My first newspaper job was with my hometown weekly, and it wasn’t as a reporter. I did advertising paste-up and waxed type and put it on pages late into every Wednesday night. For those of you born after the late-1960s, newspaper pages were put together by printing stories and photos on photographic paper, putting the trimmed pieces through a hot machine that placed wax on the back, and then pasting those onto grid pages the size of a newspaper page.
Those pages were then photographed and the page-sized negative was “burned” onto a metal plate, which was wrapped around a roll on the printing press. Now, everything is done on the computer through pagination. It could be tedious work back in the day and it helped to have grown up playing with paper dolls. (And, no, I’m not going to explain what paper dolls are.)
There have been some rapid advancements in the newspaper business in a very short amount of time. But weekly newspapers then, and many even now, give employees a day off in the middle of the week to avoid having to pay overtime. In my case, it was Thursdays. And they were days I came to greatly cherish.
On Thursdays, I had lunch with my grandmother, Gran. In the summer, my cousin, Jane, would join us. We always ate at my grandmother’s house. She loved to cook for her grandchildren. Some days, after lunch, we would sit on her porch, in the rocking chair and on the glider and talk about the affairs of the town and the world. Other days, I would take them for a drive.
We would take a long drive into the county, visit new subdivisions, stop and read historical markers and discuss what they meant, seek out areas we hadn’t seen ever or at least in a long time.
One of my favorite Thursday visits took us to Battle Grove Cemetery, founded after the final raid of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan on Cynthiana in 1864. Battle Grove Cemetery sits high on a hill and has some deeply moving markers and statues. It is worth checking out the tiny headstones surrounding the Confederate Memorial. I’m always touched by the number of unknown young men, whose families probably would never learn where they were buried. My ever-frugal Gran already had her gravesite, in the family plot, up above the mausoleum. She had also already had her headstone put up with everything on it but her date of death, of course.
And Jane, in her innocence, on some Thursdays, would say, “Gran, let’s go see where you are buried.”