Well, Sandusky, this is it.
I'll soon trade reporting on city government for editing at a music magazine. When I find out what city politicians and punk rockers have in common, I'll let you know. (Of course, city commissioners, you could make that task much easier if you all adopted bright blue mohawk hairstyles. Just a thought.)
Covering the community in which I grew up presented a unique set of advantages and challenges. I've learned more about the city in the year I spent reporting on it than in the 18 years I spent growing up here.
Someone recently asked me what my predictions were for the city now that I'm leaving. I told them I honestly couldn't begin to guess because every prediction I've made so far has been way off. Sandusky, if one thing can be said about you it is that you're full of surprises.
I'm not leaving entirely just yet. In September, I'll walk down the aisle at St. Mary's church when I marry my college sweetheart. Holidays and celebrations will always bring me home to Sandusky to spend time with my family and loved ones.
I've often suffered under the delusion that somehow when I leave and cross the city limits, Sandusky pauses behind me in a snowglobe-like state until I return. I knew that wasn't really true -- every time I returned things are different. Things age imperceptibly around us in a way that we can only notice once we've been gone.
Whenever someone leaves our house, my Chihuahua, Jack, scurries to the window to watch the people walk away. If he can't have the closure of seeing them leave, he gets stressed out. I think he worries they're trapped in the garage or the threshold of the door.
We talk about closure like it is something tangible. Closure is nothing more than being able to retrieve the blurred moments of memory in our mind without breaking down. Closure comes quietly when we can accept something's absence alone as proof that it is truly gone.
It is being able to trust that no one is trapped in the garage, even though you didn't see them leave.
I'm leaving and although I won't be able to say good-bye to everyone I may not see again, closure is something I'll have to create for myself.
If this job has taught me anything, it is that every one has a story. No one is a faceless actor in the backdrop of some one else' film. We're all the stars and this is the most important role we will ever play. I hope I never lose sight of that.
Sandusky is just like every other place in the world, except that for me it is home.
Home is this beautiful, crazy place where the coasters meet the bay.
Home will always be where the "Boy and the Boot" keeps watch over Washington Park as the seasons change.
Home is where the sun sets a little bit slower over the Jackson Street pier.