I have a small tradition at the Observer. When I started at the paper, when it was just one issue old, we didn’t have a website or a proper archive system yet. So, I kept my own archives; each week adding the new edition to the top of a stack on my desk.
I continued this tradition after every issue until my stack of personal archives towered over the partitions of the cubicle. Those newspapers, spanning five years, stayed stacked on my desk until last week, when I brought them home to use as filler in my moving boxes.
As I opened each old newspaper, the pages slightly yellowed on the edges, it was like opening a time capsule. I was reminded of half a decade of happenings in Flagler County — happenings that I had the privilege of sharing with the community.
It has been a busy five years, covering festivals, fun in the classroom, School Board meetings, high school and community athletics, performing and visual arts, breaking news — and I can’t forget my cooking column.
I am thankful to all the readers who have let me into their lives through reading my stories and viewing my photographs — and those who literally let me sit in their homes interviewing them and photographing their families, on occasion crashing their special family moments.
I grew up in Flagler County, and it has been my home for the majority of my life. I have loved having the opportunity to give back to a community that gave to me as a youth.
There are still an abundance of stories to be told here, but, the time has come for me to spread my wings.
Next week, my car will be packed and this Florida girl will be moving across the country, to Colorado. Yes, I do realize that it is quite a bit colder there and that there are no beaches, but I think I will manage.
The Observer gave me a shot, straight out of college, and I am so blessed to have been able to grow as a journalist and as a person, alongside the company as it grew. (Thanks, Brian, for always pushing me!)
But this paper has been more than a job for me. The Observer is one of my families. It is a bittersweet goodbye, as I am so excited for the adventure ahead of me, but getting a little teary-eyed thinking about my departure.
So, before the waterworks flow freely; farewell, Flagler. You will be missed.