My grandpa shaped my world. The memories and experiences I have carried with me through life are primarily based on time with him. The rituals and routines I learned still resonate with me and probably few patterns are more memorable than the time we spent together on Sunday morning.
He and I would both get up early, trying to be quiet, lest we wake my very cranky grandma. We’d cook and share breakfast beginning with a few slices of very fatty bacon in a cast iron skillet. The bacon was not cooked crisp, but still “bendable” as it had more flavor that way. No, I never had Trichinosis and it’s one of the things I ponder when considering how many illnesses and allergies that proliferate today as opposed to fifty years ago.
We cooked eggs, sunny side up, (I never got salmonella from that practice, either.) we made toast with butter and made coffee in a Pyrex glass coffee pot that perked on the stove top. After breakfast, we’d clean up the kitchen and adjourn to a big comfy chair to read the paper. One of the best childhood memories I have is sitting in my Grandpa’s lap on a Sunday morning, reading the Louisville Courier Journal “Funny Pages”. We only got the Louisville paper on Sunday, the rest of the week, we got the small local paper, “The Evening News”
When we moved to Dale City, after years of living at Scott AFB, I was thrilled to discover a small, hometown paper called, “The Potomac News”. I subscribed immediately and read that paper every day for the next 27 years. Like many print publications, the Potomac News struggled for readership and revenue. The paper evolved into the News and Messenger, but remained a local paper published continuously for 143 years…until now. The paper will publish the last edition on Dec 30, 2012.
The paper struggled valiantly to survive. Insidenova.com emerged as the online edition of the paper and a Facebook page soon followed. No matter what they did, the paper could not remain a viable business prospect for Berkshire-Hathaway, the owners of Media General, who in turn, own the News and Messenger. Some fans started a petition to try to save the paper, but the outcome does not seem likely to restore operation.
I was fortunate to write a community column for the News and Messenger for a brief time. I was a paid columnist, then as the economic situation worsened, all the community columns were cut. The paper continued trying different strategies, evolving, expanding their circle of influence, but it appears nothing could save the paper as their print circulation dwindled to 10,000.
I will be forever grateful to the staff and reporters of the News and Messenger, many of whom are friends of mine. I appreciate their attempt to provide not only news, but community spirit. They were dedicated to the issues important to local families: Bake sales and yard sales, the Dean’s list, lost pets, church bazaars, charitable causes, local sports, local politics, congratulations, wedding photos and obituaries.
We turned to the local paper for news about the people we know. I can subscribe to the Washington Post or the internet for world news. I can read local bloggers for opinion, but I will depend on Patch to connect me to neighbors.
Patch was able to offer me a paid column when Nathan Curby helped launch the Dale City Patch. In an all too short period of time, that money evaporated and I began blogging for Patch as an unpaid writer.
Now, you have to click Local Voices Woodbridge Patch to search for my column.
There’s been a turnover in staff at Patch, too, as my original editor, Nathan Curby left and recently, the editor of Woodbridge Patch, Lauren Jost left. Now, Rachel Leon is striving to keep three local Patch sites intact. I hope that’s going to continue. I hope youth and personality, passion for news, and love of small town community spirit will live on here at Patch.
I don’t need employment, but I need a place to share opportunities, causes, requests and community. I need Patch! You may not have thought about it much, but you need Patch, too!