For anyone using the records department at the Frederick County Courthouse during the past four decades, Leslie Nuse was often the first face they saw when they walked in the door.
This week Nuse will be conspicuous in her absence, starting the first week of her retirement after 40 years of service.
As a keeper of land and marriage records, Nuse -- a lifelong Frederick County resident -- said she has been a firsthand witness to massive growth in the county.
"We were on plat book seven when I came in here," Nuse said, referring to the books of real estate lot maps kept at the courthouse. "Now we're on book 90."
Nuse said she has seen her department go from handwritten receipts and big, clumsy photocopiers to computerized record-keeping systems. She has had to keep up with all the advancements in technology over the years, but she retained a sentimental attachment to the old methods of doing things.
"I liked it that way," she said.
What has not changed is what Nuse will miss the most, she said -- the opportunity to meet and get to know people as she guides them through the process of researching and obtaining records.
"My favorite thing has been working with the public," Nuse said. "I like to help people."
Nuse will miss her career but said she looks forward to having more time for other pursuits, including spending time with family and becoming more involved in her church, St. Katharine Drexel Roman Catholic Church in Frederick, where she is a member of several groups. Nuse also wants to start working on a long-planned prayer garden at her home.
"I've been trying to do that for a couple years," she said. "Every time I look out back from my window upstairs I say 'How am I going to do this?' Now I finally have time for a project."
Nuse, who volunteers at the Weinberg Center and the homeless shelter, among other places, said she plans to have some fun as well, devoting more time to two of her favorite activities, running and skiing. She has a trip to Austria and the Czech Republic planned for late January with her travel club, as well as one to the Dominican Republic in the spring.
"I've got plenty of things to keep me busy," she said.