My sister-in-law sent me a quick text the other day, saying an old friend wanted to get in touch and would it be okay if she gave her my phone number. The old friend was one I worked with more than half a lifetime ago in small town radio; she was on the sales staff and I was the news person, we also both did commercials, shared talk show duties, made the coffee … you know, a little bit of everything.
So I told Becky, my sister-in-law, to certainly share my number and it was only a few minutes later when my phone rang with the ‘518’ area code of my hometown region in upstate New York.
What a treat to hear my friend Peggy’s voice; it literally brought back a rush of memories. We worked together for several years at the radio station and eventually both moved on to other opportunities. When we worked at the station we were helping to break new ground, as Schoharie County had never had its own commercial radio station before. So when WSCM signed on, we made some history. That’s something I never really thought of at the time; it was just exciting to be part of a brand new venture and, as it turns out, a lot of fun to be on the air.
In small businesses such as WSCM and, like we have here with our small town trio of papers, staff becomes like a second family and I enjoyed spending time with Peggy and her family when we worked together as well.
She also was among the staff members that was always involved with the special Halloween and April Fool’s Day radio dramas we would produce, a throwback to ‘old time radio’ shows of the past.
It’s funny how you often tend to think that things are going to stay the same. When I was working at WSCM, surrounded by co-workers that were also friends, it seemed like we would always be there. The ‘morning man’ DJ and I would always have early morning wake-ups to sign on at 6 a.m.; I would have the occasional late night for a school board meeting or city council to cover; a couple of us would join in to host a live remote broadcast from a local business on the weekend. You just get into the routine and, at least for me, anticipated that’s the way it would stay. But then I moved on to an AM/FM station in a larger city and spent some time there, working as one of three on the news staff. That was also a great experience, my two more seasoned co-workers serving as great mentors. Eventually, my path took me to newspaper, working first for a small town weekly in my home county and then making the move to California when that chance presented itself.
I am excited to reconnect with Peggy; she and her husband are on an extended vacation trip and are currently on this side of the country, so we have plans to meet up when they are coming through the Modesto/Oakdale area on their way to Yosemite. We likely will do a little bit of reminiscing but we also have plenty of catching up to do; she is now a grandmother of four and I am the grandma of one. When we first worked together, she had two young children and I was just starting out in my career, fresh out of college, with a family of my own not even a speck on the horizon. And while in my younger years it may have been hard to see too far into the future, I have come to realize, as it was first stated by Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “Change is the only constant in life”.
I look forward to sharing all those changes that have occurred in my life with my longtime friend Peggy and learning about all of hers.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.