The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

February 3, 2012

Leaving town, not on a rail

WASHINGTON — It’s hard saying good-bye. This is the third good-bye message I’ve written in the past six weeks. First, was a Christmas letter to let my friends know I was retiring and moving back to Fort Wayne. Then, a message in my church’s newsletter to let my church family know I was moving back to be near my biological family. And now, I’m saying good-bye to you faithful readers. (I’ve always wanted to write “faithful readers,” as that’s what Stephen King always writes when trying to explain his warped thinking to those of us who not only buy his books, but enjoy being scared to death.)

The time has come (a little sooner than I expected) to journey back up north and return to the city of my birth. My mother fell in October and can no longer live alone. As I am the only one of her six children who also lives alone, it was obvious to everyone that I should move back.

I’ll be closer to my two daughters’ families and my four grandchildren. I’ll be able to go to their sporting events and school functions. I’ll be able to babysit whenever called upon. I’ll be an always-ready taxi service. Wait a minute. Suddenly, this isn’t sounding so good.

But taking care of grandchildren is something I’m looking forward to.

What I’m not looking forward to is combining two households. My mother has a nice house, laid out very well for her to get around. It is also full of her furniture and dishware and pictures and towels and sheets and everything else she’s collected over the past 12 years she’s lived there. I also have a house full of furniture and dishware and pictures and towels and sheets. I think deciding which couch stays and which chair goes may get a little dicey, but I’m sure we’ll work it out.

I have lived on Knollwood Drive in Washington for more years than I’ve ever lived anywhere. We moved here 21 1/2 years ago. There was my husband, Ron, my daughter, Jennifer, 15, my son, Ryan, 12, and our faithful dog, Sam. We left behind a daughter, Heather, who had just graduated from high school and was attending IPFW.

Now there’s just me.

The kids grew up, went off to college and now make their lives away from Washington. Heather’s a nurse and lives in Auburn, Jennifer’s a teacher and lives in Garrett, and Ryan works for FedEx and lives in Denver. I tried to talk them all into moving back here, but Ryan’s the only one who really considers Washington home. I guess Jennifer was too old when we moved here. She attends the class of ‘94 reunions in Garrett. Ron died 11 years ago and I’ve missed him every day since.

I’ll miss a lot about Washington. The neighbors on Knollwood Drive and Wedeking Lane. The nice people you don’t know, but who always say “hi” at the grocery store or the pharmacy or the beauty parlor, or a sporting event. The way people are always willing to help each other out. The generosity of a small town.

I’ll miss the police and sheriff’s deputies. (Not in a professional sense, in a “aren’t they helpful to this reporter” sense.) Going to meetings has always been a part of the job I enjoyed and I’ll miss the many board members I’ve met through the years. While some haven’t been all that great at the job, most are really caring people who give up their time and put themselves out there to do the best they can.

I’ll miss the North Daviess School Board that begins every meeting with a prayer, despite what the ACLU might think. I covered the meetings back when they were going to close the elementaries and build one big school. They really needed prayer to get through some of those meetings. But the people of the communities came together and built a fine new school for their children. There have been other times when boards have disagreed about things and, to be honest with you, those make the most read stories, but there have also been many more times when the community was put first and the boards did what was best for them.

I’ve been at this newspaper thing for the past 26 years, beginning with a part-time job at a twice-weekly paper in Garrett. You learn a lot on a small paper where you end up going to the interviews, writing the stories, taking the pictures, editing the story and several times even pasting up and delivering papers.

After moving to Washington, Martin Mumaw hired me to cover the basketball sectional for the Tri-County News. That led to a part-time job with the weekly paper, that led to a fulltime job at which I really learned a lot. Then it was off to the Vincennes Sun-Commercial where I worked from home and did all the Daviess County news. And finally, more than 12 years ago, I found a home here at the Times Herald. I can’t say enough about the great people I’ve worked with and met through the local newspaper. From the editor, Melody Brunson, to the sales staff, to the bookkeepers, to the composing and editorial staff, it’s been a great experience. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m sorry I’ll be leaving town as I’d also like to share retirement with them. I’ll be missing my roommates: Kelly Overton, Todd (or T. Daniel) Lancaster, Barry Baumert, Joyce Bullington, Nate Smith, Andrea McCann and Gregg Sims.

The sports editor has been asking me when I’m moving back to Fort Wayne ever since my husband died. I can tell him today — “Todd, I’m moving back now!”

P.S. If you’re interested in a good house at a great location, keep watching the classifieds and my house should be in there in the next month or two. Yes, it will take me that long to get everything out. If it wasn’t for my children nagging me about it, I probably could be on “Hoarders.”

•••

Pat will miss her many friends in Washington and Daviess County. She will especially miss all the wonderful people at Westminster Presbyterian Church. To reach her in her new life email patsy lou48@hotmail.com.

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