Editor’s Note

A Vietnam War veteran came into the office on Thursday morning to talk about parade events on Memorial Day.

We spoke for roughly 30 minutes as he read his hand-written press release to me and I typed.

There was a poignant moment during the conversation when he spoke of reaching out to other veterans in an effort to invite them to activities in their honor or to share a common bond.

He said many of the veterans he speaks with turn down the invitations, mostly because they feel their military efforts don’t or didn’t compare to those who have fought in combat zones.

He spoke so sincerely about how each and every veteran deserves to be honored, and how his wish was for all veterans to come together with the nation to remember those who served and passed on, whether in time of peace or war, at home or on foreign soil.

I have been reminded through several press releases that Memorial Day is a holiday on which those who have served in the U.S. military are to be remembered. We have to remind people of its original purpose now?

Perhaps that’s an unfortunate truth.

The veteran I spoke with on Thursday had the right idea and attitude about Memorial Day and its purpose as an all-encompassing day in remembrance of those who served for our freedom.

The goal behind the event, like so many others taking place nationwide on Monday, is to welcome everyone in the community to gather and give a quiet “Thank you” to those who deserve it most.

I particularly liked the part in his press release about how children were welcome to decorate their bikes and ride along in the parade. I think often about how they hold the future of this country. They are the ones we will trust to serve, to become elected officials and maintain the foundation on which our country was built, like so many others who came before them.

I feel extra patriotic each Memorial Day weekend, truly proud to be an American and thankful, as always, to have been born in the land of the free because of the brave.

While I may not be able to say “Thank you” to veteran readers in person, I can write it.

Thank you.

Editor’s Note

Some days, I feel so stressed out that the hair on my head starts to hurt. Maybe that’s why it’s so curly.

I don’t have headaches, just a consistently anxious feeling that physically remains on the inside of my scalp – like an itch I can’t scratch.

I would assume working two jobs combined with new responsibilities has something to do with this feeling and the soreness that sometimes lingers in my legs and shoulders. But I try to remember my mother’s words. I am young and the road is long. I can handle it.

Watching live shows of stand-up comedians helps me relax after a long day.

The other night, while skipping through shows on Netflix to the familiar “Mad Men” icon, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco’s face appeared briefly. I knew that face. I’d seen it in short clips on Facebook here and there.

Instead of “Mad Men,” watching one of Maniscalco’s hour-long shows from 2014, recorded in his hometown of Chicago, made me laugh so hard my face hurt. What a great feeling to fall asleep with.

He talks with such animation about everything from growing up in an Italian-American household to a trip to Chipotle to the lack of manners in modern-day society – hence the title of the show and something I find myself wanting to ask strangers often: “Aren’t You Embarassed?”

While Maniscalco is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedians, Louis C.K. remains at the top of my list.

He often incorporates experiences as a single father of two daughters into his acts, and his show “Louie,” also on Netflix, is quite funny.

Comedians are everywhere.

I appreciate those who are able to tell it like it is but in a humorous manner that makes sense.

Those are the people I like to be around and they often have no clue how truly fun they are to be with.

I felt fortunate to meet a few comedians who performed at Junior’s Last Laugh in Erie when I was in college. They would stick around town after their shows, gathering some more material from the nightlife before inevitably hitting the road. Junior’s is a great place to catch some stand-up and I?hope to see some of the great comedians coming to town for Lucy Fest this summer.

I find it comforting that as technology-driven as the world has become, entertainment can still be found in the simple act of one person talking on a stage.

Editor’s Note

For those of you who don’t know, Scott Shelters, city editor, has left The Post- Journal.

He was hired in 2011 as a reporter and became an editor in 2012. I worked with Scott for two-and-a-half years, learning a great deal about the news industry under his wing and then next to him as region editor.

Wednesday was his last day. It’ll be strange not to see his marks on proof pages, but we in the newsroom sincerely wish him all the best moving forward.

I never formally introduced myself in this column.

“If anyone reads what I write, they’ll find out who I am for themselves,” I said to my copy editor when he asked why.

Well, 72 Editor’s Notes in, I’m providing an explanation as to how I landed where I am.

“Is this what you always wanted to do?” is a question I am often asked. The short answer is yes.

There is no rhyme or reason behind how I knew from the age of 5 that I’d be a writer, but it happened to be true and I followed my intuition through high school and into college, where I further discovered a passion for editing. I never swayed from my focus in journalism, graduating from Mercyhurst College in Erie, now Mercyhurst University, with a bachelor’s degree in 2010.

Writers are a different breed of artist.

Our minds and imaginations run wild in all different directions and sometimes, for me at least, the only clear method of depiction is through written word.

One of the reasons I enjoy being a newspaper editor is because I love the English language. There is a science behind molding sentences to form a story, and if I can catch any errors that might be hiding in plain sight to a writer who has read and re-read their story several times in a day, I have done my job.

It took me a long time to pursue a career using my degree – I simply didn’t believe anyone would read my writing. Taking a reporting position at the Dunkirk Observer in 2013 was one of the best decisions I ever made and transferring to The Post-Journal three months later helped me realize how much I love my hometown.

The writers and editors I’ve met along the way have only enriched what I hope is just the beginning of a long career in an industry that lets me practice my craft.

Editor’s Note

The seven-month-old niece of my co-worker Sallie Walker made a special visit to The Post-Journal on Wednesday. The moment Ryleigh came through the door, it was as if the room was instantly brighter, my heart growing happy at the sight of her little soul.

Her mother and father stood nearby as Sallie held her in a chair near my desk.

I just kept watching her big bright eyes wander around the room in awe of so many sights she had never seen before, including me.

There aren’t any babies or young children in my life at the moment, but when they’re around I’m overcome with this feeling of happiness that lasts.

I think about how they have such a life before them, so many places to go and new things to learn.

As Ryleigh bounced energetically on her Aunt Sallie’s lap, we would laugh at how she kept checking periodically to make sure her mother, Karinah, and father, Damian, were still nearby.

I thought of how that need doesn’t really ever go away. Sometimes, no matter the age, you just need your mom.

I asked mine if she would accompany me to Erie for my finger surgery in February.

I knew with her assistance, the day would pass by with ease. She had me in stitches (no pun intended) just before the surgery, which made all of it easier to handle.

She writes me notes, which I keep as a reminder that she’s always rooting for me. Some are from when I was a teenager, while others are “Have a good day” notes, which are just as meaningful.

I often wonder what it must be like to be a mother. For now, I have my assumptions and the wonderful bond I have with my own to go on.

But I?believe it must be something that can only be explained through experience.

There are all kinds of mothers – grandmothers, great-grandmothers, godmothers and foster mothers – and the natural love they show cannot be duplicated.

Whether or not the bond is biological, the love is just as real and special.

I?understand Mother’s Day, like all holidays, can be difficult for some, which is why we should keep in mind those who may be grieving for their own reasons.

I wish all mothers a peaceful holiday.