My tenure with Patch was far from flawless. Then again, life never is perfect.
True story. One time during a particularly bumpy period, a prominent member of the business community took issue with a question I had posed regarding Morristown's safety. The question came following reports of shots fired on Mills Street (which, to my knowledge, has not been solved) and someone being carjacked on Washington Street (which was solved last year).
It seemed a legitimate question though this person did not agree and informed me of such in an email. The exchange was the final straw before I decided to beat a hasty retreat down to Monmouth County, where I grew up, to wash the negative vibes from my brain.
Soon after settling down at the Starbucks in Middletown, I needed to call another public official, who began our conversation with criticism of the same question, and how they were not the only ones upset.
That was it. I cannot recall what exactly was said, but it involved several words you wouldn't say to your mother, and probably shouldn't say to public officials you regularly need to contact in order to do your job as a journalist covering a three-square-mile town (and, eventually, three towns).
But, that's the thing about Patch. It was never just a job. Justified or not, negative feedback wasn't to me just about some Internet site. It was personal. It always was.
Two-and-a-half years may not seem long to someone at the same job for decades, a job they go to and disconnect from as soon as they leave the office. Though our perpetually-plugged-in world is making that rarer, Patch has been an even-more-connected beast. Two-and-a-half years in a company only around since 2009 is a long time.
Just look to the name. Patch. Since moving to Morristown in July 2010, and launching Morristown Patch on Aug. 16, 2010, I have been thoroughly "patched in" to this job and this town, for better or worse.
The above mentioned meltdown was thankfully far from the norm (and, it had happy resolutions. No harm, no foul, and no feelings hurt ... I think). I am full of fond memories. To name a few: the friends made at Zebu Forno. The friends made covering the town. Morristown's Got Talent. The people that help their communities simply because it's the right thing to do. The people that seek a better life, that strive and survive, no matter how difficult, when others may have given up the ghost.
The stories that shape a town's narrative. The stories that shape a town's landscape. The culture. The celebrations. The and again. Snooki and JWoww.
Life is far from flawless, and so is Patch. But, waiting as our reward?
Patch was different. Morristown was different. I did not just cover Morristown (and, later, Morris Township and Morris Plains). I lived here. I lived Patch. Can you blame me for being a little thin-skinned?
So, it is with excitement but also a little sadness that my time with Patch ends. Because, as this job ends, so does my time living in Morristown. Both have always been connected and more a part of my life than even I probably won't fully grasp until I'm unpacked and starting the next adventure in South Korea.
If there is a regret in all this it's that when, a few months ago, when asked to take over the Morris Township-Morris Plains Patch, I was unable to provide it the same level of personal attention I had provided Morristown Patch for over two years. It has not been the smoothest of journeys for that site. For this, I apologize.
Though one regret, though far from flawless, I reflect on my time in Morristown and with Patch as a success. As the old paraphrased phrase goes, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. I am sure more than a few Patch editors would agree, and would also hope a check for all those overtime hours was in the mail.
Thank you, Morristown. Thank you, Patch. It has been my pleasure.