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Friday, Sep. 19, 2014

So long, farewell

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at 3:39 PM

With a soft, sleepy note Sydney Patterson sang the final line of "So Long, Farewell," just before Captain von Trapp carried her off the Lyceum Theatre's stage.

That was one of the first stories I shared with you when I began working here in summer 2011. So I think it's only appropriate that "so long, farewell" are my final words to you.

For the past 15 months, I've had the pleasure of telling your stories. With each byline, I learned more about your community than I'd ever taken the time to learn about my suburban St. Louis home. Journalism is a strange business in that my day at the office revolves around your business -- both good and bad. As this town mourned the Howery fire in Carrollton, I studied the police reports over my morning coffee. While you may have taken the afternoon to attend the homecoming parade or the Saline County BBQ, I took the afternoon to work it. Likewise, as you crowded into the schools for the yearly Christmas pageants, I ensured I had a front-row seat so your kids could have a spot on the front page.

Truly, I've only been in Marshall 15 months, but I feel as though I've learned more about your neighbors, laws and lifestyles than I ever knew about the place I still call "home." Furthermore, after the initial culture shock, I found that this place and its people became home to me.

Somewhere along the way, my editor went from being Mr. Crump to "chief." At some point, I stopped introducing myself as "The Marshall Democrat-News' new reporter" and began referring to myself as "Maggie at the paper." Eventually, the paper upgraded my parking spot and even my desk chair. As I finished up my last shift today, our agriculture reporter passed me a Marshall T-shirt. She told me I'm not allowed to forget this place. Her gift was appreciated but unnecessary. I've learned so much about myself and my career while here, and I look forward to taking all of these lessons with me.

While they laughed at my agricultural illiteracy and my clumsiness, they encouraged me to shoot pictures, edit video and practice patience.

Meanwhile, I've taught them office chair acrobatics and Walter Williams' Journalism Creed.

Really, I think it's been a fair trade.

There are few places where I am more comfortable than a newsroom desk. I believe the MDN staff would readily recognize how comfortable I became in this office. Which is why, I suppose, it's time for me to go.

I've accepted a reporting position at the Quincy Herald-Whig in Quincy, Ill. While I've enjoyed my time in Marshall, I'm excited to move closer to my suburban St. Louis home. Quincy, too, seems like a nice mix between the city-life I've always known and the agriculture world I've grown to appreciate.

So without further adieu -- So long, farewell.

Actually, I lied.

Thank you Saline County seems more appropriate.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Thank you, Maggie, for the fine job you did as a reporter and photographer, but also for brightening our days.

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 5:46 PM

And so the age old story repeats itself. The good ones, whether born there, or brought there do not often stay long in a small town. Small towns are wonderful launching pads. No matter how high one soars, even to where it remains but a faraway speck, the small town will occupy a favored corner, clearly viewed in the mind's eye.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 10:34 AM

Thank you Maggie for all your hard work ... and for all the laughs!!I will miss you and your red pen of pain!

-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 5:45 PM

Wow Bohdi- thanks for making the rest of us feel crappy about living here.... Bye Maggie! I enjoyed reading your work!

-- Posted by luvthoseowls on Fri, Sep 21, 2012, at 2:24 PM

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Maggie Menderski graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri in May 2011. The St. Louis native began working as a staff writer for the Democrat-News shortly after. In her Out of Ink blog, she (typically) muses about the differences between rural and suburban life.
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