• 68°

Wineka column: A life filled with loving what she did

SALISBURY — I couldn’t sleep Wednesday night. I watched an old Deborah Kerr movie, “Tea and Sympathy,” until 2 a.m. and finally forced myself to walk upstairs to bed.
But I just lay there for another hour, knowing that my friend — everyone’s friend — Rose Post was probably in her last hours.
Several weeks ago, I had accompanied Salisbury Post co-worker Jeana Spry to the facility on N.C. 150 where Rose was living. You couldn’t really call it living. The ravages of Alzheimer’s had long ago stolen Rose and transported her who knows where.
I hoped it was a place where she was meeting all the people she had interviewed in her life, just to listen to their stories one more time.
I hoped she was presiding over a large family meal back at her sprawling house on East Corriher Avenue.
I hoped she was riding shotgun with photographers James Barringer or Wayne Hinshaw on the way to a scoop. You said things to Rose Post you would not confess to a priest.
I hoped her husband, Eddie, was with her.
I hoped she was mothering all the young reporters again.
I hoped I was in there, somewhere, young again.
Rose couldn’t speak and had to be fed and bathed like a baby. She seemed so tiny in her bed. A baby bird, I thought. This was not, of course, the Rose I remembered. She wasn’t even wearing her trademark spectacles.
Rose made a little peep of what seemed like recognition when Jeana, who visited her frequently, walked to the side of the bed, bent down and gave her a kiss.
I swear her eyes twinkled as Jeana spoke to her, and they stayed fixed on Jeana, then me, as I took her place and held Rose’s hand and felt her paper-thin skin.
I stammered out a greeting but knew the words were not penetrating. Still, Rose’s eyes would not leave me.
In the years before Rose retired in 2007, we shared a corner of the newsroom we laughingly called Shady Rest — a place, I guess, where old reporters go out to pasture. (Plus, the fluorescent light above us was always out, thus putting us in the shade.)
From Shady Rest, I had a front-row seat to this spectacle that was Rose Post’s life:
• The people waiting at her desk, like patients in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.
• The telephone interviews that went for an hour or more.
• The high negotiations she had with family members, who always used her as a sounding board.
• The constant tap-tap-tap of her keyboard.
• Her pogo-stick days of standing up, greeting old friends, giving them hugs, then sitting them down to hear their stories.
But my favorite times of the day were when she looked over the cubicle wall that separated us and said so sincerely, “Mark, can you believe our jobs? Don’t you just love what we do?”
She would sigh and return to her keyboard or the telephone receiver.
I probably fell asleep Thursday morning about the time Rose Post left this world. My wife woke me later with a pat on the shoulder, telling me we had just received a telephone call with the news.
On the way to work, I started humming the stanza from a Joan Baez song, “Hello in There”:
Me and Loretta, we don’t talk much more.
She sits and stares through the back-door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream, that we’ve both seen.
All day I kept holding Rose’s hand and looking into those eyes.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

Education

RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

Business

Inspired by advice from father-in-law, Angela Mills launches her own business in memory of him

Local

Rowan County Democrats re-elect leaders, pass resolutions

Local

Baseball: Memories come alive in Ferebee book

Local

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, professionals reflect on detecting abuse in a virtual world

Business

Biz Roundup: Small Business Center announces spring slate of workshop for business owners

Clubs

Kiwanis Pancake Festival starts Friday

Local

Rowan fire marshal seeks to clear up confusion, worry caused by solicitation letter

Education

Fun every day: Fifth anniversary for Yadkin Path Montessori School

Nation/World

Charles: Royal family ‘deeply grateful’ for support for Philip

News

North Carolina sites to resume J&J vaccines after CDC review

News

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Playoff time means get ready for ‘big-boy football’

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT