Many people of a certain generation have a collection of newspaper clippings stored in some closet. My mom had such clippings compiled from a Yuma, Arizona newspaper which she subscribed to for years, along with stories from one published in Clarksville, Arkansas, not far from where she was born and raised. Added to the yellowing cut newspaper stories were accounts from her local county paper, Waushara Argus, along with a collection of other weeklies. As one ventures into the clippings the years drift backwards.
Recently a box of such clippings my Aunt Evie had amassed came into my possession. She died earlier this year. Like others in the family she had made a collection of clippings which now amuses and intrigues me. With summer sun, and more projects to do than time in a day, the journey backwards through the box is mostly awaiting rainy weather. Mom would have said such tasks were made for days when being outdoors is impossible.
But still being like a kid before Christmas I have lifted a few of the top articles and read them. Near to the top of the box was this find from 1964, pictured below.
The nice thing about this box is reading it can happen over the coming weeks and months, and there is no way to know with any certainty what will be the next gem. From a winter’s blast that made headlines in the local paper, to national events, the clippings which piqued the curiosity of my aunt are layered one on another in a time capsule of sorts.
I have been blessed with several newspaper clipping folks in my life.
Years back, several times a month, an envelope from Maine would arrive in our mail box with newspaper clippings. James’ Mom, Marion, would include a wide assortment of news that might deal with everything from strange sightings of moose, interesting columns regarding political events, along with funny cartoons from the paper. She had been sending James newspaper clippings from the time he left home for Middlebury College, and then during his studies in Europe. Her mailings were such a regular occurrence that we supplied the address labels to make it easier for her to send the clippings our way.
In almost every mailing there was a notation on one or two clippings which said something akin to “Gregory needs to read this” or “blog about this”. I will never forget when she sent me the 12,000 calorie a day menu that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps followed, and told me to mimic his diet so to put on more weight!
With the reduction in newspaper readers, and even more so in the number who subscribe to a print edition, means there will be fewer and fewer of these memories to be passed along at the end of someone’s life. With my nostalgic bearings, interest in history, and how people lived their lives the box is a step into yesteryear one yellowing clipping at a time.
People often comment about the ways our lives change due to technology. As newspapers become less of a daily item in the lives of more and more people, the clipped article and the conversations it creates, will also diminish. It just does not feel the same to have someone forward a link via an email. How does that make one wish to pour a cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen table and talk for a while?
Let it rain soon as Evie’s clippings await!