Farewell for Now

Lillian Nolin, columnist, editor and news writer for South Bay's “Neighbor” Newspaper is retiring after 33 years at the paper and 65 years in the field of journalism. How grateful am I that my brief time here overlapped with hers. How fortunate am I to have been exposed to a true “original,” in every sense of the word.

Lillian was born and raised in Lindenhurst and, as such, saw fit to spend her entire career within the confines of the hometown she had come to know and love. She began writing as a child and, at the age of 14, joined the staff of “The Broadcast,” then the student-run newspaper of Lindenhurst High School. In 1941, her official career as a journalist began as a reporter for the now-defunct Lindenhurst Star. She worked there for several years, then took a job at Newsday as a “society editor,” dabbling in photography and writing feature stories. After a year, though, she found herself back at the Star – back home – which had by this point broadened its scope to include the surrounding areas and was now known as The Babylon Town Leader.

Lillian joined the staff of the original South Bay Newspaper, owned by the Freedman family for over 50 years, in August of 1973. The paper was already 20 years old by that time, and well-established as THE community newspaper of Lindenhurst. She started as a news writer, and over time added the title of columnist with the debut of “Just Among Friends,” a collection of goings-on in the community, society announcements, local gossip, etc.

So, why leave? Why now? “I just have a feeling that it's time,” she said. “I've been semi-retired for some time, so it was a natural progression. I feel good about my decision. It will be nice to enjoy more time with my family, to maybe travel a little...I'll be free to enjoy new ventures.”

Lillian plans to become more involved in her local church, to catch up on her reading, and of course to continue writing. She may look into republishing a book she wrote years ago; she may appear as a “guest columnist” from time to time in South Bay. ”Who knows?” she shrugged. “I'm open to anything.”

As for regrets, she has few, if any. “I'd do it all the same again. Working with interesting people is a joy. I made many friends throughout the years...I just love Lindy – I have such roots here. My father was once the mayor, my brother was the police chief...it's been wonderful being so involved in a community for so long...and I'll still be around!” She went on, “It just gives me such a wonderful feeling of freedom to be retiring now. All the wonderful memories combined with having no regrets makes retirement easy.”

And so, an era at South Bay News has officially ended, but not completely. Lillian will surely return as a guest writer when the spirit moves her, and her influence will be forever reflected in the pages of the paper for many years to come. No matter how much time passes, no matter how many expansions come and go, Lillian's indelible mark will never fade. I consider myself fortunate to have known and worked with her over these past nine months, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to learn from a true master of her trade, an original, someone who – like me – went into the field because of a true love for writing and stuck with it. Never did she lose her enthusiasm, her lust for life and work, and never did she waver in her resolve to leave when she deemed the time was right.

For this, and for so much more, we at The South Bay salute you, Lillian, and wish you many years of healthy, happy, fulfilling retirement to come.  

And as for me, if I can conclude my career years from now with as much satisfaction and as few regrets as Lillian, I will consider it a grand success.

They're not bad shoes to fill...not at all.


{Published: February 15th, 2006}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment