To Tuscaloosa: A fond farewellBy Taylor Holland | 04/22/2012 11:10pm
I had a fairly good idea of everything I was going to say in this farewell column until I sat down at my computer, gathered my thoughts about graduating and got to typing. I’m finding that after my four years in Tuscaloosa, the words I want to say to it, and the people I’ve grown so close to inside of its city limits, just aren’t coming.
It wasn’t always that way, though.
I didn’t realize what Tuscaloosa meant to me until this time last April, when more than 12 percent of it was taken from us by the storm. I had been named to The Crimson White’s editorial staff just four days prior and was still learning the ropes of the job when we were forced to switch gears and help the city we love so much to recover.
And that, in a way, was what the news desk’s goal was this year. Yes, we wanted to report the news and do it without error, but this year’s news was unlike any we’d ever covered before. We tried to run every story about every recovery effort, fundraiser and town meeting that we could. In a sense, we wanted to share our love of Tuscaloosa with the 31,000-plus of you. For without the University of Alabama, I fear to think of what may have happened to our city.
That’s not to take away from Mayor Walt Maddox’s efforts, however. If or when he decides to make a run at any state or national government entity, he will have my fullest support. His energy and outlook, along with the motivation of our students, has ensured Tuscaloosa will rebuild bigger and better than it was last April 26.
The farewell columns of years past have always seemed like one big inside joke that no one outside of The Crimson White’s newsroom would ever understand, so I’m trying to break the mold with this one. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to not give a shout out to those inside the newsroom who have become my family.
Without Katherine and Stephen, the news desk would have crashed and burned. You kept me from bashing my head against the desk more times than I can count, and I am incredibly grateful for your friendship. Also, thank you to the CW El Rincon and Gray Lady regulars — Sarah, SoRelle, Jon and John — for the times we shared together. I look forward to continuing our friendships outside of Tuscaloosa. Shout out to my mom, as well. To this day, she still reads (and usually rewrites) many of my ledes. That’s not everyone I want to thank — there are dozens more inside and outside of the newsroom — but this column would well exceed its length limits if I addressed you all one-by-one. Just know that I treasure all of your friendships.
Although I’m off to new endeavors down in Selma, I’ll keep memories of you close to me, Tuscaloosa. As cliché as it sounds, you taught me more about myself than anyone else has. I’ve loved every minute we’ve spent together these past four years, and can’t wait to watch you come back in full force.
We’ll be in touch.
Taylor Holland is the news editor of The Crimson White.