So long, farewell

This post originally published at marshallnews.com.
 
With a soft, sleepy note Sydney Patterson sang the final line of “So Long, Farewell,” just before Captain von Trapp carried her off the Lyceum Theatre’s stage.

That was one of the first stories I shared with you when I began working here in summer 2011. So I think it’s only appropriate that “so long, farewell” are my final words to you.

For the past 15 months, I’ve had the pleasure of telling your stories. With each byline, I learned more about your community than I’d ever taken the time to learn about my suburban St. Louis home. Journalism is a strange business in that my day at the office revolves around your business — both good and bad. As this town mourned the Howery fire in Carrollton, I studied the police reports over my morning coffee. While you may have taken the afternoon to attend the homecoming parade or the Saline County BBQ, I took the afternoon to work it. Likewise, as you crowded into the schools for the yearly Christmas pageants, I ensured I had a front-row seat so your kids could have a spot on the front page.

Truly, I’ve only been in Marshall 15 months, but I feel as though I’ve learned more about your neighbors, laws and lifestyles than I ever knew about the place I still call “home.” Furthermore, after the initial culture shock, I found that this place and its people became home to me.

Somewhere along the way, my editor went from being Mr. Crump to “chief.” At some point, I stopped introducing myself as “The Marshall Democrat-News’new reporter” and began referring to myself as “Maggie at the paper.” Eventually, the paper upgraded my parking spot and even my desk chair. As I finished up my last shift today, our agriculture reporter passed me a Marshall T-shirt. She told me I’m not allowed to forget this place. Her gift was appreciated but unnecessary. I’ve learned so much about myself and my career while here, and I look forward to taking all of these lessons with me.

While they laughed at my agricultural illiteracy and my clumsiness, they encouraged me to shoot pictures, edit video and practice patience.

Meanwhile, I’ve taught them office chair acrobatics and Walter Williams’ Journalism Creed.

Really, I think it’s been a fair trade.

There are few places where I am more comfortable than a newsroom desk. I believe the MDN staff would readily recognize how comfortable I became in this office. Which is why, I suppose, it’s time for me to go.

I’ve accepted a reporting position at the Quincy Herald-Whig in Quincy, Ill. While I’ve enjoyed my time in Marshall, I’m excited to move closer to my suburban St. Louis home. Quincy, too, seems like a nice mix between the city-life I’ve always known and the agriculture world I’ve grown to appreciate.

So without further adieu — So long, farewell.

Actually, I lied.

Thank you Saline County seems more appropriate.

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