Fresh off the press

I love reading the newspaper. Not online, in my hands. I remember the feeling of collecting the local paper from the end of our driveway as a young girl, especially the Sunday edition that would unfurl like an accordion when I relieved it of its plastic sheath. Coupons would spill out of the folds and on very special occasions samples of cosmetics would too. In fact, the weekend before I met my future husband, there was a trial size of Physique shampoo and conditioner (now defunct) that came along with an advertisement claiming it “would change everything”. I believe the company was talking primarily about hair care but I hadn’t “learned” not to give more power to magical forces so I set it aside (before anyone else could seize it) and used it one morning before school, long before I played flag football that evening and still within the day I first met Mr. Take-a-year. Coincidence? Of course not. This only magnified my love of newspapers (as it was the carrier of such good fortune for me).

As a homeowner, I set about buying my own subscription, but let it lapse as I learned to save copies that I collected for recycling from work. That had always been one of my favorite parts of the job, flattening out copies of the local post, The New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal as I walked through the hallways distributing them all. I would send down multiple copies to the Men’s Locker Room through the service elevator in the kitchen, breathing in the smell of crisp bacon and fresh brewed coffee, then round the corner to the Ladies Locker Room and display copies next to the fruit baskets and alongside gleaming pastries and Danishes that remained largely uneaten throughout the day. I would press on to the Fitness Center, on tiptoe so as not to disturb members meeting with their trainers before the sun had fully risen. Lastly, my favorite stop of all, I would walk the tree framed path through artfully encouraged brambles of bougainvillea and tropical foliage that lined the walkways to the onsite golf villas, dropping papers at the front doors for guests. Years later, as a new mom (and new to the “stay-at-home” of being a “stay-at-homer”) I would push the baby (now Big Sister) to the end of the street on Sundays with my four quarters and slide them into the plastic box that would spring to life with exact change, allowing me to take a thick slice of newsprint. The freestanding paper boxes have long since been removed, much to my dismay, but the memory lives on.

The New York Times had remained my favorite, the Sunday edition especially. Though I had never been to the cities mentioned, I loved reading about the real estate market in New Haven or which honorable judge’s offspring(who was almost always “keeping her name” when female) was engaged to be married to the well-mannered and generally well-heeled son or daughter of the Earl and Countess of Somewheresville. I could get lost in the vows section alone and tomorrow I will tell you to story of how one day, much to my delight and surprise, none other than the New York Times weekend editions started showing up in my very own driveway.

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