This may surprise Cody Enterprise editor Amber Peabody, but I was once an editor myself.
Granted, it was a small newspaper with a limited readership. But it was a mighty effort to cover local news, nonetheless.
Local news on N-Street, that is.
Okay, so I was a fourth-grader, and N-Street News was hand-written on a Big Chief tablet – and we created just one copy to pass around from neighbor to neighbor. The N-Street News made every effort to report the news accurately and fairly. We also gave great attention to penmanship and spelling, determined to be considered serious journalists.
“We” was my sister Evelyn and my brother, Ed. The newspaper office was in a cubbyhole under the stairs, and since I was the oldest, I was the editor.
We ran an extension cord so we could plug in the old green lamp that Mom let us have for the office. We furnished the office with pillows and old quilts, and to get the creative juices flowing, we always had cookies and Kool-Aid. Then, with a supply of nicely sharpened No. 2 pencils and the Big Chief tablet, the publishing business began.
Oh, we covered all the hot stories in the neighborhood. There was Warren Justice’s daily traffic count from his treehouse above Eleventh Street. There was my brother Ed’s blow-by-blow account of how he, Warren and Chucky Lindeken had pelted our playhouse with dirt clods just to aggravate us girls.
Evelyn probably recounted the touching story of trying to keep a small bird alive that had fallen from a nest. Before it was over – and I mean over, since I don’t think the bird recovered – she had even named the bird. It was something like Walter or William, as I recall.
I think I wrote about the time I spun around the horizontal bar on the playground and forgot to keep my head tucked. As I rotated downward, I dragged my forehead through the playground gravel. As all head wounds do, I bled like crazy, and we all thought I’d die. It was quite dramatic, especially picking the gravel out of my forehead.
We’d also write about the antics of neighborhood pets, who won the latest game of tetherball, and Hollywood gossip we overheard from Warren’s teenage sister, Candy.
Using a ruler, we’d carefully divide the sheets of paper into columns. I’d painstakingly pen the stories, and we’d deliver the copy to Mom and Dad first. After that, we’d pass it around the neighborhood.
I’m not sure my brother and sister can corroborate this story. They remind me that I am the oldest, and my memory might be failing a bit. I suppose I do feel a bit like Mark Twain who wrote, “When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.”
Nevertheless, I really did split my head wide open trying to play Olympic gymnast; the boys really did pelt the playhouse with clods; and Evelyn really did try to save a bird. We did play tetherball; Warren truly had the neatest tree house, and his sister did know everything about rock n’ roll.
And yes, there really was a newspaper called the N-Street News … under the stairs … with a green lamp…