Throughout my years as a student journalist, and as a local journalist in and around the California area, I met new people and written many stories about the lives of the most interesting individuals. The ability to sit down and listen to someone share their deepest feelings, amazing accomplishments and deepest fears are something that will forever draw me to the task of telling stories. However, it wasn’t until after I left my position at the local Bakersfield lifestyle magazine that I realized how strange my intended career path really is.
On the sixty-sixth page of the May issue of Bakersfield Wellness magazine I wrote a short piece titled, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which featured Coach Joslyn Baca Greenway. I received her phone number from one of the assistant editors and called her one afternoon in between one of her many track practices for her elementary school and had a quick conversation.
I asked her a few questions, and just as I usually attempted to do during interviews for news articles, we gained a bit of report and it became an interesting conversation. I kept in contact with her through the process of writing the small piece, and every time I called back to get a few more facts or set up a photo shoot with her I was amazed by all she had to say and do.
It was the passion behind her story and love she had for the kids she coached and the job she had that caught my eye. I was amazed when she told me that, despite some knee and joint pains among other illnesses, she still got up every day and hit the track with the kids. It was impossible to miss the joy in her voice when she explained how she always tried to encourage kids to get out there and be active, and I couldn’t help but become a little excited about running as well. “All you need is a pair of shoes,” she would say. In fact, Coach Greenway was actually part of the reason why I’m still getting out there and running today. It wasn’t until I was packing my bags in August for grad school in Fullerton that I the devastating news.
My former editor, Olivia Garcia, wrote a piece entitled, “Remembering Coach Greenway.” The “longtime teacher and track and field coach at Chavez Elementary School in northeast Bakersfield, had just passed away unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm. She was 54.” Right then I thought back to the weeks of phone tag and conversation over the phone during interviews and via email that I had with this amazing person and I realized how strange story telling really was.
Somewhere in between the pages of a magazine are a rearrangement of words that I put together which captured a part of someone’s life forever, and although she is gone, Coach Greenway lives on not only in the memories of those she loved and who loved her most dearly, but also in the pages that I helped put together.
The group of people and me, who sat in the awkward corner on the first floor of the Bakersfield California building on Eye Street, helped make the passion and love Joslyn Greenway had for helping children and adults alike keep healthy and happy with exercise more visible to wide audience. Anyone who happened to open up the magazine could become connected to Greenway and learn about some of her many accomplishments. Initially, I found it strange to be a part of such a process, but after really looking at it and reading the piece again, I’m still glad I was able to meet such an inspiring individual and share her story to anyone willing to listen.