Retirement sometimes comes earlier than expected

Alicia Knadler
Staff Writer (retired)

  Some of you readers might already know I’ve suddenly retired after 19 years with Feather Publishing, yet many of you will probably be surprised. Sorry for the understated cliché here.

  I can’t say this is really a surprise to me, for I have struggled to meet my responsibilities at work for the past few months.

  Have you noticed how there were fewer photos from me, fewer articles? I haven’t been present at meetings lately either. It’s been a slow drain since September, when my husband was flown out by helicopter to a hospital in Reno. My stress level has been building ever since.

  It wasn’t fair to keep dragging it on like this, not to you readers or to my husband, my co-workers or myself. Something had to give — and that was me. It was time to call it quits, and my co-workers made it easy for me to just drop everything and go; they were willing and capable of taking the reins.

  It feels like I’m abandoning family, co-workers and community, but I tell myself that someone else will step in to make sure you readers are taken care of and kept informed, educated and entertained. Hopefully they will keep my co-workers laughing during times of stress, as well. We all have our moments.

  Meanwhile, I’m sure readers and my former co-workers will appreciate as much as I have those who have been so great about sending in photos and things to fill the papers with, like Richard McCutcheon’s gorgeous scenic photos.

  Breaking news is harder. I went away for a few days after my last day of work Thursday, Feb. 14. There was a terrible accident in Taylorsville, and when someone asked me later what happened, my heart just fell and flopped around. I probably knew who it was, but I didn’t want to.

  Recurring nightmares sparked by an ethics discussion in a college photography class seem to have come full circle.

  They always began with me driving along on this never-ending, twisting mountain road until suddenly there was a body sprawled across it, or maybe it was halfway out of a crashed car … the body seemed to be the only thing that ever changed.

  I’d get the sinking feeling I recognized the person, I’d fumble with the door trying to hurry and get it open, and then I’d start running on Jello legs toward the body, only to stop and turn back — I’d forgotten to grab my camera.

  I’m glad that when the test actually came, I did not grab my camera. I did spin in a circle, but I grabbed a phone instead, so the young girl who crashed her car in front of my living room window could call her dad for help.

  I’ve loved my job as chronicler for the Indian Valley community so much that I’m finding it hard to let go of the passion for it, the drive to search for information, to expose the truth, share the joys and sadness, the poignant and the pregnant, the baby booms and the ballyhoo.

  I can only hope you readers will have as much patience with a new chronicler as you have had with me over the years. Giving the person direction by sharing your interests, your concerns and what makes life in Indian Valley and Plumas County so special.

  Farewell and following seas my friends.

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