Goodbye and good luck, Globe.
I’m not claiming to write a poignant goodbye like the Boston Globe editorial team or give a gorgeous peek behind the scenes like Scott LaPierre or Taylor de Lench. But, like many, the Globe gave me a lot. So these are the thoughts that cross my mind when people ask me about my time working at the Globe’s massive Dorchester location.
It was almost a year ago to the date that I walked into the Boston Globe for the first day of my six-month co-op. Although I worked nights, it was almost 90 degrees that evening, and steam appeared to rise from the pavement of Morrissey Boulevard.
I had been to visit the Globe twice before, but my first day was no less magical. There I was, once again, sweaty, wide-eyed and totally in awe. As I waited for someone to come collect me, I couldn’t take my eyes off the giant map of Massachusetts hanging from the marble slab in the building lobby.
I remember walking up the stairs (the escalator was broken, and I’m pretty sure was still broken when I finished the co-op) and into the second level of the building, so nervous and shaky. I strolled past the huge windows looking over the four-story press room, shuffled through the Living/Arts and Sports departments and hesitantly walked past the cubicles toward my seat at the city desk in the middle of the newsroom.
As I tried my best to play it cool, I had no clue that this building would become such an integral part of my life.
For 193 nights, I walked in and out of that building and grew up a little more every time I re-entered the space. At the city desk, I was taken seriously as a reporter for the first time in my life. I made some of my closest friends, a group we call the “Globe Gals Who Get It.”
It was here that I grew from a student to an adult, produced my first centerpiece story and learned that I was born to do journalism
I gained some great mentors at the Globe
But the job extended so far beyond the city desk. Every day, I made conversation with Sofia, the coffee shop cashier who slipped me a cookie every once and a while. I delivered newspapers to the photo department, where I spent far too long swapping life stories and cracking jokes with the imaging techs. I got candy from a paper cone provided by Bud, the head IT guy with whom I once binged a long-cancelled journalism show called “Chasing Life,” which was shot at the Globe.
I knew which printing presses dispensed the first edition of the paper at 11 p.m. each night and wore gardening gloves so my hands didn’t stain with ink. I knew where I could find the reporter’s notebooks that were wide enough for my left-handed habits and which couch to sleep on when I worked a night that turned into a 7 a.m. shift the next day.
I spent every major holiday at the Globe. With a skeleton crew of staff, we watched 4th of July fireworks through a TV screen, ate Halloween candy at our desks, served up a full Thanksgiving dinner in a Globe conference room and indulged in Chinese food on Christmas.
I was last reporter out every night, and I’ll never forget how good it felt to get into my cab, open up that morning’s paper, see my name in black and white and know that the next day, I would be back in Dorchester for another round of fun. “It’s a party!” my late editor, Dave Jrolf, used to say.
As time went on, though, the building started to show its readiness for the move downtown. Where a few cubicles once were, someone jokingly laid out a Twister mat and a cornhole set. Tables labeled “free stuff” popped up, offering old rolodexes and paperweights. It started to feel more and more empty, but there was still no move date in sight.
Although I felt comfortable and happier than I’d ever been, there was something about the building that made me feel ready to say goodbye. What felt like an endless summer came to a halt, and winter crept up fast.
On the last day of my co-op, I attended Dave’s funeral. I sat in the pews of a church in Milton, teary-eyed alongside my friends, co-workers and bosses. It snowed that day.
As the shift drew to a close, I made my rounds of goodbyes to the incredible people who made my six months complete. The day was already emotional, and I think the goodbye hugs served a dual purpose. I passed along thank-you notes and the sweetest, kindest editor —Kathy McCabe — drove me home.
I made more memories than I can count on those hallowed grounds, but it feels OK to say goodbye. Because the new space means new memories. New journalism. And no matter where the Globe is, it’s the people inside who will still value the rich storytelling that makes the place so great.
As Dave once told me after an angry phone call with one of our usual crazy readers: “No one knows how hard we work, but we still care. We care about this damn newspaper, oddly enough.”
Good luck, Globies, in your big move to State Street. Keep working hard, keep caring. I can’t wait to return and jump right back into the thick of it.