Love the city, kind of hate my washer

By Carolyn Bahm

The first week on the job has been a trip.

Carolyn Bahm, Bartlett Express Editor
Carolyn Bahm

I’ve gotten to talk to all three of the Bartlett superintendent candidates and can’t wait to see who will take on the challenge of hiring, inspiring, and firing up everything the district needs by summer 2014.

I cast votes for the creatively “green” floats in the 2013 Christmas parade and for each group who stuck it out through the freezing cold. Who knew you could make a snowman from milk jugs or a delicate Christmas tree from soft drink bottles draped in lights?

I also watched 40+ law enforcement officers man the aisles in Cordova’s Walmart for a good cause, and not just so they could scare the devil out of shoplifters (although I’ll bet there were a few of those too). Officers from Bartlett and the surrounding area escorted bouncy little ones on small shopping sprees so families on tough budgets could have an easier Christmas, courtesy of Lodge 35 of the Fraternal Order of Police.

This is a really active, involved and candid community.

People have already reached out to the paper to publish their celebrations — a son who soared through basic training in the Air Force, a young beauty who won high school honors, and kids who brought home bright gold, silver and bronze medals in wrestling competitions. Others have talked quietly about their worries — corporate actions that might raise families’ costs, possible misuse of power, and hints of secrecy where there should be transparency. I listen, I sift, I research, and I tuck away unproven but interesting ideas. And I’m reminded of why I have loved journalism all my life.

I worked two years on a small weekly newspaper in south Mississippi, another 10 years in Tupelo at the Daily Journal, and a year at the Hattiesburg American before turning my attention to other types of keyboard magic. I’ve written and edited for universities, publishing companies, major corporations, and even a contracting company on a military base. I enjoyed that part of my career, but I feel lucky to come full circle back to the newspaper work I love.

Of course, there are the learning moments when distracted by getting into a new job’s groove. I tried to believe it wasn’t me, but I might be the culprit who mismanaged the locks on the office front door, causing three of us to stand outside and rattle our keys Monday morning. I actually BIT MY OWN THUMB later that day when snorkeling up divinity from a coworker’s wife (yes, it was that good). Then I sent one set of story notes on a pocket ride through the washer and dryer that night. Let me know if you see my misplaced dignity anywhere … I’ll be checking my lint filter.

Notes ruined by being washed and dried
This isn’t the “dog ate my homework” excuse. It’s the “washer ate my work notes” lament. Imagine a tiny blue Moleskine booklet with all my story notes taking a wild pocket ride through the washer and dryer. The notes were surprisingly still readable.