It’s always hard to say goodbye to someone who’s become a good friend, even when you know it’s not really “goodbye” in the true sense of the word.

But having said that, all of us at the Coastal Journal are having to say those words to our friend, the editor and general manager of this paper, the Coastal Journal. Her name is Raye Leonard, but because I like to be annoyingly theatrical, I’ve always called her Rachelle.

When we first moved to Maine in the 1970s, the CJ was pretty much a flier, but as anyone around here knows, it’s grown to a viable, juicy and good paper filled with invaluable local and all-Maine info. It’s a good read, it is fun and informative, and as cliché as it sounds, there’s something in the CJ for everyone.

It’s come a long way, baby, and much of its depth, visual attractiveness, articulateness and promise is because since 2013 Rachelle Leonard has been at the helm.

I remember when I made the decision to try to convince Raye Shelly Leonard, someone I’d never met, that I’d be a great hire. I wrote and rewrote and fine-tuned an email to her explaining my “situation,” stating where and what I’d written before, and for a long while not having the courage to hit SEND.

I did all I could to convince her that I’d be a perfect fit and finally, I did push SEND and walked away. In a very short period of time, this good woman named Rachelle answered me and said, “Of course you can write for us!”

She’d read my columns in the past and “knew” me.

Exhale!

My experience at the CJ has been all the way good. Rachelle has been unendingly kind to me, gracious and wise. If I made mistakes in print, she never scolded or berated, she just kindly explained. I never really understood how a woman with so much on her plate could be so gentle and easy-going. I have always trusted Rachelle and have absolutely always been able to count on her.

She also edited my book, “Queenie,” and so if that book is ever described as “good” it is because of her, and I know it. Her advice was always spot on. Not only was she running the Coastal Journal, Rachelle was, amongst other things, teaching a writing course, editing other people’s books, doing her own writing, being involved in her community and dealing with a large blended family. Talk about daunting.

So as of now, my pal Rachelle is steering a new course in other directions and I, for one, am eager to see her succeed. After all, it’s pretty obvious that Rachelle Leonard is all about success.

Thank you, Raye, for saying “yes” to me, all those years ago. Because of you I now know I can continue on in the CJ as it moves to another place, and I am happy.

Writing LC’s Take has been and is the most joyful of journeys and because of the column, I’ve met so many terrific people, all because you said “yes.”

It’s been a real pleasure, Rachelle, every inch of the way, and I am so eager to watch you thrive in your next incarnation. You will be just as proud of what’s coming as you should be proud of what’s done.

So farewell good friend Rachelle.

Lunch soon? My treat.

LC Van Savage is a Coastal Journal contributing writer. She can be reached at:
[email protected]

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