It was 29 years ago this very day – Jan. 2, 1994 – that a much younger, much more dark-haired and much less jaded li’l Scotty walked into the Northern Virginia Sun newsroom to begin work as managing editor.
(OK, who are we kidding – I was jaded coming out of the womb. There never was a “much less jaded” li’l Scotty out there…)
With the exception of about 30 months (and three hurricanes) spent at the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun-News in the 1990s, I’ve been here ever since, through ownership changes, office-location changes, moving from five days a week publication to two and then one, the decline of print, the rise of online, cohabitation with the Journal Newspapers, ugly divorce from the Journal Newspapers, 40% profit margins, 0% profit margins, pay raises, no pay raises, copy editors, no copy editors, ridiculously low mileage reimbursement then, ridiculously low mileage reimbursement now. You get the picture.
Why stay? Well, everybody has to be somewhere; nobody is lining up at my door to give me a better deal; my colleagues generally have been nice to work with; no particular management has been so egregious that I’ve bagged it and walked out the door (thought I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion).
And honestly, it’s entertaining having been around so long that I’ve seen it all, coverage-wise, and can amuse myself while also hopefully enlightening and entertaining audiences.
(And if they’re not entertained? I revert back to the line from “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals” by sainted Gilda Radner: “If they don’t love it, they can shove it –- frankly I don’t care.” I kid because I love …)
Will there be an anniversary celebration? There will not. I have to work off the poundage that has accumulated over the holidays before that.
FROM THE ‘IT’S A SMALL WORLD’ FILE: You learn something new every day in the news biz.
Consider this: We have coverage this week of a planned historical marker to mark the achievements of Evelyn Reid Syphax, who contributed so much, mostly but not exclusively on education issues, in Arlington and the commonwealth right up to her death in 2000.
From the wording on the planned historical marker, I divined that Mrs. Syphax had attended New York University in the early 1950s, earning a master’s degree in education.
Here’s a coo-inky-dink: My maternal grandfather, George “Sammy” Moyer, also was in the school of education at NYU in the early 1950s, attending on weekends to earn a doctorate in education.
This is something I never knew until last year’s induction ceremony for him at Phillipsburg High School in New Jersey, when my aunt brought it up during her remarks.
I do recall my mother saying that, as a young child, she got schlepped from Jersey to NYC each weekend while he was doing his studies, but I didn’t know it was for a doctorate as he never paraded around calling himself “Dr. Moyer,” which would have been appropriate were he a cardiologist or other medical professional but seems gauche otherwise, if you get my drift. And apparently those weekend trips to the city did not resonate with my mom, who held the Big Apple in disdain all through her life.
Alas, both Mrs. Syphax and Sammy Moyer have been gone from this world for some time, so there’s no way of knowing for sure if they ever interacted doing their respective classwork.
(As a final aside, I could not immediately track down the e-mails to Mrs. Syphax’s sons Archie Jr. and Craig, so if someone has them, please forward this along. Always nice to have an “it’s a small world” story to tell.)
– Scott McCaffrey