Thirty-seven years ago, June 5, 1978, I walked in the front door of 111 S. Jefferson St., then the home of the Casper Star-Tribune. It was a short trip from my first apartment, a one-bedroom, one-bath on the ground floor with a picture window view of the alley.

The publisher and son of the owner occasionally smoked cigars but mostly just had one stuck between two fingers and twirled it around when he was emphasizing a point -- like the fact that he was against my hiring. A woman writing sports for Wyoming's largest daily was not an everyday occurrence -- in fact, it had never happened, or so they told me. There was a giant ocean fish on one of the walls of his office, which were painted orange.

All of us, advertising, circulation and news, were stuffed into one open space. The only window was in the break room on First Street, and when late-afternoon summer thunderstorms hit, we'd go in there to watch the water rushing down the street.

The newsroom was loud and ribald (great word -- look it up!) and awesome. People argued in the open, without fear of being hauled behind a closed door or violating corporate correctness.

The editor then had a big belly and munched unpeeled -- and I suspect unwashed -- carrots. The sports editor was an alcoholic, and in spite of his faults, I adored him as my first mentor.

On that early June day, I had been a college graduate for two weeks and I was 21 years old. I wore makeup and pantyhose -- every day.

I still don't own a phone with a number in its name and can't check office email at home. When the roads are hideous between Casper and Glenrock, where I (some say ill-advisedly) decided to move in a span of four weeks almost seven years ago, there is no way for me to work "remotely."

The industry in which I chose to work has changed more than a little in 37 years. I came to tell stories and cover sports. Ownership and business models did not even enter my thinking.

Now, you can read your news that we provide on Twitter, on a website, an "e-edition," an app, a phone, a tablet -- and thankfully, still in print.

There is ink on my fingers each morning, and it stays throughout the day. I still ruin white shirts in the summer. I found a useable pencil sharpener buried in the back room the other day, and I still make lists on lined tablets. My in and out box overflows. Sticky notes are my savior.

I’m proud that I’ve stayed -- not settled, but stayed. So many other great people have found different things to make them happy. I found this. I am incredibly lucky. And as long as I can keep my mouth shut, I intend to stay.

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Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS.


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