Class reunion – a time to celebrate

The anticipation was killing me.

I had waited 13 years for this moment.

And it was finally here.

Muggy, humid, misty weather and all.

I stood in front of the mirror of my vanity in the room that I claimed “mine” nearly seven years earlier.

In front of me – the girl with shoulder length hair was gone. Gone was the girl who hadn’t hit puberty yet. Gone was the girl who wasn’t sure of her future.

Instead, a young woman stood there looking back at me. She had (bad) short hair and wire-rimmed glasses. Around her, she wore a navy blue robe and with a yellow cord. And in less than three months, she would be a freshman at Bowling Green State University majoring in criminal justice (Yes, that clearly did not happen).

As she carefully placed her cap on her hat, she prayed to the Hair God to let her hair look decent for the next three hours. But in the end, the weather made her head look like a wet mop.

But she didn’t care.

All the persistence and dedication paid off …


And next weekend is my 20th class reunion.

It’s no secret that in the spring I was slightly dreading this moment.

Did I really want to see the person who sat next to me in English?

Did I really want to hear old stories of “glory days?”

Did I really care what everyone is doing now as we approach our 40s?

Does it even matter?

The truth is … Yes.

No one had a perfect life in high school. And no one has a perfect life now.

Yet we all come from different walks of life. And that is what makes 20 years a perfect time to reflect.

Some people have said they want to forget their past and that attending a reunion just rehashes nasty memories of their childhood.

Some people have said that they didn’t form any bonds with those in high school at the time, so why should they attempt form bonds with these people now.

And that was me.

I was that girl.

My goodness, my dad was a junior high math teacher. There were days I wanted to find a new family because I was forever, “Mr. Naymik’s DAUGHTER.” I am pretty sure that identifier alone scared away 180 of the 200 classmates from 1996.

But now that we are T-minus 8 days away from the reunion, I am looking forward to it.

We owe it to ourselves to see how far we have come in the past 20 years.

It’s time to let bygones simply be that – bygones.

And I know it’s hard to do – trust me, I know.

But just last Friday, I saw hundreds of balloons being released for a 48-year-old Ohio State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty in Cuyahoga County. He was three days away from retirement. Today, hundreds of law enforcement vehicles lined a local road in his honor.

What Trooper Velez would have given for one more day …

One more day to keep our roads and cities safe.

One more day to spend with his children.

One more day to hang out with his friends at a local sports pub watching the Browns (lose).

One more day.

The people we were 20 years ago are gone.

And one day, we too will be wishing we had … one more day.


Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at




A mom setting the world on fire

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire!”

–St. Catherine of Siena

Somewhere in the past 38 years, I found my voice.

I was silenced for far too long; and life is far too short to sit on the sidelines to not do or say anything.

As a journalist, I spend my days asking questions in an effort to gain answers.

Truth be told, not everyone wants to hear or read the truth. The truth is ugly. We try to paint picturesque scenarios in an effort to hide what is really going on in society.

People make weak attempts to skew the truth to make it work for them.

And the amount of ass-kissing makes me nauseous.

In the end, life is only black and white. There are no shades of gray.

Perhaps that is my downfall in life.

Remember going on job interviews when the interviewer would ask, “What would people say is your weakest quality?”

I used to answer, “I am an over-achiever who pays attention to detail. I am not satisfied with less than ideal outcomes.”

That was my answer.

Now, if I was put in a room, my answer would simply be, “I am outspoken and honest. I do not sugar coat anything in life.”

That is my weakness at the age of 38.

I tell it like I see it.

Because really, what is the point of living a fake life? What is the point of pretending to be who we are day in and day out? What is the point of putting on a façade? Who are we trying to impress with our smokescreens?

Over the past three weeks, people have been trying to put out my flame. They have tried over and over again to quiet my voice. They have tried to change the way I see things happening in our community. I have been talked about behind my back. I have been singled out by those who believe they have more clout than me. My name has been dragged through the mud enough times to leave ruts.

And that’s fine because I am who God created me to be.

I will continue to use to my voice. I will continue to be passionate about what I believe in. I will continue to stand up for my children. I will continue to shed light on subjects that others may deem taboo.

I will not go down without a fight. My fire will never go out.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at



Sorry, PTA: I’m not sorry.

I believe in telling the truth and being honest. It’s two of those morals that were instilled in me by my parents.

And since then, I have sucked at lying and I am brutally honest.

Take it or leave it. I don’t care.

So, yes, the “PTA Replicating Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi” is on-going here in my children’s school district.

And true, I was not at the now infamous “Teacher Reveal” night; however, a reporter by nature, I made sure my facts were straight before I unleashed the hound known as my blog.

Last week, I “broke the news” that the local PTA turned away at least three, if not more, families, during their super-secret “teacher reveal night.”

Basically, it went like this (no sugar coating) …

You give $5 (to the PTA to be a member) and you get to see who your child’s teacher will be for the 2016-2017 school year a mere 10 hours before everyone else.

Read the sentence again.

Teacher reveal only. For a $5 membership fee.

No $5, no teacher name for you.

Class lists were kept under lock and key (unless you were privy enough to get those super, super secret details – probably for an extra $5).

Anyways, I expressed my opinion on the “membership drive” and caught hell for it from all PTA lovers-alike. And how, those same PTA-lovers have begun attacking my ethics as a journalist.

So sorry, I’m not going to sit on the bench and watch your “clique” bombard me.

Yes, I am the most hated person in our teeny-tiny town. That’s cool — hate away.

So, those who hate me don’t necessarily hate me for me. They hate me because I expressed my opinion in a public format.

And now, they want me to apologize.

Here I go:

“I’m sorry I’m not sorry. I’m sorry that I shared with the public and social media how I felt. I’m sorry that you feel I single-handedly destroyed your reputation. I’m sorry that I am not one of you. I’m sorry that I find other ways to volunteer at the school that you deem unworthy (like signing up for bringing extra snacks and goodies for students and flowers for teachers and volunteers at the end of the year). I’m sorry that I am not you. I gave up trying to be in a clique about 20 years ago. But that does not mean I don’t love our school district any less … I just have a different way of showing it … and I’m sorry we don’t agree.”

There, there is my public apology that you thought you were owed.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger and reporter for The Chronicle-Telegram. Read her blog at Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at