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Change is never easy

If there is one constant in life, it is that everything changes. Nothing ever truly remains the same and many people, myself included, struggle with this fact.

I like to think that I still act the same as I did when I was in my 20s, and my wife sometimes asks me if I am 12 when she catches me eating a bowl of Frankenberry cereal on a Saturday morning. Hey, it’s only available for a limited time during the Halloween season, so I have to enjoy it while I can, right?

But the truth of the matter is, even though my mind still thinks I’m a youngster, my body often tells me otherwise. My knees crack and pop daily, my vision seems to be declining faster every day, and my hair — which once resembled the large, poofy styles popular with 1980s hard rock bands — now has more white than its original color. 

The seasons change with summer giving way to fall and before we know it snow will be flying. That means it is time to change around the shed, moving the lawn tractor to the back and bringing the snowblower to the front and also searching for the snow shovels that somehow get buried under a pile of toys and other items.

Change in the workplace can also be difficult. This past week, the Houlton Pioneer Times said goodbye to one of its longest tenured employees when receptionist Wanda MacIlroy retired. Wanda was the first person people saw when they walked into the Pioneer Times office or first voice they heard if they called and for the past 20 years has been the unofficial spokesperson for the paper.

If there was a disgruntled customer who did not get a paper delivery, she was the one to field the call or speak to them in person. Wanda had an ability to defuse almost any situation, and yes I can admit that I was more than a wee bit jealous of that ability.

Her calming tone seemed to smooth any person’s ruffled feathers. Her voice was so soothing that she has served as “Mrs. Claus” on the local radio station reading “Letters to Santa.”

Being a small, tight-knit office means we are also more like family. Never was that more evident than when my mother passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Wanda was one of the first people to step forward and offer any support she could to both myself or my wife and children and I am eternally grateful for that. She would also regularly tell me that “you can’t do it all,” if I happened to miss an assignment due to family obligation.

From your family here at the Houlton Pioneer Times office, good luck in your retirement, Wanda. You will be missed. And yes, you can stop in and get a paper each Wednesday.

Joseph Cyr is the assistant editor for The Star-Herald, Aroostook Republican, Houlton Pioneer Times and St. John Valley Times, plus the websites TheCounty.ME and He can be reached at (207) 532-2281 or via email at

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