In the spring of 1990, I was a college senior working at a donut shop in the small town of Laramie, WY. Moving there from Baton Rouge, LA where I grew up was a bit of a culture shock; but at Daylight Donuts, I found a family of sorts. Regular customers came in each day like clockwork. They ordered the same thing every time, and I had every donut and coffee – including their cream and sugar amounts – committed to memory.
One of the regulars, Bill, always ordered a chocolate long john with crème, not custard, and a black coffee. He sat at the counter and chatted me up about school. One morning, he made a suggestion that changed the course of my life.
“Why don’t you get a copywriting internship at the radio station?” he queried. “Surely, you will need that to finish up your advertising program at UW.”
I had been racking my brain trying to figure out how I could get the internship opportunity I needed in this three-stoplight town.
Bill set me up with an interview, during which I was asked to record a commercial, because the station desperately needed a female voiceover. That one spot landed me a job I never even imagined myself in: afternoon drive disc jockey. A year later, a man wandered into the control room at the station and introduced himself as an avid listener and sales rep for The Wyoming Radio Network, based in Casper. He urged me to interview for a weather anchor position at a Casper TV station.
After considerable coaxing from one of my professors, I applied. Much to my surprise, I got the job. From there, I did a stint in Jackson, MS followed by Detroit and finally, Flint. I have spent the last nearly 19 years of my seemingly accidental career in the Vehicle City. It seems like yesterday and a million years ago that I arrived here.
Just as the good people of Laramie and Daylight Donuts had welcomed me as one of their own all those years ago, the people of Mid-Michigan embraced me as one of their own. I have never felt more at home anywhere. I found my husband here. I have gone through the best and worst moments of my life here. Through it all, this community has supported and cheered me on.
I know I can count on my Mid-Michigan family to love me through another big change that has rolled in with this New Year. I am retiring from my three-decade broadcast career. While I may not be your Weather Lady anymore, I will still be your neighbor and friend.
Before I hang up my microphone and move into this new chapter of my life, I want to thank you. You have welcomed me into your homes and treated me like family. You shared your stories with me and let me tell them. I am forever grateful. Everyone should have the good fortune of wandering up to a welcome wagon like the one that greeted me here.
I’m happy to say you will still find me here in My City, musing about life, love and this community I am so blessed to call my forever home.
Change is a little scary, but you can treasure the old while you embrace the new.