Corner Column

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It’s been a veritable trip down memory lane, looking in the nooks and crannies of our offices.

Though the Mimosa St. office has been home of the Monitor for maybe 25 years, it already houses lots of relics of the bygone days of newspapering. I wish I could have seen the former downtown office in Quitman – I suspect it was even more historic.

The old photography darkroom here, for example, brings back some memories, mostly bad ones, of late nights and smelly chemicals.

The advent of digital cameras affordable to smaller newspapers around 20 years ago was indeed a blessing. And their quality has continued to improve while the cost has fallen. What once was a major process to run a color photograph in the paper is now quite simple.

Hard to think we did so much work just to produce a photo. Now everywhere you look folks are doing the same thing with a click of their phones.

Another cabinet in the back holds a hand roller and other tools that we once used to put together the pages manually, something that is now the exclusive province of computers, packed with software that will do anything you can imagine, and sometimes, I think even more.

I know that the ghost of former editor Tom Beesley does not haunt these halls. I think he was gone from Mineola by the time the move was made to Mimosa St.

But his memory lives on here nonetheless.

It pops up unexpectedly. A batch of the newspaper contest entries lying around in the back includes his work. Zak was researching a story from 1992, which he found in the Democrat (that year’s Monitor has not revealed itself yet).

Tom reported and photographed the story.

I bring up Tom because, while we were professional colleagues, as well as sharing responsibilities for the regional press association, we were also friends. When he left Mineola, around 1994, he came to work on my staff in Cedar Hill, near his old stomping grounds in Lancaster. Lancaster was where we laid him to rest after the tragic motorcycle accident that ended his life. His casket included a news camera (film, not digital). I bet he’s taking some wonderful photos now.

I had the honor of carrying the Texas flag during the parade of flags at the National Newspaper Association convention during the time Tom was hospitalized, just a few days before his death. My heart was heavy as I received an update on his condition only minutes before going into the grand hall with the Lone Star flag, marching in his honor.

There are many items laying around that are no longer useful, with names of companies that no longer exist. When we get a chance to catch our breath, the Dumpster will become like a friend as the detritus of bygone days makes its way out.

We’re all guilty of it, I suppose, shuttling things off to a corner rather than finding another use or recycling or just saying, “I can no longer deal with this, get out of my life.”

We have gone through two household downsizings in recent years and still have too much stuff. And the newspaper office is too much reminiscent of our unintentional hoarding.

Got a use for an old computer monitor, the ones that weigh a ton? I’ll make you a deal – guaranteed not to be haunted. I hear they make good boat anchors, though they probably contains substances that are toxic to fish.

Oh, and if you happen to have a copy of the Aug. 29, 2018 Monitor lying around, we could really use it. Somehow we got a little too anxious to get rid of those. We have it on computer, but not on newsprint. And any old bound newspaper books prior to 1993. They absconded at some point to parts unknown.

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