Farewell, my friends

On Thursday evening, I decided to snap some extra photos of the Dunkirk Lighthouse for my Sunday Living cover. Like my first trip to the lighthouse for a story three summers ago, I wasn’t wearing appropriate footwear; I nearly toppled down the staircase while ghost-hunting. As I slipped off my heels and stood barefoot in the grass, capturing the lighthouse just before sunset, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. (Yes, this sounds soap-operatic, but please see the photographic evidence of this moment at the top of the page).

It’s hard to believe that one decade ago, I sat in this office across from then-Lifestyles Editor Deb Karpinske discussing the next article I’d be writing for the Sunday Living section during my high school internship.

The OBSERVER has been like a second home to me. This June marked my eighth year of employment at the paper. I had just turned 20 when I applied for a customer service position in the circulation department during the hottest summer I can remember. I answered phones in the small hours on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, taking calls from carriers and subscribers with the aid of several French vanilla cappuccinos. One Saturday, I fortuitously spotted John D’Agostino in the office and asked him if he had any openings in the editorial department. It just so happened there was one.

Thus began my eight years working in the OBSERVER’s editorial department. I have written about tragedies, board meetings, benefits and bar-hopping. I have typed up pinochle scores and recipes written in cursive, had the opportunity to see President Barack Obama speak in Buffalo and meet the ineffable Joan Rivers, and fretted over many a deadline. “Blood, sweat and tears” doesn’t even begin to summate my formative years as a journalist. There were nights when I considered creating a George Costanza-style bed underneath my desk, until I remembered how that episode of “Seinfeld” ended. I grew up here. Reading my earliest “In-town Rundown” columns, it’s obvious that I’m not the same person I was when I started. I do, however, still have countless things that “grind my gears,” and a fondness for film, fashion and fruity cocktails.

I’m thankful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met and worked with, the stories I’ve been fortunate enough to share and the immeasurable experience I’ve gained. As I move on to new adventures, I will fondly remember my days and many late nights spent here.

Thank you for reading.

Send comments on this column to adiodato@observertoday.com