It has been a lengthy relationship.
We met when I was in my innocent teens. She had long been accorded stature and respect. I found her exciting, I found her challenging and I always found her, even though I strayed from home.
She is unique in our small town. She cares about all who make up the community, leaving the larger arena to be protected and guided by others. She is here. And you can count on her to be here.
She keeps us informed and she keeps score. She bears good and bad news, relates happy and sad events, brings light to controversial issues. At times she is quoted almost as gospel.
She changes styles and appearances.
She is considered the bellwether of our past and of our present.
We have weathered many years together. We rode the strong winds, we swam against the tides, we trembled from the thunder, but we also glowed bright and clear like a beacon.
Time does take its toll, and we are both beginning to feel and see the effects. While I no longer have the ability to fight for or against change, she is waging a mighty battle against the changing forces that are buffeting her and those like her.
She is not invincible, but she is strong. She will be a fighter for another day, another year … for decades. My pride in and admiration for her are limitless. There is regret for the limitations of my championship.
She is my hometown newspaper.
The Leader-Union and its predecessors have been a newspaper presence in our community since the early 1800s, when the Vandalia Intelligencer was established.
My personal association began April 6, 1943. One day I was a high school senior, the next I was the society editor, bookkeeper and circulation manager for The Vandalia Leader, a weekly eight-page publication.
In the past 65 years, I have watched it grow, expand and change … all natural progressions in maintaining an important role in the lives of its readers. The above tribute reflects long-standing respect and gratitude for the significant role it has played in my life.
Although newspapers have characteristics that can be likened to both the male and female gender, usually they are not defined as either. I have chosen to write in the feminine gender because of the following newspaper clipping that was sent to me many years ago by a reader:
‘Women are a lot like newspapers they have forms, they have the last word, back numbers are not much in demand, they have a great influence, you cant talk back to them, you dont believe much of what they say, they get along by advertising, and every man should have one of his own and not borrow his neighbors.’