I sat in my teal green Ford Tempo in the parking lot wondering just how long I might have to wait for someone — anyone — to show up.
It was my first day on the job at the Globe, and I was assigned to a bureau out in Framingham — the big “pink and green on Speen (Street)” I called it.
I was 18, and had woken in my dorm room at 4 a.m., in order to get ready to make the trek to where my car was parked off campus. I drove that first day from the Longwood Medical Area where Simmons was, all the way to Framingham. I was so worried I would be late.
When I got there, however, I learned my first lesson in what it would mean to be a newspaper reporter: No one gets to the office before 10:30 a.m., (at the earliest).
That first day I made so many mental notes about things I did “wrong.”
- Heels and a skirt when everyone else was in jeans
- Put the newspaper archives in the wrong place
- Not making the coffee strong enough
- Being far too nice on the phone with people who called wanting to talk to a colleague
- Getting to the office far too early
- Not staying at the office late enough
But I also learned I was in love with journalism.
I knew I liked being a reporter, but that first day I knew I was in love; head over heels love. I started out writing obituaries, which I took to mean that my words were going to be the last portrait or snapshot of one person’s life, and I had better get it right.
I honed my own way of asking questions: Some reporters hard rapid fire, others asked the hard things first. I fell into a routine of always bringing my notebook, pen, camera, and a cup of coffee everywhere. And I learned that the best way to get the answers to questions was to ask simple things, and then just let people talk. Eventually everything a person wants to say comes out — in words, body language, or in what they are avoiding saying aloud.
I loved every single thing about The Boston Globe: The smell of the press during a run, the slight vibration in the floor that you can only really feel in the early morning hours when the newsroom was at it’s quietest.
I found the secret, quiet spaces like the old chair in the library downstairs, and the beauty of writing a story on deadline when there’s a sense of urgency, stress, and adrenaline in the air.
Every day I’ve come here, I’ve just felt lucky. Someone decided along the lines somewhere that I wasn’t such a terrible writer, and along the way I’ve learned from some of the best in this wacky business we call newspapering.
I can’t sum up all of the stories I’ve written, or pick out a favorite, or even outline exactly what I’ve learned in the past 14 years here.
But what I can do, is tell you this place will always be home.
Thank goodness knowledge is portable; I have 14 years worth to bring with me to Pennsylvania.