Time travel is possible — I went back 30 years…

Did some time travel. I actually went back 30 years and walked through the newsroom where I once worked for a year (I was a job hopper back then). The same furniture, to include my desk, was still there. Nothing looked different, save for the more modern computers, but we had computers back then, although we called them VDTs, as I recall (video display terminals — in my previous job to that I used a typewriter). On a Sunday afternoon, the place was empty, but I could almost see the old crowd.

Yes, I really did go back 30 years in time, and ,so, yes, time travel is possible. And they say you can’t go home again.

(Okay off base literary allusion. The place was not my home. But I did read the book “You Can’t Go Home Again”, by Thomas Wolfe  — not Tom Wolfe  —  and I read “Look Homeward Angel”, by the same author, and I enjoyed them both immensely.)

I won’t name names to save embarrassment and out of courtesy, but the man I worked for was there and we both remarked to each other that each one of us looked the same. One of us may have been stretching the truth a tad — maybe, don’t know.

His late father hired me, or at least he and his father did.

I think it might have been the only job for which I applied with a decent cover letter. I said something to the effect that I wanted to be a good farm reporter for them so they could sell more advertising (farm related) and make more money. I’m not sure I was able to do that in my short tenure there, but I thought it was the right thing to say and I also felt, hey, if I could, I’d have job security.

His dad took me for a ride in his car and showed me around the countryside. I tried to impress him with my knowledge of farming and farming issues, or at least demonstrate that I had a general understanding.

I think I impressed him. That and the fact that I was the only one — the only one — to apply for the position as farm editor, even though it was advertised in Editor and Publisher (a copy of which I found in a library), led to me being hired.

I was not limited to farm reporting. I did regular news too.

My proudest moment was the time his dad, who was the publisher and had his own office in another building, came all excited into the newsroom and told my boss, his son, the editor, that he needed to get a staffer down to the railroad tracks immediately because someone had been hit by a train.

There seemed to be no reaction in the newsroom. The old man looked exasperated.

Sensing that this was not good, I jumped up and said: “I’ll go!”

The next part I am hazy on, but it seems to me that either I had locked the keys in my car or could not start it and had to use someone else’s.

At any rate, I got to the scene with my camera in hand, a pen, but no notebook. I ended up writing info on the back of a checkbook stub.

As I recall, a transient had passed out on the tracks and was run over. I think I got a photo showing a body covered by a sheet and a tennis shoe somewhere in there — not even sure about that — hey, it was three decades ago.

The point is I showed that I was a true blue newshound, and maybe made points with the old man, who at the time was the one writing out the checks.

I didn’t really know the old man, but I always thought of him as a shrewd and hard-bitten businessman who had a fondness for journalism, and the idea that although the money is made by selling advertising, the point of the business is to deliver the news.

From what I can see, his son, whom I judge to be more mild mannered, is nonetheless keeping up the tradition of running a sound business, one that provides a service to its customers (advertising space for the advertisers and news for the subscribers) and keeping up the standards of journalism. I don’t want to get too carried away and make claims that are exaggerated, and I have not done a study of their current papers, but I have seen some and I know the man I worked for from all that time ago. He seems to be level headed, fair minded, and committed to solid community journalism and helping to run a family business that provides a livelihood for many employees and contributes to the local economy. If more businesses ran like that, we as a nation might not be in the trouble we are today.

Walking around in that old newsroom with the old furniture still in its place, but with new more modern computers, and other updated equipment, I saw the symbolism of how traditional ways can blend in with modernism.

As a nation, could we hang on to or go back to the more traditional and still keep up with the ever-advancing technology, thus creating a better quality of life, supported by a more stable economy that works for all, not just fast-buck investors and opportunists?

P.s.

And although I am not naming names, I want to add that my old boss runs the family business in conjunction with his mother and sister.

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