Wauwatosa columnist Peggy Dean, in her own words

Aug. 19, 2014

Winter, summer, spring or fall, every single working day of the year is a September kind of day for me. Let's see if I can explain that.

In September, an intangible something happens. Can't hear it, see it, smell it or taste it. But it's real. Perhaps we can attribute it to schools opening everywhere. Thousands of textbooks spilling over with words. Reams of blank white looseleaf paper impatient to be filled with thoughts and discoveries.

For whatever reason, September crackles with a certain sense of something stirring out there just waiting to be learned. I can think of nothing more electric than that.

And that's exactly the feeling of excitement that lives in the newsroom, greets me when I walk in, stays with me most of the day. Who knows what stories will present themselves, what things I'll hear that I've never heard before? How many interesting people I'll converse with before I go home?

Phones ring all around me. Computers hum. Reporters drop by with complete stories in hand or dash out to cover new ones. Hello. Goodbye. Loved your story last week. At one desk, a reporter is talking to someone at the White House, requesting a photo of Socks, the Clintons' cat, for a upcoming feature. Another reporter tactfully assures a caller that a recipe published last week does indeed call for four eggs, not two, no matter how the caller's mother used to make that same cake.

In a somewhat quiet corner, another reporter conducts an interview with a senator, turning to shush a couple of co-workers arguing about how to spell Caribbean while reaching for dictionaries.

Down the hall, editors hang out in their offices, doors open, sometimes intent, sometimes loose, almost always available.

The big boss stops by the newsroom on a particularly hectic day to find some of us eating sandwiches at our desks.

"Take a lunch break," he commands, reaching into the refrigerator for his own lunch, consisting of one Diet Coke.

And somebody says for everybody, "We will when you do."


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