“Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” This was the cry I heard many times when I was a young girl. When a news story broke before the evening edition the publishers would hire young boys to hit the downtown streets selling what they called ‘extra’ editions,
Back then newspapers were hailed as THE place to find real journalism. We had the likes of Ernie Pyle writing reports from the front lines of the war, giving them to runners who made sure they were on the next plane to the states.
Newspapers were central to everyone’s life. Those days were filled with honest journalism which is nothing like the entertainment news we read in many of today’s papers.
Our newspapers were used for many different things. School lessons were often based on clips from various newspaper columns. We even bundled our papers and tied them with string for salvage (recycle) to support the war effort.
After graduating from high school where I was first introduced to journalism, I made an appointment with the editor of my hometown newspaper. I just knew I was ready to make headlines. He advised me to continue my studies in college, then come back to see him. I did go to college, but never made the return visit. Life just took me down a different path.
I still enjoy reading old newspapers. Some say newspapers are short lived because of the electronic age. I’m not sure about that. Electronic newspapers aren’t for me. I still enjoy sipping my morning cup of joe while reading the newspaper and contemplating whether it is news or entertainment.
Although I’m guilty of doing some mischievous (even dumb) things as I was growing up, I never made headlines in the newspaper. But I did have to explain myself a few times. How many times did you tell your parents, “Just let me explain”? For me that would be more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. It seemed to me that every time I did anything I was in hot water.
Let me explain. I am terrified of fire. I was taught at a very early age not to play with fire. One incident I clearly remember was the winter day my mother was sewing. I was in the kitchen where she had the burner lit on the gas stove. My curious nature kicked in and I wondered what would happen if I took a piece of newspaper and poked it in that fire.
What happened next was nothing short of amazing. I was suddenly standing in the kitchen with a torch in my hand. I quickly put it in the sink then threw it in the trash. Big mistake! I now had a huge bonfire in the kitchen.
Not wanting to scare or excite my mother I quietly sauntered into the sewing room and said, “That sure is a pretty fire.” She turned to look out the window and I said, “Oh, it’s not outside, it’s in the kitchen.”
Talk about holy smoke! My mother was more than a little excited and scared. She was hopping mad with smoke coming out her ears. She quickly put out the fire in the trash can and then set my behind on fire.
This coming Friday is July 4; a big day of celebration of our nation’s birthday. Be careful when shooting off fireworks. Better yet, just take the family to one of the firework displays near where you live.
Smoky the Bear states that, “Only you can prevent forest fire.” I agree and add that it takes all of us to prevent any kind of fire. Please don’t use your newspaper to start any fires anytime, anywhere. If you do, you just might find yourself like me….in hot water.