It’s never a good day when you have to say goodbye to someone you love. I don’t know all of you, but still, I’ve grown to love so many of you that today is a very hard day for me. Because, today is the day I must say goodbye to my wonderful, brilliant, supportive and caring readers at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
I learned a few weeks ago that this country’s fabulous economy — and that was sarcasm, not humor! — has finally reached the space available at the Review-Journal, and they will not be able to run my column after today. It has been almost four years since I sent a proposal to the features editor. Almost four years since I checked my email during class one day, and saw his (what I’ve learned since as characteristically terse and to-the-point) reply: “How much would you charge to run your column?” I almost fell out of my teacher chair.
I’d been writing a column for some time for a few of my local newspapers and had finally decided to take a chance and get some proposals out to papers across the country. The Review-Journal’s editor’s was my first response. I would have done it for nothing. I would have paid him to run it. I still would.
From that day, the Review-Journal slowly began building itself a house in my heart. It was my first “big” paper. It was the first to take a chance on a relative newcomer who just wanted to make people laugh, and could do it very well just by relating the events of her everyday life … still not sure whether that’s a good thing or just pathetic!
Almost immediately, folks began writing to me, sharing their thoughts, their encouragement and even their friendship. I’ve had readers offer their homes to me if I ever came to Las Vegas (never have … yet); they’ve offered their yards for me to leave my dogs in while I went sightseeing or played blackjack … not that I’d ever play blackjack; they’ve offered me names of books, dentists, mediums and publishers. These people, who have never met me, became my companions, my playmates and my confidantes. How could I not fall in love with that?
I’ve never met the editors and all the others at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, for whom I nevertheless feel a warm, deep affection and respect. I know it’s hard for them … for so many editors today … to have to make changes such as this. It’s hard on any business. (Have you ever become totally comfortable and familiar with your local drugstore, only to walk in one day and find the aspirin where the mouthwash used to be, the birthday cards in the shampoo aisle and the dog food filling the potato chip department?!) But, the rise in availability of Internet news sources, and an economy trying to slog through deepening quicksand cannot be ignored.
As I wrote here once before, I will never give up my newspaper “until they pry it from my cold, dead hands!” (Was that a quote from the NRA … or was it the old lady on “Golden Girls”?) I love the smell of a newspaper, the feel of it, the rustle of it. It’s so much easier to shove into your briefcase, your diaper bag or under your arm than a laptop; and, you cannot take a laptop to the … uh … “library,” as my father used to call it … well, not as comfortably, am I right? Newspapers have recorded our history, and I will fight to keep them around!
What if everyone in this country older than 40 could get together and take an oath of loyalty to a newspaper … maybe to all newspapers, or maybe just to their own local paper, you know, like when people “adopt a highway” in their towns, and then spend weekends cleaning up litter alongside it, or even pay to have it repaved. Couldn’t we all “adopt” a newspaper?
(Hey, wait a minute! Just throwing it out there, but in that same vein, why couldn’t we all “adopt” a columnist?! I mean, we could pitch in to pave her … or, uh, his … way to fame and fortune, or at least to a blackjack table! Ahem, just a thought.)
Meanwhile, I must say goodbye. But, I’m really glad I finally finished this website of mine — although I still haven’t quite learned how to add columns or blog on “My Daily Journal” yet, but stick with me, I’m working on it! — and I hope you’ll keep checking in every Sunday, when you would normally be reading my column. Just read it on the website! Remember: www.vickiwentz.com.
I hope you’ll remember me, visit me, write to me — and miss me as much as I’ll miss you.
Vicki Wentz’s column, which appears here on Sundays, is published in newspapers across the country. She is a high school teacher who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. Readers may contact her at email@example.com.