As of Friday, Aug. 19, I will be retired from The Madison Press. It’s been nearly 19 years since I was at home, unemployed, with no apparent prospects.
Then the phone rang. Heather Lauer was calling from the Springfield News-Sun, where I had submitted my resume as a part of my unemployment obligation. She was calling to learn if I was still looking for work.
“Yes,” I answered.
Newly employed by the News-Sun, she was scrolling through a stack of resumes given her in an effort to help fill a newsroom slot for her former editor, Bill McCullick at this newspaper. She gave me his number.
McCullick gave me an assignment as a test: to cover an ADMHS board meeting which was being held in Yellow Springs, and write a story.
I did so.
I was hired.
Reporting for work required a 41-mile, one-way commute from my home for a job that at the time paid $8 per hour. Times being what they were, I accepted those conditions.
In those days The Madison Press was an afternoon, five-day daily, Monday through Friday publication. The job requirements also included having some pagination skills, which I had picked up in workshops while I was unemployed. My first pagination job was building the Farm page for the Friday edition.
I also covered Mechanicsburg in those days for The Telegram, a paper the Hartleys had purchased at some point in their history. I was on The Telegram until it was transferred to the Urbana Citizen.
It was most interesting to see how the village of Mechanicsburg supported the students of that district, who ventured out door-to-door to ask for support for the bond issue, which would, with Ohio School Facilities Commission dollars, build a new school. Their schools were ancient by any standard.
That bond issue passed by the largest margin of any in the state.
It’s impossible for me to encapsulate in a few hundred words my time at this newspaper. Many stories came out through my finger tips and I saw many photos through the camera’s lens.
As with many endeavors some of the above have been more interesting, more informative, more “fun” than others. I’m not following this up with a grocery list thereof.
Suffice it to say I’ve learned a lot, which makes life in general more interesting. But in conversation at my next family reunion I won’t be bringing up any details from the Madison County 208 plan.
I’ve been thinking hard about retirement since the first of June. In my conversations with numerous people about retirement, one comment stood out to me: Don’t wait too long.
The waiting is over.
Thanks to all of you who helped me in my endeavors here. I’m sure at some point hereafter my memories of you will lilt along like a butterfly on the breeze.
That’s a pleasant thought, isn’t it?
I’ll leave it at that.
Hasta la vista, baby.
Dean Shipley has been a reporter, photographer and occasional columnist for The Madison Press since November 1997. He will retire from The Press effective, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.