To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of my retirement are NOT exaggerated, but until now they have been somewhat premature.
I ran into a friend in the grocery store last night, and mentioned that I was coming from work. “I thought you had retired months ago,” she said. Well, I had to explain that I intended to be enjoying my ‘golden years’ months ago, but the search for my replacement didn’t go as I planned (more on that later).
So it is with a sense of sadness – and relief, that I write my last stories as editor of this wonderful paper. As I was trying to figure out how to say goodbye to Beach Metro readers, I kept remembering the reasons I first applied for the job.
While I did have university training in journalism (including an internship with the Washington Post, where I met my husband), I did not want to be a newspaper editor. Ever since I can remember my greatest desire was to be an archaeologist. After many years and much hard work, I was awarded a PhD in Anthropology and then I worked for more than 12 years in the field travelling to Japan, the Mississippi Valley and the Arctic. However, full-time permanent positions in archaeology are few and far between, particularly if you can’t move about because you have two small children and a husband with a good job in Toronto.
So while I looked for work in archaeology, I volunteered to be editor of the Canadian Journal of Archaeology, a couple of archaeological newsletters and served as Vice-Chair of the Toronto Historical Board. Oh, and for a time, I delivered Beach Metro News on my street.
I discovered Beach Metro (then Ward 9) when I first moved to this area, and it was like a book of instructions on how to be a Beacher. Every week I would learn about what was happening in my own neighbourhood (right down to the break-ins down the street). Most of the advertisers were local businesses which is where I found out where to shop. The paper informed me about important local issues and must-see events for my family.
As you can see I was a big fan. However in 1994, the paper began to change. There were many more stories about the ‘underside’ of the community with big, black headlines, and reviews of luxury cars by the new editor. And quite frankly, the layout of the paper was a dog’s breakfast with 15 different typefaces spread throughout the issue. I thought to myself that “even I could do a better job than that!” So when an ad appeared requesting applications for a new editor, my resume was in the office in a flash.
It was one of the turning points in my life that the staff and board of Beach Metro saw my potential and believed in me and my vision for the paper. While I have lingering regrets about not persuing my dream of being an archaeologist, I can truthfully say that I feel blessed to have held the reins at Beach Metro for all of these years. Not only have I worked with wonderful, talented staff and columnists, I have had the opportunity to meet so many fabulous people in this community. Of all the things I will miss about my job, it will be that interaction I will mourn the most.
There I go – getting maudlin.
Ok, now for the news you are waiting for – the announcement of the new editor. As I said, the search for the ‘perfect’ person was long and extensive. I did get to meet some great people, who have so much to offer. However, none of them had the right combination of newspaper experience, local knowledge and community involvement. The hiring committee was probably too picky, but we all knew the consequences of choosing the wrong person.
Then out of the blue, (well out of Smithers, B.C., to be accurate), came a blast from the past. Former Beach Metro reporter/photographer Jon Muldoon had a Hotel California experience. While he and his new wife Amanda thought that life in the near wilderness would suit them, after a year they realized that they were really urban people and missed Toronto and the Beach. When the position as editor opened up, Jon applied and convinced the hiring committee that he was indeed the ‘perfect’ person.
Jon will take the reins on Jan. 2 at which time I will shuffle off into – not the sunset but a deep, dark dirty test pit, once again delving into the past.