I never envisaged it would end this way. I had always expected that when my career in Canadian daily newspapering came to a close, I would write a farewell column thanking the readers for taking the time to look at my stuff, and sometimes taking the time to phone or write. I would gather with my colleagues in the centre of the newsroom, the managing editor would make a nice speech about me, and I would respond in kind. I would tell my colleagues that during my time as the Calgary Herald’s theatre critic I “gave my best jeers to Theatre Calgary.” There would be laughter, cards, cake, and a chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” My colleagues would present me with a framed replica of a dummy front page, filled with photographs of me and mock news stories about my journalistic achievements. It would be a splendid send-off.
None of this happened, of course. Instead, I found myself, a few weeks after my fifty-sixth birthday, scurrying down the back stairs of the red-brick fortress, clutching my well-thumbed copy of The Canadian Oxford Dictionary and the framed photographs of my wife and daughter that had been sitting atop my desk, held vertical by little cardboard flaps covered in fake velvet. There had been no fireworks, no marching band, no ticker-tape parade. This world was ending not with a bang or whimper, but with a step into the unknown. The first strike of newsroom employees in the 116-year history of the Calgary Herald was about to begin….
(The above is an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir. If the snippet whets your appetite for more, please let me know. I hope to have the book published next year, after the noise about the Sarah Palin memoir subsides.)Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 Brian Brennan - Writer