For December 2021, we are featuring three separate goodbye’s for our wonderful layout and design person, Kathy Summers as well as, one goodbye from Kathy herself. Kathy has been with us a long time and is retiring at the end of 2021. She will be missed by many as evidenced in this four part series of goodbye.
Part 4 is the final part focusing on Kathy’s perspective. She has been writing It’s Summers Time for many years now. It has changed and grown into a chronicle of her life and this one was a special one with the focus on her time here and all of her memories.
It’s Summers Time –
Holidays, Changes And Memories!
As I write this it’s mid-November and it’s one of those incredible weather weeks in Northeast Ohio. It’s 66°F and the sun is shining. It was a beautiful weekend – we actually got some things done outside in anticipation of Winter. And by the end of the week they are predicting snow. So we’ve learned to take advantage of these fleeting days.
It was also Daylight Savings weekend. I know it made sense ‘back in the day’ but now I’m not so sure and not a fan. It was nice that the sun was up when I got up this morning, but it will be almost dark when I go home. I guess there’s always something to complain about.
Things are changing – again – here in Bee Culture land. Can you believe it’s been two years this month since Kim retired as Editor after 33 years. He’s been keeping very busy with writing and podcasts. Hopefully, some of you have been listening to all of that good information. So now our Bee Culture family is going through more changes. Change isn’t always easy, but most of the time it’s necessary.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on and what’s going on for the future. Two years ago Jerry took over as Editor of Bee Culture when Kim was ready to move on. It’s been quite the journey and hopefully most of it has been enjoyable and exciting for Jerry. I’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know him better as a friend and as a boss.
When Jerry walked in the door there was myself, Jean Newcombe and Amanda DeSimone here in the office. We also have Brenda Bray in MN who helps us out with layout and design and who took over BEEKeeping, Your First Three Years quarterly. Although we no longer publish the quarterly Brenda is still a part of our team and helps us out whenever we need her.
In the September issue I talked about Amanda and her moving on after the birth of Liliana. She is doing well and enjoying being a mom. As it turns out her parents are having some health issues and Amanda is concentrating on that. I miss her but we keep in touch on a regular basis.
Now I’d like to talk a bit about Jean. Jean has been in my life for almost 30 years. She is one of my treasures. She worked in the Root Company customer service department for several years and was exceptional at it. Customers would specifically request to talk with her. During that time she had her daughter Katie who is I think 26 now. And then some years later along came her son Jake. Jake had a rough start with some health issues and some special needs that needed to be met. To better accommodate Jake’s needs, Jean left the Root Company and took a position with one of the hospitals in the area that offered her more flexibility. But we always remained close friends.
As Bee Culture went through more changes Jean offered to come back part time, while still working at the hospital, and help us out. And she found her spot with selling advertising and has done and is still doing an amazing job at that. She’s established lasting relationships with so many of the industry people. And as Jake got older Jean was able to travel with Kim and I to several of the National meetings. So many of you got to meet her in person. All this time Jean has also kept her full time position at the hospital getting promoted along the way.
Now comes the next change happening to our little Bee Culture family. Some of you know already that I will be retiring as of December 31 of this year. I’ll be around for the January issue and then I’m moving on down the road.
It’s been a journey I could never have planned or dreamed of. I’ve talked about the details over the years on these pages. When Kim got ready to finally talk about retirement we agreed that we shouldn’t both leave at the same time. We thought that would cause too much disruption and our wish was to have a smooth transition and leave things as neat and tidy as we could. At the time two years seemed so far away and yet here it is.
Oh, the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met. Kim and I have been so incredibly blessed by this journey that we have been on for these 30+ years. We have been to bee meetings all across the U.S. and visited several other countries all while talking and teaching and writing about honey bees. The friends we have made along the way are absolutely amazing and will be with us forever, living on in photos and memories even if we don’t physically cross paths again. Along the way we’ve lost good friends and that’s always hard. But the blessing is that we got to have them in our lives for a time.
And the same goes for here at Root. I have friends that I’ve had for the whole time I’ve been here. Friends that watched my children grow up and turn into adults. Friends that prayed with me and cried with me and laughed with me over whatever was going on in each of our lives over the years. Those friends are family and we’ll be together forever.
The transition with Jerry taking over as editor has gone well. He’s done a great job establishing himself in this new role. Have there been bumps? Yes there have, just like with any family when changes occur. But Bee Culture is surviving and will carry on.
I’m excited about the next chapter and a little afraid. Mostly I’m looking forward to doing a better job with all of the things I’ve been neglecting – bees, chickens, garden, family. Folks have asked what will you do when you retire. Believe me I have a great long list of things that I’d like to do and just haven’t had the time. So, God willing I’ll get to do some of them now.
I might volunteer at the library, I might learn sign language or how to play the guitar (I took lessons about 100 years ago). One Winter goal is to read many of the stacks and stacks of books that surround me at home. That is one of my great passions – reading.
I wrote the first of these columns in the January 2012 issue. I certainly never fancied myself a writer and really still don’t – but Kim said you need to do this. So I just started writing about what was going on in our lives. And over these years I’ve enjoyed writing about the chickens, our travels, kids, friends, the bees and whatever else popped into my head. And you have graciously received my contributions with positive comments. Thank you for that.
So what happens at Bee Culture now? Well we want to introduce you to Emma Wadel. Emma graduated from Kent State University in May with a degree in Graphic Design, and joined our Bee Culture family at the beginning of September. For the last two months Emma has been learning all the jobs here in Publications because we are still short handed. Her main job will be the layout and design of these 100 pages each month. But she’s been doing an amazing job with customer service – answering your phone calls and emails and entering and managing the subscriptions. She’s also been updating our web page and working on our Social Media presence. And she did the lion’s share of this December issue. Emma is young and smart and excited about her new position.
I have a few weeks to try and teach Emma all that I know and along the way give her some history of the A.I. Root Company. Emma doesn’t know anything about bees yet, but neither did I or Jean or Amanda. I think her love of bees will come with time. Who knows, maybe by next Summer we’ll get her in a beesuit and out to the beeyard.
So like Kim when he retired, I won’t be going far – physically or emotionally. We will always have bees for as long as we’re able and hopefully will continue to see many of you along the way. As we head into December I hope your vision of what this holiday season should look like is coming true for you. I fi nd lately that I start so many conversations with “Before Covid we did it this way.” I’m optimistic that this year the holidays will be like they were before and even better. The last two years have been hard for lots of reasons. And many of us have lost family and friends. I hope that your memories of those lost will help you through the season.
At our house we’ll have some with us this year who haven’t been there in awhile and we are excited about that. We have a wonderfully big dining room table and I hope it will be full this year. I hope your’s will be too.
From both Kim and I, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please keep in touch. My new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.