Editor's note: Bob Fallstrom wrote a column on his retirement a few days before his death on July 9. The original intent was to publish this column as part of the celebration of his life as a working newsman at the Herald & Review. The page one story today was part of that plan. Regrettably, his death changed those plans, so today's column and page one story are a celebration of a life well-lived and a newsman who had an insatiable curiosity and desire to the tell stories of his faithful readers.
Never say never.
For too many years to count, I've insisted I'm never going to retire. Hey, I'll go on forever.
For too many years to count, I've insisted I'm never going to have a home computer.
Never say never.
I found out now is the time. Forever is not attainable.
After nearly 66 years here, I am retiring. I am going to spend more time with my giraffes. I can see them nodding their approval. It's another new experience, this being retired.
I've worked at the Herald & Review since Jan. 3, 1949, coming from Dixon.
I've always been on the go. On vacation, my routine was to drive all day, stop at twilight, grab something to eat, turn in for a few hours of sleep, awaken and do it all again.
My first routine here was to work at night on the Herald's sports desk. Go to bed at 4 a.m. Get up, put a Bob Scobey record on the turntable and sit down to write before going to the office. This went on for 37 years.
Then I changed my routine to working mornings and afternoons only. Goodbye sports, hello good news of this community.
A few years later, I lost my wife, June, to the horrible fate of dementia. My live-alone routine accelerated, continuing to this day.
The routine was delightfully changed again when I moved to a condo in 2012. I became a breakfast regular at Perkins Restaurant with two friends.
Now, another change of routine.
I've needed to work in order to give me purpose, recognizing the good newsmakers.
The newspaper industry maintains that bad news is what people want to read. I've always disagreed. We need good news on every page of the newspaper, not just once a week.
So, what's next? Well, I'm sorting boxes and boxes of papers and the accumulation of work-related items.
After a couple of months of this chore, I am sure I'll be ready to resume writing in some manner, or maybe volunteer for some desk job.
Physically, I'm a mess. No matter.
In sports, I was known as “Fearless,” and I still am as I adjust to still another change of routine. I'm not complaining. I had a great run. I'm so thankful to be around at age 88.
Thanks to my faithful readers. Thanks to all those who allowed me to write about them. Thanks to everyone who suggested a story. Thanks to the Herald & Review for putting up with me.
Thanks, thanks and thanks.
I'll still be traveling. I'll be around. And I'll miss you.