I am doing the A-Z challenge; today’s letter is N for newspaper.
The Sporting Green
I grew up in a household where newspapers were the norm. We got the daily San Gabriel Tribune, and the Herald-Examiner on Sundays. I remember being chastised by Mama for reading Ann Landers. At some point in my high school career, I began arriving at school at 6:45 because Papa dropped me off five minutes’ walk away, on his way to State Steel. As I walked through campus, on my way to the library, I retrieved the morning edition of The Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper expanded my view of what a daily paper should be. The San Gabriel Tribune had a front page, which covered national and world news, but it was like a comic book compared to the Times. I started warbling the praises of the LA Times to Mama, trying to convince her to include it in the family household budget. In a full-out effort to implement this plan, I offered to pay for it out of my own pocket, convinced that she would eventually agree that the Times was worth the extra dinero.
Lo and behold! It worked, and it didn’t even require that much time to effect the desired change. The Times sold itself, especially from the vantage point of the sports enthusiasts in the family. I remember brother Brian emphatically endorsing the coverage of the Dodgers. Even though I have [thankfully] subsequently abandoned the Bums in favor of their rivals to the North, at that time I still bled Dodger Blue.
When I moved up to San Jose, I found the glorious San Francisco Chronicle, Herb Caen, and Company, together with the illustrious Sporting Green. Additionally, I found the San Jose Mercury had (and still has) one of the best sports sections in California. One anecdote Annie loves to relate, has me out in front of our spot on Grand Avenue, waiting for the Sunday paper. When the little red-headed boy arrived with the paper, and saw me standing there, he looked askance and squeaked, “What? WHAT?! I’m NOT late!”
When we moved up on the mountain, there were five of the O’Neill clan families altogether. Someone who went to town, thirty minutes away, and brought back the paper, would be sure to pass it on to the next guy, who in turn... It was a marvelous system, especially when it came to the Sunday paper. We had it on reserve so that there was no way we could go all the way to town, only to find there were no papers left.
All of those years I taught in the school district, it was standard operating procedure, to stop in town to grab both the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and the Chron. I used to put both in the rack for students for sustained silent reading, in the hope that there would be at least one student, who would follow in my footsteps, and come away with a lifetime habit established, of reading the daily paper.
Ironically, in the past couple of years, my passion for the paper has dwindled, probably because I am able to get the news/sports online. I still will go for the sports section first, (small minds=small pleasures) and caress it and cherish it, until I have devoured it, but the rest not so much.
And no one chastises me for reading Dear Abbey any longer!