When I started as editor of the Sun and Country Messenger I thought I might stay until I was very old.
The idea is still appealing to me. Imagine all the local lore and history I’d have collected by the time I was 80, after doing the job for almost 50 years. I’d rival the expertise of my dad’s cousin, Myron Lindgren, renowned in Scandia for his encyclopedic knowledge of people, places, dates and relations.
But things change, and with them our visions of the future. The biggest change for me, as you’ve probably guessed, has been having a child.
I’ve never questioned the notion that if I had children I would continue to work, so after Strummer was born I took on the challenge of balancing motherhood and a demanding job.
Although I remember telling someone that tending to work and an infant wasn’t quite as difficult as I’d imagined it would be, it was certainly a challenge. For the first several months I was mostly interested in proving to myself that I could do it.
After awhile I realized not only could it be done, I was doing it. True, each day felt like an improvisation, but somehow we made it through. The days added up to weeks, then months and years. Yes, it could be done. (And thanks to my husband’s dedication in the kitchen, we’ve even managed to eat more than frozen pizza, ramen, and mac and cheese.)
Then I started to ask a different question: Should it be done?
I gave that a lot of thought. I weighed my desire for things like a consistent evening routine against the most meaningful parts of the job: meeting people in the community, hearing about their dreams and reflections on life, and helping to tell their stories.
For someone with deep roots in the area, this could never have been “just a job.” This is home. This is my community. We are all part of the history of this place.
I also considered what might be best for the paper and the community. Given the new limits on my time, would it be better for someone else to take the helm? Certainly, I am not the only one who can do this work.
I was considering all these questions when a part-time position became available as an assistant clerk in Marine on St. Croix. It seemed like it would be a good fit. I have an affinity for Marine. As a “kid about town” on an every other weekend basis I ate many a cinnamon roll at the old Voyageur Cafe, drank orange pop at the Brookside before I was old enough for the cocktails, and my summers were sprinkled with trips to the Village Scoop. Weekends on the St. Croix were especially formative. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was offered the position last week and accepted. I decided to let readers know as soon as I could.
My last day at the paper will be September 23, so don’t get too excited. You have two more weeks of me before my final goodbye.
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