As I ponder my life-long inventory of stuff, this photo of my late husband, John E. Andrist (better known as JEA), is high on my list of keepers. The photo was taken before I even met him. A member of his newspaper staff snuck this candid shot I’m guessing late on a Tuesday evening as the paper was in its final throes of going to press. The Selectric typewriter and pocket protector (not to mention those sideburns) date the photo somewhere in the ’70s.
For weekly newspaper editors, Tuesdays were a 36-hour working day, a flurry of writing, editing, darkroom processing, typesetting, pasting up, and proof-reading. Page layouts or plates would be transported to the press, an hour away, and the printed newspapers returned for addressing and mailing. These days everything’s done by computer and on the internet. I have no idea if that has made the process any less frantic or tiring. Probably not.
It was our mutual love of newspapers, especially community weeklies, that brought John and me together. I’d burned out as an Associated Press editor and wanted to get back to small-town journalism. I’ve often joked that John needed an editor and I needed a job, so we got married.
The photo sits on the headboard above my bed. He died in 2007, but we still sleep together.
(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider and possibly share the stories that make you treasure your own stuff.)