The morning paper

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for president. One hopes it is the same half.
– Gore Vidal

I know when it happened, when I became a newspaper junkie.
My parents did not have a lot of money, but when I was in high school, maybe a junior, they sprang for a subscription to the morning paper. They were very kind, my mom and dad, and I suspect they signed up because a nice kid knocked on our door and asked them to. Whatever the reason, it changed my life.
Once I knew that paper would be hitting the porch at dawn, or just before, I bounced out of bed early just to get to it before anyone else. While the rest of the family slept, I devoured that paper from cover to cover. I read all the news, studied every box score in the sports section, read every comic, and did the crossword puzzle and the vocabulary quiz.
My life was better because there was a newspaper in it.
More than 50 years later, that has not changed. To me, one of the sweetest sounds is the thud of the Citizens Voice landing on my front porch. It’s right there with the swoosh of opening a new can of tennis balls.
Even when traveling, part of the thrill of being in a new city is to read the newspaper. Lingering over coffee with the LA Times in Los Angeles, The Chicago Tribune in Chicago, the Boston Globe in Boston, brings to mind of a line in Amor Towles’ delightful book “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Main character Count Rostov talks about “whiling away a civilized hour.” Nothing makes such whiling away more civilized than a newspaper.
All of this is on my mind this morning after hearing that next week, beginning October 4, is National Newspaper Week. I wonder if anyone cares. It saddens me that I know the answer.
I’ve always liked the above quote by Gore Vidal. Only he could underscore the importance of newspapers in such a glib way.
These days, unfortunately, there is ampel evidence that the hope expressed has been more than dashed.

Ed Ackerman