Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend...

The City of Virginia Beach is going to tear down the Kempsville Recreation Center in order to build a new one. I'm all for progress, but it's a little bittersweet. It's like losing an old friend.

In the fourth grade, my mom signed my sister and me up for swim lessons in the almost Olympic-sized pool. A tornado or straight winds came through and ripped the roof off of the pool. We had to have swim lessons in a neighborhood pool while they were repairing the REC. Everyone was excited about the new center, but the pool was out of commission for a while.

I also landed my first part-time job there in November of 1983. I was a tenth grader and the new part-time receptionist on Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday evenings. My first Saturday was during one of the Santa's Stocking craft shows. It was chaos, but I wouldn't have traded it for the world.

It was the best job ever. Don't tell Parks and Recreation. I would have done the job for free. Every teenaged boy came there to play soccer, basketball, and racquetball, and we had a skateboard ramp in the summers. I kept that part-time job through high school and college. I also added extra hours by working in the Teen Lounge and the ID Office.

I learned a lot of life and work lessons there. The staff was great. I honed my customer service skills because on weekends we were one of the only city offices open, and we got a lot of strange phone calls.

I also met a lot of characters and had adventures there. And that's always great fodder for a mystery writer!

This is me in my staff golf shirt at the 10th Anniversary Party.

This is me in my staff golf shirt at the 10th Anniversary Party.