In the summer of 1983, I made the bold choice to transfer high schools.
I went from a three-year private school of 300 students, where I had many friends, to a public school more than twice the size where I knew, perhaps, 10 people — and only three or four of them well enough to call “friends.”
In hindsight, it all worked out. My senior year was a new and exciting adventure where I met many new people, made new friends and memories, most of which I still cherish to this day more than 30 years later.
That first day of school, though, was like nothing I had ever experienced before in the first 17 years of my life.
I grew up in a two-stoplight town, and even then those stoplights were actually the constantly blinking kind. I started kindergarten there and went through eighth grade.
Many of my friends went to the same high school as me, so there were plenty of friendly faces around when I walked into ninth grade.
My senior year, though, was different — perhaps the first major branch to grow off the tree trunk of what was becoming my world.
I looked to the left of me and saw nobody I knew. I looked to the right and saw more faces I did not recognize. In front of me was a classroom that I did not recognize. Behind me … well, I didn’t want to look back.
It was a whole new world.
I bring this up all these decades later because the one question I’m asked often these days is, “How are things going?” since the sale of my tiny locally owned newspaper to a major chain.
It’s been exactly seven days since things changed, but the only comparison that pops up is the first day of my senior year of high school, only with a unique twist.
At work, I sit at my desk with the familiar view. The computer in front of me. My desk surrounding me. The television high on the wall above me. The fourth floor deck and its door behind me off my left shoulder.
Everywhere else, though, are mostly new faces.
Best I can tell four of us survived the change.
Instead of switching high schools, it’s like my high schools have switched around me.
Everything is the same, yet so totally different.
The job is the job. Games to watch, stories to tell, images to capture. It’s what I do best and when I’m at my most comfortable.
The transition to a new way of doing things is going to be extended over a period of weeks and months, so a full and complete judgement must be held off until everybody is on the same page.
There is a new computer system to learn, as well.
Right now, it still feels like we’re in a dinghy being towed behind the S.S. Hearst. But at least we’re all headed in the same direction and we’ll arrive in our port together.
By then, faces will have names and names will have faces. I hope, by then, I won’t feel like an outsider in my home.
So for those of you looking for an answer, I’m sorry if I stammer a bit to try an find an answer.
It’s a work in progress right now and until the all the changes are completed and final, I can’t give it a fair answer.
Yesterday was good, today has a chance at being better.
And tomorrow? Well, we’ll just wait and see.