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.
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.
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.
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
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