I’ve been on this scene, on and off, for 57 years now, or for about half its life, starting when I was a junior at good old Grand County High in 1956, and wrote a column of high school news. My husband, sweetheart and partner, Sam, had not yet returned from his army service in Japan back then, and this newspaper had been through at least three iterations of change already.
We’ve been through more than double that amount since, counting changes in the way a newspaper was prepared and printed and changes in staff. In the very early days, type was hand-set, letter by letter. Later it had to be disassembled and the individual letters (upper and lower case) returned to their respective type cases. Thus, the Linotype machine was the first major timesaver for publishers in the latter part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. If you swooped your fingers across what was and still is “asdfghjkl” on a typewriter, the linotype machine would give you “etoinshrdlu” in a line of type to place in your type stick or form. Etoinshrdlu. A word among words. And I had to dig a little deep in the memory banks to come up with it. A dieing word. More practically, a dead word.
The linotype machine and its ilk became known as hot type in the industry, as the linotype used what were known as “pigs” of metal, melted and cast by the machine into the individual lines by the operator. When anything got out of alignment or otherwise went awry in the casting process, the machine operator either jumped away quick or endured a painful burn as the machine put forth a squirt of molten metal. Sam’s pants in the early years of our marriage had many little holes and small bits of linotype metal affixed to them. His legs also suffered, but from his telling the tale, it was more from high school and college football than from linotype squirts. I decline from giving an opinion.
Zane was in junior high or high school when we took a trip to the National Newspaper Association’s convention and trade show in Dallas, specifically to look over and choose among the array of machines, applications and programs available in the exciting new era of cold type, meaning no more hot lead squirts. We chose a Singer (yes, as in the sewing machine) typesetting setup, and Pagemaker program. There were two popular programs available. And we made the right choice, in my estimation.
Things evolved from there, and are still evolving. Another old saying is that if you’re not moving forward, you are moving backward. And so, we march forward. Life goes on. Zane has long expressed that there are other avenues he would like to pursue in his life. Newspapering was following our bliss (in the words of Joseph Campbell) for Sam and for me. It never occurred to us that our children may have different ideas for themselves.
And so, at our annual corporate meeting earlier this year, we came to the decision that it is time to sell The Times-Independent. We are, and will be, involved in that process for whatever time it takes to identify a buyer whose philosophies about community newspapers mirror ours.
I will keep you posted.