It’s Been 22 Years…My Baby’s Grown Up and I’m Still Rockin’ [PHOTOS]
It was just after 8am on November 24th 1990. My precious baby girl, Emily….no, wait….Michelle, was born. We agreed on Michelle over Emily on our way to the hospital that morning. Compared to Matt’s birth, a tad more than three years before that (18 hours of labor), this one was quick!
I was there for Michelle’s birth and excited I was a dad again! A boy and a girl. Our family was complete. I hung out in the delivery room for about a half hour with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Anne. Then, around 9 am, I headed over to the, then, Casco Bank Building to do my first (Saturday) show on 92 Moose.
Mac Dickson (Then known as Bruce Mainerd….everyone to that point had “Maine oriented” monikers…like Rocky Coast, Rocky Road, Kenny Becker, etc.) hired me even though we hadn’t officially met before that morning. The whole back story is kind of interesting, though. Here it is, in a nutshell.
I knew the general manager of 92 Moose at the time and he was my initial and only face to face contact until that point. He got the ball rolling with Mac (Bruce) and they decided to give me a shot. I was to replace the current morning guy, Big Al Lagash. Before I did so, I had to sign a contract.
I met the GM, Jim, at Alfred’s (now 99) in Augusta. We had dinner and drinks. Enough drinks so I was able to convince Jim to scribble into the contract that I would use my own name, Jon James, on the air. I didn’t want to be known by a made up name that sounded hokey, especially being from the area where I know so many people. Thus, the end of an era. No more names like the “Moose” originals. The names undoubtedly helped take the Moose from unknown to a powerhouse in no time at all. I came on just riding my predecessors’ coattails.
So, back to November 24th. It was, in retrospect, a mistake leaving the hospital to go on 92 Moose that morning. All these years later Mac likes to point out that I didn’t HAVE to come to work that day given I had a good reason not to. But I was so excited to start this new (no, 2 new) chapter(s) in my life. It makes for interesting conversation whenever we talk about either Michelle’s birth or my starting at The Moose.
Over the past 22 years, we’ve definitely seen ups and downs. I even quit my job once, calling the program director at the time and giving him two weeks notice. I was so fed up with the management at the time that I was both physically and mentally sick. I ended up staying through it all, though, and Renee stayed through it with me.
From time to time I wonder where I’d be today if I had left and gone with the wind, the way so many in radio do. But, all-in-all, it’s been a good ride and now I’m very happy about where I landed and glad that I stayed. I couldn’t ask for a better team from Mac and Renee, to our general manager Al Perry and everyone else. Best quality people I’ve ever worked with.
As for Michelle, she continues to make me proud….graduating high school with honors, excelling in nursing school and being the proverbial apple of her daddy’s eye with her good sense, incredible skills, strong compassion and great work ethic. She’s the best and, If I could do it all over again, I would have waited another day to start my new job.