Well, I guess this is goodbye. I'm moving on — retiring after 40 and a half years at the Tribune.
I hope that wasn't too blunt or quick-to-the-point, but it's not easy knowing how to say goodbye and go away after spending a "lifetime" somewhere.
Before I try to climb too high up on any pedestal, though, let me humbly acknowledge that most of you don't even know who I am, and a large number thought I must have retired long ago.
OK, for the seven or so people who are still reading, let me just say it's been a great ride. When I was hired here on Aug. 12, 1972, the late, great editor John "Spike" Siegel ensured me that I was embarking on a job I would find "interesting and exciting almost every day" and that I "would never get rich" doing it. With that advice and $120-a-week salary, I was on my way.
I found, though, that "rich" comes in many varieties.
After most of a decade as a sports writer, and a couple of years copy reading on the city desk, I spent the decade of the 1980s as a photographer, then finished up with 22 years as an assignment editor, copy editor and page designer, and with lots of managing-editor duties. (I'm not quite sure what my title ended up to be; it's probably on a business card somewhere in the back of a desk drawer — I'll have to look it up.)
This column isn't about me, though, it's really about you. Rather than rehashing details of a small-town newspaper career, let's just visit my "top five stories" of the past four decades — a thumbnail description of the headlines that had the biggest impact on me personally and professionally.