Is It My Imagination…

…or is everybody aging at an incredibly accelerated rate?

I was prompted to think about this because of a call that came in Saturday. My friend Joy called to ask if I’d come to a little surprise get-together for her husband Scott on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Normally, I wouldn’t put his actual age out there, but you’ll see it on the picture of his cake anyway.

Spicy!

Scott is the chief photographer at NewsChannel 3 (the station DOTR as Joe Larkins used to say on his blog… it still hurts to know he’s not blogging anymore). Scott and I spent many a day out in the trenches back in the days when I was an honest working journalist. One of his favorite lunch spots back in the day was Saigon Le in Midtown. It always seemed that the family that ran the restaurant was trying to come up with the hottest spices they could to test out on Scott. As you may have noticed from articles in the Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Flyer, a member of the family has opened their own spot in Collierville, called Nu Que Huong. Scott lives out that way, so he’s at the new place all the time. There were three former NC3ers at the party, and the owner recognized the two of us who actually ate at Saigon Le regularly. Incredible, since I hadn’t been there since 1997!

50? Yikes!

Anyway, not only was Scott’s lovely wife Joy on hand, their daughters were there as well. One is 18, the other 15. Many of the Christmas cards I got this year feature photographs of many of children of close friends. I can’t help but be amazed as how old these kids are getting. It seems like most of these kids hadn’t even been born when I first moved here in 1990. Most of the older ones are in college now, like Steve Hayslip’s son Andy. In their card, Andy’s actually taller than Steve now! Some of the old gang are actually grandparents. The march of time continues.

Rachel with the birthday boy

Speaking of time, many of my former co-workers will remember the person who has done the most to make sure news actually came out of Channel 3. Rachel Wooldridge is starting her final week at WREG-TV on Monday. Rachel has been at the station for 33 years, most of them as the administrative assistant to a long line of news directors at 3. She’s the first person most of us met on our first day at the station and was usually the last one we talked to on our way out. Rachel didn’t report or shoot or edit or anchor, but she has been the rock of that organization for a very long time. Hundreds of us have come and gone from that place over the years, and it hasn’t really affected what happens there. I wonder what happens at Channel 3 after next week. Rachel says she’s going to sleep in during her first month of retirement; she deserves it. When you hear the cheering on Friday, that’s her. When you hear the crying the following Monday, that will be the folks left at 3.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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10 Responses to Is It My Imagination…

  1. Pam C. Roberson says:

    Rachel has always been the glue holding the newsroom together (at least she was during my nearly 20 years at WREG). I personally fear the place will implode without her.

  2. Joy says:

    Doug, Kate will be thrilled to hear that you think she’s 20. But her mom is not THAT old yet! She’s 18, at least for 3 more months. Good to see you and Pam yesterday. Thanks for coming!

  3. Scott Sutherland says:

    You know sharing a meal with friends and family is one of the most enjoyable things people can do together (in public). The experience is even enjoyable vicariously. One of my favorite television shows is Antony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Speaking of news crews finding great places to eat, another place you and I frequented for lunch (although I remember you didn’t love it) was The Midway Cafe on Poplar, just west of Highland. They had great Club Sandwiches. We also ate at T.J. Mulligans a lot (I think you went for the waitresses). Did we ever go to that Mexican hole in the wall place on Jackson- The Superior? Steve Hayslip and I loved those “size 10 Reebok” burritos. They had a jalapeno and salsa bar on the counter. Yum! It was at the Superior that I learned to wash my hands before I went to the bathroom if I had been eating jalapenos . Thanks again for coming to my 50th birthday lunch OLD friend. And I want to publicly thank my lovely wife and tell her I love her for setting up the soiree. ss

    • Doug Johnson says:

      I’d been to the place on Jackson; I’m not sure whether it was with you or Bussell… I went for the waitresses at a lot of places… can’t do that anymore! Good times.

  4. Joe G. says:

    Who’s going to make monkey bread for Rachel on her last day?

  5. Lurene Cachola Kelley says:

    Happy Birthday Scott!! And Happy Retirement to Rachel – wow – time does march on Doug! Thanks for keeping us updated:)

  6. Peggy Vyncke says:

    Doug- thanks for recapping the party and sharing the pictures.
    Pam- thanks for letting me know about the post thru Facebook
    Scott- Happy Birthday- Hard to believe you turned the BIG 5-0!!! Congrats
    Rachel- I hope you love retirement half as much as I do. I am having so much fun and keeping so busy- the only time I think back about NC3 is when I think of good memories of the great folks with which I had the opportunity to work.
    Miss y’all

  7. Wow! Happy Birthday Scott! It’s been many moons since I was there at the station, but nice to hear you and your family are doing well!

    And Rachael, congrats! You never let me run out of tapes even when I was out the boonies of the mid-south you figured a way to find a bus and get them to and from!

    Happy New Year all!
    -T-

  8. congrats Rachel and Scott and thanks Doug for the article. Steve Hayslip has a grown child?!! I can’t accept that…Thanks Pam C for alerting us to the article on Facebook…

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