​“Parking meters look like periscopes,” I said, as the first video appeared. It was a flood story.

Photo by Hafidh Satyanto on Unsplash

​I was a young news reporter at a TV station in Peoria.

​Like most of the young people working at TV stations in Peoria, I hoped to move on to bigger things.

​I worked Monday through Friday. I would come in on the weekend, use the receptionist’s desk and typewriter, and work on resumes and cover letters. I was sending out tapes.

​How to begin your tape was a matter of debate and probably still is. Some suggested a montage of you doing live shots and stand-ups.

​That wasn’t me. I’m a writer and reporter.

​“Parking meters look like periscopes,” I said, as the first video appeared. It was a flood story. I was showing that I could write to video.

​I got nibbles here and there and thought I saw something here and there. Savannah, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and so on.

​I got an interview in Nashville.

​When I got there, News Director David Goldberg met me and then left. He said I should stay here. He was meeting the General Manager. Stay here and he would be back.

​So I stood there and time passed. I don’t remember how long it took, but the point came where I was impatient. And then I got to wondering.

​Was this a test?

​Would I follow instructions and stay here. Or, being a reporter, would I bust out and look around and talk to people?

​I didn’t care. I started to work the area and talk with reporters and editors. I sensed unhappiness.

​I later got my interview. It was in Goldberg’s office. An assistant intermittently came and went, sometimes staying for a while and sometimes not. He sometimes had an update from the newsroom that never seemed all that valuable.

​I’m on this couch. It slouches me back.

​Did they cut down the back legs? You were naturally thrown back while sitting in it. You had to work to sit forward.

​I realized that when I was laid back, so were they. If I sat forward, they responded.

​So I started going from back to forward for the fun of it.

​I didn’t get hired.

​I did okay. The fellow who hired me in Peoria became Assistant News Director in Houston and got me hired there. A parade of bosses followed.

​I’m guessing at least five years later Goldberg appeared. He was the new News Director at KHOU.

​The boss was now a guy who interviewed me, but didn’t hire me.

​I’m not the type to hide.

​“It’s been a few years and you may have a few more gray hairs,” I said to him in the newsroom. “But you still look good.”

​“Who are you?” he asked.

​“Bill Jeffreys. We interviewed in Nashville.”

​He looked me in the eye.

​“Parking meters look like periscopes,” he said.

​It worked out okay.

Bill Jeffreys has done radio, TV and print journalism and is now a high school teacher. He spent nearly 14 years as City Hall reporter for KHOU-TV in Houston. Jeffreys was editor of his high school paper, but the yearbook where he teaches is now his cross to bear.