“Click-clack,” my white ankle-strap high heels were sure to alert everyone that I was coming. I walked up the hill to the entrance to the Daily American Republic newspaper office as gracefully as I could in my lavender skirt suit. I was determined to present myself as a professional. After all, I was going to be the best mailroom girl they had ever seen!
I was sure I could deliver mail with the best of them, and straight out of high school, land a desk job, well watch out this girl was on fire. I was already on my way to the top! Or so I thought, as I walked up the stairs to the main entrance, smiling so hard I could feel my lips quiver.
“I’m here for maintenance in the mailroom,” I said softly. “Oh, well, you should be downstairs, honey, let me call it for you,” said Mrs. Marilyn, the receptionist.
“Are you sure you’re here for the mailroom?” she said looking puzzled.
A few minutes later, a man came upstairs to greet me. “It’s very nice to meet you, but I don’t think this is the job you were applying for,” he said quickly.
Wait, what, what job did I apply for, I thought I was delivering mail in the mail room.
“Yes, yes sir, whatever job is available, that’s the job I was applying for,” I quickly replied.
He just gave me a dubious shrug and took me downstairs to give me the full circle. The printing press was noisy, the paper at that time was still printed here at the Poplar Bluff office.
It was hot and the line was moving fast.
“Do you still want the job,” he said.
“Yes sir, I’ll come dressed, uh, different tomorrow,” I said, laughing.
The next day I worked downstairs making inserts. I got to see the press racing and the hard work that was put in by literally everyone involved. But my time in the mailroom would be brief. The next day, I was told that a position upstairs had just become available and that if I wanted it, it was mine.
Of course I wanted to. I mean I was in town now. It was my first “real job”. I felt like I had just been given the world.
I quickly accepted the job in circulation, where I would stay for a year before bouncing around in several other office roles and eventually landing in a writing position for Puxico Press, which at the time had just been purchased as a sister journal. I loved this job, but after a few years I decided to go to college and have kids.
That was 20 years ago and when I walk into the DAR today I still feel like home. Most of the faces have changed, but have been replaced by equally kind and driven people that I am sure to call my friends.
I’ve met some of the best people ever at DAR and even though we don’t speak to each other every day or even every week, we follow each other and have a real bond.
I dressed for the job I wanted, not the job I applied for, but that was an accidental mistake. Here I am 20 years later, back where I started, but honestly, I couldn’t be happier.
My name is on the wallboard now and I have my own little light, I’ll let it shine!
Misty DeJournett is a staff writer at the Daily American Republic and can be reached at [email protected]