWhorter is a native Filipino who served as a nurse during World War II and was later captured by the Japanese. She escaped and eventually made her way to the U.S., where she married Alexander City resident J.V. McWhorter, a Navy veteran who died in 1991.
We had heard of Salvacion’s story before, but several reporters had not been able to reach her. It took me weeks of calling McWhorter’s phone and people I thought knew her before I decided to write her a letter and stick it in her mailbox. It worked like a charm.
I heard from her on Friday morning and scheduled an interview for that afternoon. We talked for close to three hours and I came back and wrote the story that night. It was worth it.
Of course, the biggest story I covered and hopefully ever will cover was the EF-4 tornado that ripped through the Lake Martin area in April.
It was a bittersweet experience. It was terrible to see the widespread damage and to report on the local deaths, especially Katherine Massa of Dadeville, but it was heartwarming to see the community’s response.
After about two hours of flipping through magazines and newspapers and deciding which ones I wanted to keep, I got back to work on packing.
But I was a little sad about the stories I’m going to miss out on and the people I’m going to miss from the Lake Martin area.
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who helped me over the last two years.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my way back to Lake Martin in the future. Publisher Kenneth Boone has said he’s betting on it.
I wouldn’t mind hearing “I told you so” again.
Katie Cole is managing editor of The Outlook.