Sometimes anniversaries sort of sneak up on you.
And that can mean any kind of anniversary.
In this case, what I would consider to be a ‘milestone’ anniversary came and went and I was just too busy to notice until after the fact.
March 21 marked the 25th anniversary of my move from coast to coast, trading the green hills of summer and long months of upstate New York winter for the ‘it’s a dry heat’ summer and the ‘I hope we get rain’ winter of California’s Central Valley.
I arrived on a Sunday in 1993, stayed with my sister and her family in Fairfield (near Vallejo) and my brother-in-law assisted with my search for a car on Monday. On Tuesday, I loaded up my newly purchased car with my cat, the belongings I brought with me on the plane and headed to Oakdale. I remember stopping in at The Oakdale Leader office – on a Tuesday deadline day, of all days! – and touched base with my new bosses before officially coming in for my first day of work on Wednesday, March 24.
When I moved, it was for the job of Riverbank News editor and looking back at the first issue of my tenure here, I got to cover a lot of interesting stories. The main feature for the March 31 issue – way back when I was Marg Bilby, before marriage, a name change and kids – was the status of the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant and the hope for its future use as an industrial complex. Then owned by Norris Industries, the story dealt with the history of the plant and how it sat mostly vacant back then, a far cry from the bustling complex it is today. The Riverbank City Council was grappling with a preliminary budget, I got photos at a mobile home fire on Eleanor Avenue, two new Riverbank police officers were starting on the job and Bruce Edwards was coaching the tennis team.
By the way, Bruce Edwards is still coaching the Bruins tennis team.
Crazy to think that all those years have passed; not sure I still expected to be working here a quarter-century later but I guess there’s something to be said for longevity. We have gone from family owned to corporate owned, I have moved from being Riverbank editor to the Escalon Times editor to now overseeing all three papers, Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon. The bulk of my writing and photography is for Escalon, although I do contribute to the other two and edit the reporters’ work for all three papers. Plus now we all write and do photography for the 209 Magazine, regularly post items to our website and Facebook, always trying to expand our reach.
Realizing I had missed my anniversary, well, it didn’t bother me too much. Plus there was no ‘gold watch’ presentation (not even an anniversary card!) … maybe if and when I finally retire that will be part of the going away party. Not that I am planning retirement anytime soon; this is a fast-paced, hectic business the majority of the time and honestly, staying busy keeps me feeling young. I still really enjoy covering Friday night football, soccer games (even in the rain) and spring sports in the afternoon; plus there is always some new business to spotlight, some personal achievement to report on or some festival to cover.
Someday, I will publish a book. ‘The Adventures Of A Small Town Editor’ – I could definitely fill that one with the info that was ‘off the record’ over the years. Of course, the names would be changed to protect the guilty.
Actually, I really want to write children’s books. Will let you know when my first one is ready to hit the bookstores.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.