I sent this message to the 150 or so sources I’ve worked with since starting at The Gazette. Further proof that it’s a job that I’ll miss.
“Three and a-half years ago, I started covering Takoma Park knowing little more than the mayor’s name. And in the time since, I’ve learned a lot of things about the People’s Republic, ranging from its history to the unique people who make Takoma Park what it is. And I have to admit that Takoma Park has grown on me, which makes leaving the Sylvan Suburb a difficult proposition. But I have been given a career opportunity that I simply can’t refuse, so my last day at The Gazette will be Friday, June 2.
“To say that having Takoma Park as my beat has been a privilege would be an understatement. It’s been an honor, actually, to tell the town’s tales and the stories of its people. Residents like Pat Loveless, the fearless social activist of Maple Avenue, and Thomas Revell Sr., the Negro League Hall of Famer who lives in Hampshire Towers. There have been people like Allison Hodge and Desiree Feltus, the two women at Victory Tower who faced down Hurricane Katrina and lived to talk about it, and Miss Annie Cotton, who had a smile for everyone who crossed her path, no matter who they were.
“It hasn’t always been an easy job: How many times have I’ve stared bleary-eyed at the clock, wondering what my partner and my dog were doing at home on a Monday night while I’m in the City Council Chamber? And then there’s the hospital, the Community Center, the colleges, bonds and budgets and tax duplication and elections and everything else that comes with a job in a small town full of people with opinions (none of whom, I should add, would ever hesitate to speak their minds).
“But I’ve also seen incredible festivals, and community events, and storytellers and rain gardens and Morris Men. And I’ve seen people pull together to achieve a common cause in a way that simply doesn’t happen in many American cities. And there have been countless times that I’ve said to myself, Gosh, this is a really great place.
“So I say good-bye, but it’s not for good. You’ll still see me at the festivals and the farmers market and the house tours. Only now, I won’t have a notebook in my hand, and thing first thing out of my mouth won’t be, Hey, do you have just a minute to talk to me?
“It has truly been an honor.”