Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By A. R. Vander Vegt
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Each chapter alters your life


January 17, 2019

When I was finishing up my time as co-editor at my college’s student-run newspaper, the opinion editor asked me and my co-editor to put pen to page and write something to the student body one last time.

I remember sitting at a computer in the school’s library, mulling over what to write. I had no idea. Finals were looming, Christmas was around the corner, my graduation was nearly a reality. Some friendships were in bad repair after a hectic, mostly horrible but deeply joyful semester. That sounds like a contradiction, I suppose it is. Life is lived in contradictions, I think, and it holds together paradoxes.

In any case, I find myself at a similar crossroads. Actually, by the time you are reading this, my road has been crossed and I am now on the other side.

My time with Franklin Newspapers as an editor has come to close, and I am on to different things. “Bigger and better” doesn’t seem to quite encapsulate the next chapter of my life, but it is the next step for me.

It’s hard to find the words to write, to know what to say. When I was hunched over a keyboard in a library my last semester, that’s when the song “Auld Lang Syne” popped into my head.

Before I knew it, I had written nearly 1,000 words as a reflection of the song; it’s about changing friendship, about goodbyes. Now, I find myself in a similar position: saying goodbye to a place and people I’ve come to cherish.

Jennie K. Hanson wrote a couple of weeks ago about Auld Lang Syne, about its meaning of “days gone by.” At the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George and company sing a verse of it after “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and it’s a beautiful moment of camaraderie, of realizing richness is not marked in bills but in relationships and love.

This song sung at the stroke of midnight moves one year into the next, and it seems appropriate not only to have marked my graduation from college, but to mark the end of my chapter with Franklin Newspapers.

Auld Lang Syne holds in view all those who have left imprints on you — even just acquaintances. It’s easily one of my favorite songs of old time because of its versatility. It can be sung in a moment of triumph and happiness, like George and his friends and family. Or it can be sung quietly and alone, a moment of reflection before tucking into bed.

The first line, “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” is a rhetorical question. No, they shouldn’t be. Instead, we should remember old acquaintances in kindness, in benevolent memory if we can.

My time at the Star-Gazette feels like that. It’s a closing chapter, but a dear one. Like each chapter before it, it has altered and shaped my life because of the people who populated it, directly and indirectly. I have learned so much from this place. Now it’s on to the next leg of life — one I’m excited and nervous and thrilled about all at the same time.

Here’s to memories and the future!


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