Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

Our first meeting was an interesting one. I had been hired as her boss at the local paper. She took me to see one of her oldest friends and clients. I was told by the customer, in no uncertain terms, that if I took her away as this client’s advertising lady, she would no longer advertise.

That’s the kind of loyalty she inspired in this and many, many other customers of the newspaper. Of course, I wasn’t going to change out her rep! Who would make that kind of mistake on their first day at the office!

It was so nice when the paper group still used the Soledad Bee office next to mine. We could just catch up over a cup of tea, or I could go in there and pillage old stories of mine I had misplaced or get the scoop on local happenings. But times change, as they do, and the Bee office closed.

Sheryl Bailey

I was only her boss per se for about 5 minutes, and then I changed my job from newspaper to real estate, but we remained firm friends. Over the years, we would visit each other in hospital — there’s friendship for you — we would show up to each other’s stuff (thank you for always coming to my book signings and making this local author feel as if people really do still read books!). We would enjoy a lunch occasionally at the little hometown Mexican restaurant equidistant from our two offices, where we would catch up on the prior months and do a little late birthday or Christmas celebration.

We would always just jump right in there where we left off. How are the kids and the grandkids? How’s the paper world? Yes, of course I have another book coming out. You know — old friend banter.

She adopted a little black scrawny dog from SCAR when the charity was first starting out. Originally, she was just going to foster the pooch, but her big old heart would have bust at the seams if she’d had to say goodbye, so she took her in full time. “I can’t foster,” she told me. “I’d have to keep them all!” But she was always an enormous supporter of the rescue anyway and helped out when she could.

I loved seeing her at the SCAR and Soledad Museum tea party fundraisers. She would come with her grandchildren, and I think they loved it nearly as much as she did! In fact, she was an enormous supporter of all kinds of needy causes, quietly helping with ad costs or buying tickets or working behind the scenes. I got to sit with her and her bestie at the Rita Tavernetti fundraiser in the spring, and it was so fun to sit and break bread with her for an evening (also the most luscious tiramisu known to man that she purchased for the table at the cake walk).

“Sister Sheryl,” as her old friend and advertiser always calls her, is retiring from the newspaper business in the coming days. I couldn’t believe it when she told me the news. I thought she would always be there, like an institution that could never close its doors. But change comes to all and even newsies get to retire on occasion.

I am super happy for her — she so deserves some peace and quiet and beach time that she loves and doesn’t get enough of — but I’m sad for all of us. For 22 years, she has loyally and diligently serviced clients and friends with her happy voice and big hugs. She has been a constant in the local newspaper world that has known little constancy these past few years. She reminds me of my deadlines and reminds me again when I am still forgetting my deadlines. She listens to me when I need to vent, she helps me when I’m down. Yeah, one of those kinds of friends. And I’m sure many people feel that way about her.

Fortunately, she won’t be leaving the area, so we will still be able to meet for cups of tea or Mexican food and kick the dust, share the scoop. I imagine she will have more time to cruise with the besties now and love on her beautiful grandchildren. I told her that the title of my next book of columns is going to be “Tomorrow Is Not Promised,” and she liked that. She gets the concept. She will soon be enjoying her today and her tomorrows without the pressures of work and deadlines.

Thank you, Sheryl, for all the years and the friendship. I know you are leaving your considerable desk in good hands, and I do hope you will still remind me of my deadlines, check my ads and read my stories.

Much love —

Your advertiser and friend,



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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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