See ‘Ya Later, Not Goodbye

This has been one of those weeks. You know the kind when things don’t go as planned and you shake your head at the world around you.

Let me preface my next words with the fact that I hate good-byes. Whenever someone leaves my home or workplace, I tend to say “see you later” rather than goodbye. I don’t like the finality of good-bye. And when people lament the fact that they didn’t have a chance to say a final farewell to a loved one — for whatever reason — it reinforces the idea that any day can be our last together. So treat it that way.

Last week Mary Seidler passed away. Decades ago, Mary and her late husband Bud ran a bar at the bottom of Country Club Hill in Wheeling. The Crossroads was quite a gathering place for the after-golf groups as well as the nighttime crowd of young people. I got to know Mary and Bud during those years, and when they lived within walking distance of our home in Greggsville.

Mary had this tough exterior with a soft heart beneath. She pulled no punches when she thought you needed a swift kick in the attitude department. She didn’t just pour drinks, she handed out her special brand of advice. Later Mary delivered newspapers for this company. It was a kind of therapy more than a job for her after Bud died. She made friends along the way. She was definitely a people person. The last time I saw Mary she was loading newspapers in her vehicle and she stopped to exchange pleasantries about her daughter Marleah and grandkids while asking about my family. When she left, she offered a quick wave and “see ‘ya.”

Here in the newsroom I have watched people come and go over the three-plus decades I have been working here. I have witnessed young rookie reporters grow into professional journalists who went on to bigger cities and larger publications. Others moved into completely different and successful careers. And while it’s difficult to watch them go, you wish them well, too.

The close interaction of working in a newsroom setting, the type of work we see and stories we cover, foster a closeness that distance and separation can’t undo. Many of the people who have gone out of these doors stay in touch because this business remains in their blood.

This week we bid so long to Phyllis Sigal as she ended her 37¢-year career with the newspapers to pursue a new direction in life. The void will be great but all good things have an end — just like the headlines and stories we write. Still, it’s not easy to cut yet another farewell cake and sign a greeting card filled with well wishes. Phyllis and I have shared more than editing issues and ink stains. We have enjoyed our children’s parallel lives through middle school, college, marriage and grandchildren. We have championed one another’s accomplishments and walked through the hard times, too.

While I will miss having my friend in the newsroom, I firmly believe this is just another “see ‘ya later” moment.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at: