On September 29, 1987, I started my first real job. Naturally, there had been plenty of other jobs but they were part time or seasonal and I didn't need them to actually support myself. They were just there to pay for my 1980s vices (let's not discuss those here, ahem).
I'm honestly not really sure how I got the job. Even then, I didn't remember sending them a resume but a phone call and an interview later, I was working for the local newspaper.
Maybe it's the rain today that's making me so nostalgic or maybe it was facebook reminding me of the owner's birthday. Or maybe it's because it's Thursday and I was online reading the columnists like I do every week but it's been on my mind all day. In a good way. Sometimes that type of nostalgia can be very melancholy but not this time.
I've been reminded of the man who gave me the world's best cheesecake recipe. And the woman who gave me the pattern for my favorite baby sweater. I've looked around my office today and realized how different it is and yet, somehow, work is the same.
I remember so clearly the columnist for the paper who stood at my desk and recited the last two pages of The Great Gatsby to me from memory. When he was dying, I wrote him a note to tell him how special that was to me. I don't know if he ever got it but it instilled in me a lifelong commitment to eulogizing the people that I love while they're still alive to hear it.
And I still tell the story of the day that one of the reporters--after a particularly nasty fight over something--wrote Fuck You in foot high red letters on a length of green bar paper and left it draped over their adversaries desk. (It's funny to me that I felt I needed to add a link to green bar paper because a lot of people probably don't remember it at all. It seemed so space aged at the time.)
I have habits that I can track back directly to that job. Our advertising manager used to say "It's clean up time" at 4:45 every day. I still do that. Even if I'm not going home until 6:00 or 7:00 I still tidy my desk at 4:45.
I fold 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper in half. Almost compulsively. Because that's what we did at the paper. It was folded to be 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 to go into the copy baskets. All of my knitting patterns--folded in half. Directions to anywhere--folded in half. I probably have 20 pieces of paper folded in half in my purse right now.
I clearly distinguish between house and home. There's a difference in the meaning of those two words. I never say the bride or the baby was beautiful--all brides and babies are beautiful.
I laughed when I read one of the columns in today's edition. It was about Twitter. This from a woman who, once we started using computers, refused to have one in the front office because she didn't like the way it looked. In 1987, birds tweeted. Not people. I still have the little bookmark that she gave me for a Christmas present one year. I love to read and it was a perfect gift for me. It's a little gilded monkey holding a bell. Is it a reminder of a simpler time? I don't know. I just know that it makes me happy.