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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 2 - Serendipity At Work

I got the phone call that changed my life in November 1977.

You see, for the last seven years, I’d been editor of the News-Times, a struggling newspaper in Placentia, California, working 60-hour weeks for not a whole lot of money, a dead-end job with no future and no apparent way out. And, to put it mildly, I didn’t get along with the publisher.

There was only one solution. I had to get out.

There was only one problem. I had nowhere to go.

There was still only one solution and I took it. I typed out a letter of resignation, left it on the publisher’s desk, and waited for him to come in. After the usual tirade, we decided that I would stay two weeks, and then leave.

So I sat at my desk, papers piled high around me, and contemplated the future. Maybe I could go into business as a genealogist (my hobby then and now). I hadn’t looked for a job in years. When faced with the actual change, I had no idea what to do next, not even who to call.

That’s when the phone rang.

“Hi, this is Earl Shelley.” I hadn’t heard from Earl in years. He was an old family friend, founder of the News-Times and my first boss there. He’d sold out four years earlier.

“I hear you just quit,” he said. “An old friend of mine is looking for an editor for a newspaper he just bought. Would you like to talk to him?”

Would I? “Yes,” I said. What else was there to say? We set an appointment for lunch.

Turns out lunch was with Herb Sutton, owner of all the Pennysavers from Irvine south, a multi-millionaire who had just purchased a grimy little paper from Corona del Mar called the Newport Ensign.

“Here’s what I want to do,” he said after we’d chatted for a while about my background. “I just bought this newspaper. It’s got a few hundred subscribers, been around for decades.”

He handed me a copy. Poorly printed, poorly written, mostly the mouthpiece for the owner’s political views.

“I want to make this the most powerful newspaper in Newport Beach,” he said. (For you out of area readers, Newport Beach is a beach resort community, playground for the rich and famous, home to millionaires.) “Will you be my editor?”

I have no idea what I said, other than yes. Two weeks later I was working in a big office in one of the towers in Newport Center, planning the new, upgraded newspaper that would end up making a huge splash in Newport Beach and win the coveted California Newspaper Publishers Association “Best Large Circulation Weekly Newspaper in California” award three years running.

I later moved to Irvine, California, where I still live today.

When I think back to that week in November, I am still amazed at the coincidence. If I had not quit my job at that very moment, the opportunity would have passed forever. Another editor would have taken that job and I might still be living in Placentia.

At that moment, something called me to make a change in my life. That one action I took that day, the scariest action I had ever taken, set in motion events that still resonate today.

Just remember, if you follow your heart, if you take action, even scary action, you will put yourself on a new road you have designed just for you.

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