Comings and goings…Everyone has a story, share yours

Although my full-time journalism career ended five years ago this month — sooner than I planned— I soon discovered that once “a reporter, always a reporter.” It’s in your blood.

Thanks to the kindness of Mountain Breeze former owners Dave and Cathy and now thanks to Scott and Meda, I have the privilege to write a column for this publication.

Rutherford Weekly in Forest City accepted my first freelance stories just a few months after my 48 and 1/2 year newspaper career ended.

The true friends I made along my newspaper career are still my friends. 

At the funeral of Susan Vance Hendrick on Saturday, Sept. 9, I reconnected briefly with her brother Marny Hendrick, my boss at the Rutherford County News (RCN) in Rutherfordton.

After a hug and condolences, Marny asked me, “What kind of stories are you finding to write?“ I quickly assured him I was finding a lot of stories. Marny was our editor at the RCN and he taught me a lot about newspapers, people and responsibility. The late Charles Tomblin hired me at the RCN as their typesetter and “you know the rest of the story.”

I found the job I loved and stayed with the job. In 1994 I went to the Daily Courier after the Rutherford County News was purchased by the owners at the Courier. For a few years I never felt I was going to work at all. 

Since I don’t have to show up for a work schedule, I have discovered the wonderful freedoms of volunteering, spending more time with family, in my yard and writing for Rutherford Weekly. I am also in the office 10 hours a week.

The fact I learned early on in this journalism career, everyone has a story and there are more stories than there is time to tell them. Discovering at least four new stories last week, I’m convinced what I believed is absolutely the truth.

Writing stories is just a part of me after all these years.

Joining my great-niece and great-nephew at the Movement Fest in Forest City on Saturday, I chatted with a young mother who was with her two children. She has an amazing story about their births and I plan to share it soon.

Early on in my career I met some wonderful friends in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure and cherished the time together who shared stories with me.

I witnessed the resilience of people in the Gorge as they’ve faced a devastating flood and reported on several major fires there – the last the Party Rock Fire.

Thanks for sharing your stories; you’ve enhanced my joy.

The people persevered and shared their stories. Many are now retired, some have passed away and yet their memories will live on. Their stories are recorded in bound copies of the newspapers on the shelves of the Genealogical Society of Rutherford County and some on microfilm at the library at Isothermal Community College.

When someone mentioned a prayer concern recently for a person about to receive a double lung transplant, my mind immediately went back to the story of a woman in Forest City who had the same surgery at least 35 years ago. I interviewed her at her home. She was a brave woman.

Hearing of a heart transplant just the other day, I remembered the Rutherford County woman who was Carolina Medical Center’s first ever heart transplant recipient. Her family and the hospital shared the story with us. I haven’t forgotten the press conference in Charlotte when she walked out and sat at the table with the doctors.

I’m so grateful to you for sharing your lives and stories with me. You’re the best. You’ve made my life better. Your stories have taught me about courage, strength, happiness, success and loving others.

So if you have a story, give me a call. I’m not finished writing them, yet.

Jean Gordon is an award winning journalist who has written about Rutherford County for over half a century. Email her at

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