Hello to my hometown

By Vivian Collings

Two songs have been playing on repeat in my head for the past week: Hello, Goodbye by the Beatles and Changes by David Bowie.
The two lines in particular, “You say goodbye, and I say hello,” and, “Turn and face the strange changes,” are on a loop.
Darren said goodbye to us last week.
He has decided to head off on well-earned new adventures after devoting much of his time to the community and lending his photography and storytelling talents to our papers for 15+ years. We will certainly miss him.
I’m saying hello.
Hello, as the new editor of the Echo and County Life, to my hometown.
Strange, exciting changes all around.
If we haven’t met yet, I’m Vivian, and I grew up in Haliburton County; going to school at Archie Stouffer Elementary School and Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, skating at the SG Nesbitt and AJ LaRue arenas, swimming in the Gull River and Kashagawigamog Lake, and marching in parades as a 1129 Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment army cadet.
When I went away to post-secondary school, I quickly found that no place is quite like this.
When I lived in the city, nobody stopped me on the main street to swap life updates, I didn’t get invited to any last minute bonfires, dinners, hockey games, or four-wheeler rides, I never got asked if I was so-and-so’s daughter, and I didn’t get to see any of my past teachers in line at the grocery store.
I would follow Haliburton County events on social media, wishing so badly to be there in person.
Now, I’m back to stay, and I’m so excited to get to share news and photos of our beloved county through print with a focus on community and the amazing people in it.
As excited as I am, I’d also be holding back if I didn’t say that I’m nervous, as well.
I recently had a wonderful visit from Martha Perkins, former editor of the Echo who worked here for 25 years, when she came to town a few weeks ago.
We met in her old office, which is now my office, the same office that I used to look up at as a kid walking by, dreaming about the job she was doing inside.
Among valuable tips, advice, and words of encouragement, we also discovered a shared love for the people in this community.
Much like Darren said in his last editorial, I am also harder on myself than anyone ever could be to me.
Martha said that in ten years, I will, inevitably, be more experienced at my job than I am now, and ten years from that, I will be even more so. I can only be who I am now at this very moment.
As editor, I want to give you perfection, but, I’m also human.
So, here’s to giving you my best in this current moment. That’s my promise: to give this job my very best, every single day.
The last thing Martha said was that, as editor, I am now a steward of the paper to “keep it safe and healthy.”
These publications are for you, not for me.
They are about our community, and I’m the one who gets to push it forward and take care of it for those who will come after me.
So, here’s to facing strange changes and saying hello to new beginnings.
If we haven’t met, please don’t hesitate to give me a call, 705-457-1037 ext. 39, send me an email, vivian@haliburtonpress.com, or stop me to chat on the street.