There are so many ways and words you may say goodbye: Tchau, TaTa, Aloha, and many more. But I am saying goodbye to you dear readers after almost 19 years of writing this column, which I loved doing. This is not a sudden decision, but approaching birthday number 86, old age, health issues, and this past year of losing so many of my friends and relatives and having to report on their deaths has made me realize it is time to step down and seek a new joy. Times have changed so much over the past few years and the generation that recognized my tidbits of news and history has mostly passed. I think it is time for a younger point of view, not that we seniors do not still have some good advice and history to relate.
It has been an interesting journey and I have gotten many responses to my articles, some good, some very critical. When I commented on a letter to the editor where someone had criticized people who threw beach towels over their fence rails to dry, the letter writer responded by telling me I had no problem saying something nice about a so-called town troublemaker when I reported his death but I had omitted reporting on the death of a very kind town business owner. He was correct and I admitted it in the next week’s column. But then the widow of the man whose death I had reported, sent me a handwritten letter telling me, among other things, “You made me cry today because I never saw any kind remarks about my ex-husband and I thank you so much.” Then there was the time I reported on the death of a handicapped child who died so very young. Her mother took the time to send me a message about how she appreciated me remembering her daughter. And dear Bideau Abbott who wrote me a note telling me she had no news but loved my writing. And the celebratory news of new marriages and births of course brought happiness to us all. And so it went over the years with some people meeting me and asking why I had forgotten to send a birthday smile to her child and other people saying how much they enjoyed my column and it was the first thing they read in the paper.
What I have learned over these years is that words are so powerful. There is a delicate balance between the truth of your words and the way they are written or spoken. You can make something appear truthful when it is not or speak the truth without cruelty.
Newspapers have the greatest power to speak the truth with explanations, not excuses. Social media has taken over much of bringing us up-to-date news but there is nothing like reading a newspaper. I love sitting at my table with a cup of tea and the feeling of the newspaper in my hand as I spread it out so as not to miss a single item.
I will still be doing that, but it is time for me to move on to greater joys. My list includes spending more time with my children and grand-and great-grandchildren, doing more of my memoir writing, which I have already started, or perhaps just watching the birds, admiring my yard or waving to people as they walk or bike by the porch and making new friends along the way.
I have loved the town of Oak Bluffs since I moved here in 1955, and it and its people have been so good to me and my family, always “having my back.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Times has been very supportive and I have enjoyed writing this column for the past 19 years. Thank you all.
So Tchau, Ciao, TaTa, Toodles, Aloha, Adios, Hasta la Vista, and Goodbye.