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Dee McLelland: This was easy, hard to write
Dee McLelland new

Writing this column is easy, yet, it’s one of the hardest things I have done.

It’s time for me to retire.

Retire from a business that started when I was 15 years old sending in stories on notebook paper hand written to the Andalusia Star News.

I was paid 25 cents a published inch. I figured out quickly that two pages meant about $4 to me. That being said, $4 in 1974 and 1975 was a big deal. A year or so later, after playing baseball in California and messing up my knee, I was offered a chance to work for the newspaper full time.

$65 a week. I was the sports writer at the Star News.

Crap, I didn’t even know how to type. They never asked me. I always turned stuff in on notebook paper.

I learned. Also, the twice a week paper went daily the same week I joined he paper and our deadline was 11 a.m. in the morning so the papers could be delivered in the afternoons.

Crap. How the heck was I going to generate stories on a daily basis? Much less, I can’t type.

So, being the ever optimistic, person, I would go in around midnight and peck out my stories on a typewriter. Yes, that’s right, a typewriter.

I never let on that I didn’t know how to type, and always had my stories ready for Miss Hazel for the big Linotype machine that she would translate the stories onto the production model we had at the time.

Fun times. I learned a lot. Buddy Murchison and Joel Starling helped me. I was home, I had found my career.

A few years ago, I was offered the chance to run a couple of weekly newspapers.

I jumped on it. It was a chance to run newspapers the way I thought they should be.

Ten days into my tenure, Covid hit. The world stopped for a time and also a lot of other things.

We have managed over the last 20 months to hold our own. In other words, we have held down the fort.

I decided a few weeks ago that the time was right and that the decision was already made for me. My family has sacrificed enough, my time away from them is precious and I need to be with them.

Besides, Dwayne Rye beat me again in the Senior Club Championship for the second year in a row. Yeah, I’m retiring!

Everyone at Cherokee Rose will get it!

I will miss all my friends I have made and I will always miss the people who have made this job so special. I have never worked with a more dedicated group of newspaper people in my life. They fight on despite the many obstacles put in their way.

So that being said, community newspapers are our last bastion of unbiased information that pertains to your life. It’s not slanted or curved to fit an agenda, at least not during my tenure as publisher.

I will miss all my friends and my co-workers and will think fondly on all my memories.

We will always think about the last few years as a time when America made a lot of right choices and also, made so many bad ones. I’m talking about nationally, state and locally. As Americans we deserve way better than what we are getting from public officials.

I will be thinking about everyone as I take that step closer back to my family and how they have sacrificed and made my time here possible.

This has been special.

If you see me, say “Hey!”

Dee McLelland is Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News.

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