I’m new here. Let’s get that out of the way right now.
I come from New Jersey and fervently hope nobody will hold that against me – a futile wish in much of this country. But, if anything has impressed me during the past month, it’s how darned nice everyone is here.
People return a reporter’s calls, and they make an honest effort to answer questions. The police try to be helpful. And there’s seven-digit dialing.
I haven’t encountered seven-digit dialing in 30 years – not in Jersey, not in California, not in Arizona and not in Florida. It saves a lot of wear and tear on the fingers. At least, when you get used to it. I think I’m getting the hang, but at least once each day, I have to stifle the urge to dial “1-607.” I know that with hard work and dedication I’ll be seven-digit dialing with the best of ‘em before long.
Naturally, that means I’ll also eventually try to seven-digit dial someone in Albany. Every silver lining has a cloud, to steal an old Julian Schnable song title.
One thing I don’t have to get used to is that there are a lot of Yankees and Giants fans here, along with anguished Mets and Jets fans. That’s certainly a blessing in common with Jersey. And when I say “Jersey,” I mean north Jersey. The southern part of the state is another world, full cranberry bogs, stunted pine trees and Eagles fans.
One of my first assignments for The Daily Star was to cover the dedication of the renovated campus at Springbrook near Milford. It’s beautiful, and the staff is exceptionally dedicated. I wish everyone could take the same tour I received, being able to see firsthand staff members working with children. It was inspiring.