Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
There are numerous perks working for the newspaper. None of them are monetary riches, but well worth time and years I have spent here anyway.
I get to see people I know. I get to talk to the parents of some people I went to school with. I help people locate relatives and interesting articles that we published in our paper.
Some days I feel I am on a quest to find a unicorn. No I take that back, some days I am in search of a dragon.
I am not sure when the switch in all areas of business went from paper to electronic. I remember my brother-in-law taking me and my dad, when I was probably eight years old, to the building he worked in.
The room we couldn’t go in because it required protective clothing was probably the size of a football field; it held their computers. That had to be in to 60’s. I know businesses were slow to take up modern technology.
I know a fire in 1973 destroyed military records for some veterans. How sad. Information that can never be recovered.
When colleges switched over to computerizing their records some people were given degrees and some forgiven college loans. Changes in technology can be wonderful or overwhelming.
Anyway, I need a copy of a postal form. From way back. Let’s say the 1940’s. Way before my time.
A time when my parents were alive and my Grandparents still lived out on the farm.
Back when Gardner was a very small town. Things were done with a handshake, and people were good for their word.
I needed a copy of a form that for all intents and purposes does not actually exist. Yet there is a number attached to the information. So there were questions asked to get the number issued, so the paper could be mailed to subscribers.
I asked Doug our “person” at the Gardner Post Office. He inquired for me at the main post office in Kansas City. Then he directed me to a man who could possibly help locate what I wanted.
I envisioned a room full of barrister bookcases and the boxes resembling the Smithsonian or some other warehouse of knowledge. The gentleman didn’t sound old, so the picture in my mind of a guy in grey pants and suspenders with a newspaper visor on his head, slowly started to vanish.
He called me back and then e-mailed the info to me. I had thought perhaps a certificate with gold leaf and THE GARDNER NEWS, in fancy printing and lovely script might spring into view in my e mail.
What I got was the facts, all the facts. Nothing fancy to frame, just the information I needed to prove we, not the actual same people, but the publication had been around for a very long time.
Opinions change, stories come and go. Staff and owners change. Our little hometown paper makes me think of a dragon. A dragon resting in the corner of a room. You know it is there. When the people of town do something awesome those scales sparkle and shine with pride.
When something happens that isn’t up to what we believe life here should be,it raises its dragon head and snorts.
When there is a wrong or something horrible happens, our dragon breathes fire and raises alarm.
Not many people notice the dragon, some believe it isn’t worth the time, But it, we, are still here.