Small newspapers memorialize big moments in readers' lives and communities
Jun 26, 2013 | 7735 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Small newspapers memorialize big moments in readers' lives and communities
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:43

Russel Skiles"Rambling" by Russel Skiles, TPA President 2012-2013

Showing its age, the old newspaper clipping has turned a pale shade of orange and is torn on the edges in a couple of places.

Arriving in the mail recently, the clipping was accompanied by a brief note from Carolyn Anderson of The Texas Mohair Weekly in Rocksprings.

“Found this photo in a box of old photos given to the newspaper,” she wrote.

“I think it is your mom & dad.”

She was right.



The clipping — a photo with a cutline — is a newspaper announcement of my parents’ wedding in 1952 at the First Baptist Church of Mertzon.

 Trimmed closely, the old clipping doesn’t include anything that indicates the name of the newspaper or the town in which it was published.

It could have been San Angelo, near where my mom was raised, or Alpine, where the 21-year-old newlyweds were scheduled to return to college.

But I suspect it came from the Del Rio newspaper, given the proximity of that city to both Rocksprings and my dad’s hometown of Langtry.

I have no idea how it wound up in a box of photos given to The Texas Mohair Weekly.

On the newspaper margin above the photo is a penciled note, apparently written by the person who carefully cut the announcement out of the newspaper.

“Thought you would like to see this picture,” it says. “Rose Mary.”

Although written to someone else almost 61 years ago, the message reached out across time, almost as if it was written just for me.

What a treasure!

I have seen the photo before — maybe even a similar newspaper clipping — in my parents’ collection of wedding memorabilia.

Mom and dad marked their 60th anniversary last fall and, God willing, will celebrate another year together this coming September.

And now, all these years after their wedding, a newspaper clipping from their big day winds up in the hands of their son.

To me, that speaks volumes about the importance of newspapers in the daily lives of our readers and our communities.

Someone years ago took the time to clip a wedding announcement out of a newspaper and send it to someone else, perhaps a friend or family member.

That clipping was cherished enough that it was saved and eventually tucked away in a box with other items.

Eventually it was rediscovered, and again was sent to someone who will long cherish and treasure it.

Pieces of the newspapers we publish are receiving similar treatment every day, even today.

Life-changing events such as births, graduation ceremonies, weddings and deaths are regularly being recorded in local newspapers.

Those stories and photos are making their way into scrapbooks and other personal collections to be saved for years.

So are newspaper accounts of many more-everyday events like basketball games, livestock shows and even local city council meetings.

Honor rolls, published letters to Santa Claus, and photos of Easter-egg hunts receive similar treatment.

Each is important, on a very personal level, to someone.

A district judge serving four counties in our area subscribes to all of the newspapers in the district and regularly clips out items to send, with a handwritten note, to many of the people recognized in those newspapers.

All of those clippings are likely to be saved and preserved for years in the future.

At the same time, people are turning to newspapers for information from years past.

We regularly receive inquiries from people looking for local newspaper accounts of long-ago events.

Just recently someone was seeking a published photo of triplets born in 1928. 

Another person was looking for a story about a murder many years ago which may have prompted her ancestors, who witnessed it, to pack up and move to California.

The goal of newspapers generally is to inform our readers of events and activities affecting their lives, their neighbors and their communities.

But in doing so, we’re also recording and preserving those events — and documenting them for history.

The stories, photos and even the advertisements we publish reach across the years.

And in today’s digital age they reach around the world.

Receiving a newspaper clipping can make someone’s day, even 60 years after the fact.

It certainly made mine!

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