What’s retirement? I guess I’ll find out

Amish boys, harvesting corn
Working in the township that I love.

By Bruce Stambaugh

I started out the New Year the best way possible. I retired.

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved working. I love working. Given that we are moving to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley next spring, it’s time for me to shift into a lower gear.

The transition from work to non-work has been a gradual one to be sure, much like how I transitioned my way into the wonderful world of work. Altogether, I’ve been working for more than 60 years.

cooper's hawk
I’m a hawk about work.

I started out at age eight selling seed packets door-to-door. I’ve been working ever since.

I delivered newspapers for two different urban publishers. Profits from those ventures were invested at the new McDonald’s built at the end of my route. A quarter bought me a cheeseburger and a Coke.

In high school, I pumped gas at Carl’s Garage in Canton, Ohio. Gasoline was 27 cents a gallon when I started, 31 cents when I graduated.

I was a Fuller Brush salesperson. That experience convinced me to go to college.

I attended night school for my first two years at university studying to be a journalist. During the day, I worked at a huge corporation where my father and grandfather spent most of their employment years. I learned from that experience not to work at a huge corporation unless I absolutely had to do so. I’m glad I never did.

I wove being a stringer for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, in between my high school years and my college days. A stringer is a person who writes stories freelance. Ambitious stringers like me wrote for pennies on the word.

That connection, fortunately, led to an internship at The Plain Dealer. Remember what I said about working for a large corporation? I learned the same was true for a major metropolitan newspaper.

That’s how I ended up in Holmes Co., Ohio. First, I taught for nine years at Killbuck Elementary School. That saved my life, or maybe better stated, made my life. Folks welcomed me with open arms. I felt right at home.

I married, and my wife became a teacher, too. When our children arrived, Neva put her career on hold to do her very best at being both mom and wife. She got an A+ in both categories.

Winesburg Elementary School, Holmes Co. OH
Where I served as principal for 21 years.

After earning my Master’s degree, I became an elementary principal in the East Holmes Local School District. I also coordinated the district’s substantial federal programs. I learned to multi-task or else. Those were 21 marvelous years.

At age 51, I made yet another transition. I retired as an educator and served as a marketing and public relations guru for a few local businesses. Another job tied my education and marketing careers together.

I served as a Saltcreek Twp. Trustee for nearly 20 years, and with the impending move that community responsibility, too, has come to an end.

dog, granddaughter
Chasing the grandkids and the grand dogs will become my main job.

Now my work priorities have changed. The time has come to refocus my lagging energy and flagging memory to the top priorities in my life: my family and my writing. Retirement was necessary for that to occur. This blog will continue to feature my writing and photography, but will likely change name and format.

My wife and I will settle into our new setting near our grandkids in Virginia in May. I can let grandkids completely wear me out playing baseball, listening to concerts, and however else they choose to spend their time and parents’ money. We’ll be there cheering them on.

I’m looking forward to all the unknown adventures ahead. Just don’t wake me before 8 a.m.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

15 thoughts on “What’s retirement? I guess I’ll find out”

  1. Cousin Bruce, that is a truckload of living; how richly you have been blessed! Thank you for sharing it with us. (please excuse punkshoeashin errors as i did not attend journalism school and my writings in a beginners level wirting class were graded with little red circles like bulbs on a well decorated Christmas tree…puctuation errors)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck Bruce – not that you need anyone to wish it to you, it seems to follow you! But, you also earned all that good luck and good fortune and good blessings. Good things truly do happen to good people, kinda like karma! So I will wish you you continued luck, fortune,and blessings as you start your next life journey! It has been a true pleasure working with you all these years, (even the mischievous ones, you funny guy! LOL)! Enjoy those grandkids – they grow up so quickly. They’re lucky to have you both so close to watch them spend their parents moolah! LOL I’ll look forward to keeping in touch with your life via your blog! Journey on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I look forward to reading about your big change of location, and new retired life. We’ve enjoyed retirement, but parts have been a lot more difficult than I expected. And we face a similar decision. Our dughter and the grandchildren moved to B.C. last fall. We’re not sure what we’re going to do. And meantime I’m recovering from eye surgery. Hope your retirement is a great adventure! And you keep writing lots here!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Best wishes to you and your family! Retirement is good, and being near grandchildren is even better. I know from your last post that you’ll be greatly missed by the community you’ve been so active in. I look forward to your blog entries and photos of your new ‘hometown.’


  5. Could you point me to the location in Holmes County where Barn Owls are nesting? I love your articles in the Bargain Hunter, and just discovered your blog when looking for Barn Owl locations! I do have a facebook account, which might be the best way for us to connect and share information. Marland Miller


    1. Marland,
      Thanks. I’m glad you enjoy reading my column and blog. As for the barn owls, since they are protected, the nesting locations are not made public. However, if you contact Robert Hershberger at Time & Optics on CR 77 south of Mt. Hope, he might be able to help you.
      All the best,

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

K Hertzler Art

Artist and nature journalist in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Maria Vincent Robinson

Photographer Of Life and moments

Jennifer Murch

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. -Twyla Tharp

Roadkill Crossing

Writing generated from the rural life


writer. teacher. podcast cohost.

Casa Alterna

El amor cruza fronteras / Love crosses borders

gareth brandt

reflections about God and life

church ov solitude

We are all just babes in the woods.

%d bloggers like this: