A Fond Farewell
Getting ready to move in a different direction.
My grandmother was a daredevil who rode a motorcycle in a globe on the Steel Pier. She roared around at 75 miles per hour, calling herself CeDora in a costume that would have made Madonna blush.
She loved that year and forever told stories of the other performers, including aerial artists, boxing cats and water acts. It was dizzying, both the stunts and the excitement of performing next to future stars like Johnny Weissmuller, who swung through in 1931 on his way to Hollywood and Tarzan fame.
My grandmother spent a year zipping around the steel globe. For me, the timing is about the same as my own fast ride as local editor of Livingston Patch. Reporting the news in real time doesn’t allow for much down time. It's time for me to step down.
Patch is growing rapidly. Livingston was among the first 100 launched and now ranks among the most successful sites of the AOL-Huffington Media Group coast-to-coast. Livingston is part of a cluster of 12 Essex County sites, each edited by colleagues who I respect and who helped make this job a little bit easier, and certainly a lot more fun.
This week we welcome Brian Falzarano, an Essex County Patch contributor, who steps up to sub edit in Livingston. I am certain a new local editor will carry on the good work of all the voices of Livingston Patch.
I am so proud of the work we have done this past year. Livingston Patch has assembled a team of contributors who make this site a reflection of what it’s like living in Livingston, including Phil Hoops, a college student who reports on town government; L. Klonsky who writes on parenting issues and a whole lot more; and Bob Krasner, whose stunning photographs graced these pages.
We’ve also gathered local voices from every corner of the town: Andy and Barbara Anderson, whose photos of youth sports and summer concerts provide a fresh perspective on special events; Ellen Lazer, who I’ve had the pleasure of singing with in the Burnet Hill classroom where she teaches; Vicki Kalmus, who provides skills to help students organize their time and studies; Cindy Livesey, who lets us in on the week’s best deals; Steve Pastnerak, courts; sports reporter Jason Bernstein (and a handful of other sports scribes); and my father, Walter Joyce who tells us about all the things happening for senior citizens.
Then there are the local voices sharing with us their blogs, everything from an Insider’s View of Town Government with Deborah Shapiro, consumer affairs director Walter LeVine, and real estate with Robert Stern, to spiritual matters with Rev. Dan Martian and 13-year-old Sydney Becker who writes about her battle and recovery from a rare form of cancer.
We’ve also shared the story of Jennifer Goodman Linn, the founder of Cycle for Survival, and the Livingston teachers and residents (including my sister Jeanne) who have spearheaded efforts to raise millions of dollars for cancer research.
The stories shared by Jennifer and Sydney have deeply moved me this past year. Most mornings my day begins reading Sydney’s journal, bringing tears and a smile. In a few weeks, her rounds of chemo will come to an end. She’s looking forward to getting on with life. My children are just around Sydney’s age. And I miss them. Being a full-time 24/7 editor means I haven’t been around for them the way I would like.
On her birthday, Sydney wrote: “If you have a reason to celebrate, you should celebrate it, because you just never know when your life could be totally turned upside down in a matter of seconds.”
My grandmother spent a year literally upside down. And lived 96 years to share her stories with her grandchildren.
I’ve had a year to report at a dizzying pace the stories of Livingston. And they have been memorable: Chris Christie at the Ritz diner and holding a town hall in his hometown, charter schools, the Facebook mob, searching for cacti with a senior sleuth. Never mind the earthquake, hurricane and winter of snow, snow and more snow.
I am grateful to the Livingston residents who believe in this new media, who read us and contributed to the discussions. I am so appreciative of the township employees and volunteers who took the time to tell us their stories. From the new era in town government, rain on the Memorial Day Parade, to the moving remembrance of Sept. 11, I have enjoyed spending special occasions and stormy weather with you.
I’m not sure what’s next but I’m certain to take a cue from my grandmother -- and Jennifer Goodman Linn -- to go out and live a fearless life.
Thank you. It was good to come home.