Funny how some things spur a memory. It began when my wonderful hubby brought home a can of paint for our guest bathroom. He picked out the color. A very bright blue, almost royal blue.
My mind immediately went to a time when my father was alive. His bedroom was faded and needed a paint job so I stepped up to the task. He said he didn’t care what color but he was partial to blue.
A trip to the paint store and I picked out a very bright blue, almost neon blue. It was close to the same color as David picked out for our bathroom. As I painted Dad’s bedroom, I worked fast and furious as I wanted to be done when he came home one evening so he would be surprised it was finished.
He was very surprised and in Dad’s calm and even-toned voice, he asked if I couldn’t have found a brighter blue. He said it with a grin on his face and told me how much he appreciated me painting his bedroom. Even if he wasn’t ecstatic about the color, he would never be negative about it to anyone else and the room remained that color until he sold the house many, many years later.
I love the color blue as well, as does David and even though I was a little surprised he picked out such a bright blue, we have pulled it all together with some white accessories and a brightly colored shower curtain and I think it has turned into a very chic room. Makes me smile every time I walk into it anyway.
Last week was “old home week” as I took several walks down memory lane after running into people I haven’t seen in a while. One of the best surprises was running into my very first newspaper boss, Jane Armstrong Newell. She had spunk and personality plus.
We lost contact with each other and I have wondered so many times how she was doing. We have the same middle name and the same birthday only she is 27 years my senior.
Jane was a fiery redhead whose temper could match her red hair, but I was in awe of how she could go head to head with anyone and 99% of the time would come out the victor. A relentless sales person, who knew the newspaper industry up and down. I was thankful that we never butted heads and I was never the brunt of her temper.
She discouraged me from majoring in journalism as she felt students were not taught what they needed to actually survive in the real world of the newspaper business. So, I majored in Business Administration with a minor in Journalism/Communications and there have been many times I have been so thankful that I listened to Jane.
The couple of times I thought I wanted to get out of newspaper, by the grace of God, my business degree helped me land other jobs. However, God kept putting me back in newspaper, so I eventually accepted the fact, that was where I was supposed to be working.
Jane taught me the newspaper industry from the ground up — designing pages, writing a column, to advertising sales and everything in between. We labeled newspapers for mailing, we delivered to various outlets and we loaded them from the pressroom into the car.
She once told me that when I got ink in my blood I could never completely walk away from newspaper. How right she was and she said it again when she saw me last week and found out I was still in the newspaper business.
She is in her late 80’s now and though she walks with a cane, seems just as spry as ever and her mind is sharp. She told me she had to give up driving, which was something she was not very happy about at first, but has accepted because of her eyesight. I still have a wooden cane made by her father which she gave me.
There were some days before I realized I was where I was supposed to be — at a newspaper — that I did not appreciate all that she did for me and taught me. Today I am extremely grateful to her for all that she did teach me, as she was so right about the journalism degree. I hired several new graduates during my career and none of them were truly prepared for the reality of the newspaper world and I only know of one I hired, who actually stayed in newspaper.
The only one true negative is that it is not a high paying industry and if I had taken the clerk-typist job I was offered on base instead of the newspaper job, I could be retired today. But, in reality, it’s not a negative. Along the way I have met some truly creative and wonderful people. I’ve had some unique, as well as scary adventures from time to time and I get to write about what’s going on in communities which becomes a part of history. And I get to share my opinions on various subjects. What more could one person possibly want in a career?
Thank you Jane for letting part of your newspaper blood infect me and thank you for all that you taught me. I feel I was more prepared and have advanced further because of learning the business inside out.
If you haven’t thanked someone who helped you, do so today. Blessings. ©2016
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org