I recently celebrated an anniversary: five years at KMOV-TV. And they have been the best five years of my career. Now, hold on. This is not a subtle attempt to accrue points with the brass at KMOV. On occasion, subtlety eludes me. This is an unabashed love letter to my colleagues and the city I am glad to call home.
It was a Saturday in January 2002 when I arrived in Saint Louis...my car stuffed with clothes and rolling on hope. I had driven the six hours from Atlanta, passing the miles by reminding myself why I had chosen a job in local television news over one anchoring at a network. Family, friends, and flexibility were my mantra. This was what I wanted.
The first day in the newsroom went well. No one expected me to remember names and everyone was welcoming. That's a huge compliment in an industry accurately portrayed in print and pictures as being aggressively competitive. By day three, I was on the air. The. new. girl. Eager to be liked and praying NOT to mispronounce Gravois or Des Peres. Five years later, Bonne Terre still makes me stutter.
My Archway adventure had begun. First hamburger: Blueberry Hill followed by dancing downstairs. First sit-down dinner: King Louie. And by month's end, my brother, who was in town for the Executive MBA Program at Washington University, treated me to dinner at Tony's. I was navigating the city with a culinary compass.
And so the months passed. I bought a place in the Central West End, learned a few shortcuts in north county where my aunt and uncle lived, and discovered that "Where'd you go to school?" meant high school not college. It was different but charming. A place large enough to have three professional sports teams but small enough and real enough for community to serve as a personal pivot.
Over the years, I have made friends, found my charitable niche, and stumbled onto a hairstylist I have tried but can't live without (ditto for the drycleaners). My weekends allow me to fly next door to Arkansas to see my parents or if my mind needs airing out, I hit the road for the seven hour drive. Either way I haven't seen my parents this much since high school. Life is good.
It is complemented by working with a group of news professionals distinguished as much by their personal integrity as their professional excellence. Management assembled the team and together we try to present the news of the day so you know what happened at home, in our nation, and around the world. Some days our newscast rocks...fast-paced, so much news you need a commercial break just to digest it all. And many of you have made us a part of your evening routine. Thank you. It is more than I dared hope when my car pulled into downtown five years ago.