On March 3, 1993, Mike Taborski hired me to be a part-time employee for the Feather River Bulletin. Now, 19 years later, he has hired me to be a part-time employee for the Portola Reporter. It’s good to be home.
Though I must admit that yesterday I was having second thoughts as I eyed the white expanse that was my driveway. About midway through shoveling the accumulated snow, my husband (who was at our home in Redding) called to say that it had been windy and he was thinking about skimming the leaves from the pool. Hmmm … leaves vs. snow … I must admit to having a brief moment of “What was I thinking?”
What I have been thinking since I moved to Redding five years ago is that I missed Plumas County — a lot. Though I made frequent return visits, it wasn’t the same. I missed the obvious things such as my friends, my work and my home, but I also missed the challenges of rural life — surviving power outages, hauling wood, and, yes, even shoveling snow.
Most recently I was given an even greater incentive to return — my youngest daughter (who couldn’t wait to move away after she graduated from high school) has decided, with her husband, to make Quincy their home. They purchased a house and installed the proverbial, but in this case literal, white picket fence. As a bonus, it just happens to be walking distance from my house!
For those of you who remember my last tenure at the newspaper, you may recall that I had a penchant for writing about my daughters, or, as my husband likes to refer to them: Tier One. During my years at Feather Publishing, when I went from part-time reporter to managing editor, they went from grade school to college, learning how to drive, surviving the teen years and navigating other life lessons along the way. Now they are adults. Carly is a teacher at Quincy High School and Kristin is just a few months away from obtaining her doctorate in psychology. A lot has changed.
But a lot hasn’t. During my last stint at Feather Publishing, covering the school board was part of my regular beat and it was rare that there wasn’t a divisive issue — deunification, budget cuts, underground tank removal, budget cuts, declining enrollment, budget cuts, school closures, budget cuts. Now, I’m back just one day, and what am I writing about? You guessed it.
When I first moved to Redding, I worked for its daily newspaper — the Record Searchlight. Initially, I was responsible for producing a new publication called Tehama Today, which was a Sunday supplement focusing on the city of Red Bluff. Many articles focused on its high school, which was the heart of that small community. When I became an editor and moved into the Redding office, I was impressed by the coverage devoted to the high schools. Even in that community of 80,000, students and alumni eagerly anticipated cross-town rivalry matches, with many column inches devoted to the subject. School issues frequently hit the front page.
After I left the Record Searchlight, I worked for former Assemblyman Rick Keene when he was running for a state senate seat. Education was one of his five core issues and he advocated strongly for vocational classes and charter schools. Those topics always resonated with members of the public, whether they had school-age children or not.
When we moved to Graeagle in 1987, schools and health care were two major factors in making our decision. When it came to the local schools, what impressed us most was the relationship between the teachers and their students. There wasn’t the anonymity associated with schools in larger cities. We would know the teachers in a way that extended beyond the classroom. We would all be part of the same community.
That desire to be part of a community is what drew me back. For a while I will be dividing my time between Plumas and Shasta counties, but eventually I will be able to put away the suitcase. It’s good to be home.