The bag used by Times-News carriers around 1950. It belongs to editor emertus Don Bolden.
The countdown to the 125th birthday for the Times-News on July 25 has had some unexpected pleasures. First and foremost is the reader interest in our daily publication about a historic event in Alamance County occurring over the lifespan of this newspaper. The feedback we’re receiving on this feature — produced by editor emeritus Don Bolden with help from managing editor Jay Ashley and design editor Linda Bowden — has been phenomenal to say the least. Nearly every day we get a positive comment in some form or another about it.
That has to be some kind of record.
But we’ve had great response in other ways, too. A story last week about the 60th anniversary of a state championship baseball team from Williams High School came as a direct result of a reader calling in something he thought might be of interest for the series. We turned it into a feature by reporter Molly McGowan.
And every so often someone in the community has dropped off old newspapers, clippings or other items they think might be useful for us. Often, they leave something they planned to toss out anyway. I told my spouse that the Times-News was becoming something of a landfill recycling option for old newspapers. “Yeah, and a lot of this stuff is coming home with you, which worries me,” she said.
You can’t please some people.
Anyway, just yesterday a woman from Mebane brought over some Times-News clippings largely about the Burlington YMCA. But her folder included other items. There was a column by my longtime friend and former colleague, retired reporter Jim Wicker (it’s about Scrabble, by the way). She also had the final column written by syndicated writer L.M. Boyd, a newspaper photo of my former boss and sports editor, the late Bill Hunter and a postcard showing downtown Graham in around 1900. All were in great condition. The same couldn’t be said for a 1905 newspaper from Knoxville, Tenn. She found it behind a framed item, under glass. Oxidation had pretty much turned it into the texture of ash. It crumbled as we tried to read it.
Later Monday we had the next to last of our planning meetings for the anniversary events. One of those, by the way, is an open house here at our office on 707 South Main St. It’s from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 26. The public is invited to stop in and look the place over, meet staff members and have some refreshments. It’s open to everyone and anyone. There is no cost.
Among the things planned that week is a performance of the Glenn Miller Orchestra at Williams High School. Tickets are on sale now for $35, $25 and $20. Pick them up at our office, online at www.thetimesnews.com/gmo or by calling 336-506-3071.
On July 25, our actual birthday, we will publish a special section that looks at the history of our newspaper, including historic front pages. Walter Boyd, who is working on a massive history of Alamance County, has provided invaluable help in this effort. There will be other features in that day’s edition, including something about the youngsters who once delivered the newspaper — a practice that stopped long ago, sadly.
When that subject come up Monday, Don thought he might have a bag used by the carriers years ago and offered to bring it by the office. It’s a unique item, which Don believes dates to the early 1950s.
The good news for my spouse is this artifact won’t be coming to our house.
Don wants it back.