Well, this has been a hard one to write.
Amongst the holiday fracas, I learned this journey via Patch has come to an end. And so as I sit down to write thank you notes for so many blessings, on the top is this farewell. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of your lives.
Working for the Patch has been two years of small stories that connect us. To quote Walt Whitman, "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars."
I honed my voice through Patch, over the last two years discovered I love to write (and on deadline), and have enjoyed one of the best working relationships of my life.
I feel like Dorothy saying goodbye to her fellow travelers in Oz to Mark, Matt, Jeff, ... and Adam most of all. I won't be on the same journey with you any more, though I'll still lend you a power cord if you need it. And yes, I may contribute something sometimes.
Adam McCoy, I will miss you the most, in the capacity of boss, cohort, and one who respected me as a writer. I missed you the few days off you had in 2011 and 2012 and my house was quiet without the Gmail ping of our working dialogue. When I click my heels and hit "Send," I'll no longer be on the team.
When I go out, or walk into the school or Village Hall, I won't be Patch, I'll just be JSH. My readers, I am grateful for you all, and if you're reading this, I will miss the moment when you lower your voice to a friend or even, my favorite, clap a hand over your mouth and say: "Shhh - Patch is here." (right, Sue?).
I was always writing the next story, and happiest to shed light on those everyday heroes who have given so much to Shorewood. I treasure your talented kids, the woman in the beauty department at Walgreen's who helps the blind, the cart man at Pick n Save, and the restauranteurs and business owners who weave the Shorewood tapestry. From the red door story to the Takes a Village story, what I wrote was the tip of that iceburg — I was just gettin' started.
The year 2013 will be no longer include the chronicling the big three for Patch — school district, business district, and village. No more interviews over laughs and tears, hand-wringing over painful things and sobs over tragedy, or jumping for joy when the local surfer makes the big time. No more reminding you to put on sunscreen. I might even be home in the evenings and put my kids to bed.
As Adam often said: "Dude, you're getting way too involved." True. I grew up here, I parent and taxpay and live my days here. I think this community can be better than the sum of its parts — when the parts are connected a rare and beautiful picture emerges. It has been my mission from the start to unite, inform, and bless this place.
The tragedy and the comedy are wound around my pen and keyboard, and I'm not sure where it will go from here.
To quote Dante Alighieri, “Remember tonight … for it is the beginning of always.”