Ode to the Newspaper
Families relied on “the paper” for our view of world affairs, local gossip, births and obituaries, school and church news.
I have memory of all my family – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles—reading the newspaper. Most didn’t have free time to read books. But they made time to read the paper. Grandad read his in his easy chair beside the big floor lamp. Mom read the morning Chicago paper at the kitchen table. My aunt read her paper during her coffee break. Dad read the paper in the bathroom. I read the funnies sprawled across the floor. It’s what we did, and many conversations began, “I saw in the paper where…”
This week while marketing my new book, McIntosh Summer, I had the idea to email all the newspapers in Georgia. The state of Georgia is mostly small towns and much rural. Atlanta is The over-reacting to articles misunderstood I see on facebook are also prevalent on e-news. No formal Letters to the Editor carefully worded to not be an embarrassment when family read them, inform us to a different opinion. Instead quick flash temper, sarcasm and attempts at being entertaining, offer only controversy in virtual anonymity.
Hometown newspapers with hometown news no longer decorate the winter hearth and the summer porch. Folks still sit in the easy chair and at the kitchen table and still sprawl on the floor. But there’s no sharing involved. Everyone has his or her own device and scrolls the e-news and gossip without knowing the difference.
Our hometown newspapers are leaving the building, folks. Even large city papers which used to be daily are down to weekly or twice a week editions. Riders of public transportation surely find it easier to read on their palms than rattling and folding and refolding. But, being able to do that without annoying fellow riders, well that was an art form; another one, lost to progress.
After three solid days of e-marketing to e-newspapers, I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine and drink a toast to the old fashioned newspaper, so much a part of our lives until about 2000. I miss you, my paper friend.