Selma offers some of my best lifetime memories

Published 7:57 pm Friday, February 6, 2015

Summing up my love for the people of Selma in a column that’s less than 500 words is tough, even as a journalist. Doing it without tearing up, now that’s impossible.

With tissues close by, I announce, on my final day at The Selma Times-Journal, my plans to move on to a crime and safety reporter position at The Ledger-Enquirer. As elated as I am to start a new chapter in my life in Columbus, Ga., I’ve been overwhelmed with emotions to know I am leaving what has easily become my second home.

For the past two weeks, each event, meeting and interview I’ve attended has been heart wrenching, because I went knowing it may be the very last time I’d see people I’ve grown so close to since I arrived in late September 2013.

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I shared Thursday my final laughs with Selma Police Department Secretary Bettie Pritchett, someone who often addressed me as the “newspaper girl” whenever I walked in the department to pick up incident reports. Rarely seen without a bright smile, Pritchett exudes a kind spirit similar to the sweet nature that so many in Selma have shown to me throughout my stay here in the city.

I covered my last Selma City School work session Thursday, when I announced to the board my departure. The news was followed by heartfelt goodbyes from several of the members.

Many in attendance at the session knew of Columbus and told me I could contact them for assistance adjusting to my new place, reminding me of how helpful people here have been since I arrived here.

I may be hours away from my parents in Hanceville, but the way people like Jewel Thornton and her daughter Traci treated me has made me feel as if family always surrounded me.

Speaking of family, that’s exactly how I’d describe The Times-Journal staff, which has done much more than help me grow as a reporter. The fun times we’ve shared in the office have made even the most hectic of days a pleasure, because I experienced it with a group that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

From the “welcome to Selma” phone calls I received my first week to the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Oprah Winfrey and other cast members of the movie ‘Selma,’ this historic city has presented countless rare memories for me. I would name everyone that has changed my life for the better if time and space allowed.

It’s an honor to live in an area that has attracted so many from across the nation and given me humbling opportunities to interview some of the nation’s most prestigious civil rights activists.

Thank you, Selma. I can only hope you’ve enjoyed me as much as I enjoyed you.