Ni Hao, hallo, aloha, bonjour and hola!
Those are about all the ways I know to say “hello,” but on to the point. My name is Travis Grimler.
Quite possibly there are some of you for whom this will be the very first time reading anything written by me, but some of you know me personally, others may have read an article or two written by me when I was lucky enough to be an intern with the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo newspapers.
Regardless of whether you’ve ever heard my name before, I’m very happy to announce I’m back.
In last week’s issue editor Nancy Vogt introduced herself and kindly announced my return. Now I guess it is my turn.
I’m a local, so many of you have seen me around town from time to time. I attended Backus Elementary School while it was still in operation, and in seventh grade I moved on up to Pine River-Backus High School, as was the custom for Backus kids in those days.
I went to Bemidji State University (BSU) in 2004 and did well at classes, but nobody would hire me for my first two years. I had worked for seven years at the Backus Corner Store and Gun Shop. But in Bemidji, where hundreds of students flocked in need of education and beer money, I couldn’t even get a job dishwashing.
In my third year I was hired by the campus newspaper, The Northern Student. They paid by the photo and by the story. In my senior year they asked me to be the news editor.
In 2008 my adviser convinced me to apply to graduate school, and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, where I could teach freshman English in exchange for free classes. At that time I was up to my eyeballs in debt, so without some way to pay for it, a Master’s Degree would have been out of the question.
I started my Master’s education in the fall of 2008, and in the summers of 2009 and 2010 I had the great pleasure of working as an intern with the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. In 2011, I graduated with a Master of Arts in English Literature.
That summer I taught Journalism and Investigative Writing with BSU’s Upward Bound program, and in the fall I went to China’s Liaoning University to teach Spoken English.
I returned home in July and worked odd jobs while applying all over the state for writing and teaching jobs.
I’ll admit that I wanted to work with the Pine River Journal again, so it was bittersweet when I saw former editor Kelly Virden’s last column.
When I last worked for the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo, I had made friends with many of my fellow workers. Even though I was excited to apply for the opening she left, I was perhaps equally sad that Kelly, as well as others, would no longer be working in the same office as I was.
The last time I had the chance to write for you readers, I loved every second of it, as I am sure I will this time. I have been assured that, in spite of all the changes we have experienced together, the Pine River Journal and the Lake Country Echo will continue to provide coverage of our respective areas for years to come.
I will do my best to make sure that that coverage is the best I can offer.
We are here to serve you, the community, so please don’t hesitate to write, call or even say hi if you see me on the street.