When I read the story last weekend about Hampden Mayor Carol Duprey’s slimy and amateurish robocalls to voters in an attempt to influence the outcome of the upcoming council election, I predicted out loud that I may have to start taking blood pressure medication.
What I wanted to do, at that moment, was to dash to my laptop and fire off this week’s column. It’s amazingly cathartic and quite pleasing to release your thoughts through a keyboard, knowing your words are destined for publication.
Yet, I knew that while in my head I would be formulating a column all week on Duprey’s boorish behavior, I would never actually get a chance to write it.
I will not waste this space in what is to be my last column for this newspaper writing about her.
And this is my last column.
I started working for the Bangor Daily News 29 years ago last month. I was 22. It had never once occurred to me that I might have a future in the newspaper business.
I was a business major in college with virtually no interest in business at all. I toyed with the idea of being a flight attendant for a while. That didn’t work out.
While I was floundering around trying to find some direction, my mother was scouring the want ads.
And that’s how I landed a job as an office worker at the BDN’s brand new Pittsfield Bureau. I filed things and answered phones and had a health insurance plan. I was fairly content, but then my boss, Bruce Hertz, decided I should take a crack at a story.
“Pick any subject you like and give it a try,” he said.
My chosen subject was an elderly woman who had spent decades helping school children, including me and my sisters, safely cross Main Street in Newport.
It apparently was just decent enough that the bigwigs in the Bangor office (and that is how I looked at them) invited me to write another.
Three years later, I moved to Bangor and onto the city desk, and I was scared to death.
It was not a well-planned path that I was on, yet somehow it took me exactly where I wanted to be. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I grew up inside that three-story brick building at 491 Main St. and had some of the very best times of my life there.
I was nurtured there professionally and cared for personally by an amazing group of co-workers and friends.
I didn’t arrive there with great writing or reporting skills, I learned them there.
When I took over as the cop and court reporter, I learned the truth behind the saying that if you love your job you won’t work a day in your life.
Although I have loved the last 10 years I have spent writing this column, the best days of my career were spent hanging around courtrooms and police stations and telling the stories that unfolded in them.
I was privileged to have so many families, often navigating their way through terrible and unexpected tragedy, willing to allow me to share their stories with you.
I’ll be forever grateful and humbled by their courage and generosity.
The BDN stepped up for me 10 years ago when our family’s circumstances changed drastically and it became clear that I was going to be needed at home.
Management gave me the opportunity to write this column, which allowed me to tend to the needs of our family while keeping a small piece of the profession and newspaper I love so deeply.
I’ve appreciated every letter, note, email and kind words I have received from so many of you over these years. Especially from you Jimbodeeni.
I especially love those that start with, “Ms. Ordway, I rarely agree with you, but …”
What a dreadfully boring world we would live in if we all agreed on everything.
The decision to give up this most precious space has been a difficult one, as has the decision to cut the final cord to this company that has been such an enormous part of my life.
But circumstances change and children grow up. There was once great chaos in my house. Now, things are quiet. The children have moved on to face new challenges, and it’s time for me to do the same.
In my new adventure I will have the opportunity to work with some young reporters just starting down this challenging, yet oh so remarkable path.
As for me and my career with the BDN, I hope I am remembered this way:
She showed up, she was accurate, and she was true to her word.
Editor’s note: Renee Ordway is assistant news director for WVII Ch. 7 and WFVX Ch. 22 in Bangor.