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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, March 7 2001

Other mentors; Herman Sedloff (ninth in a series on Valley teachers)

After Andrew Rogalski left Nanty Glo in 1962, within a few months I graduated from provisional "news editor" to the editor of the Nanty Glo paper and the feature editor of all three Sedloff newspapers. Although my relationship with the middle-aged team who were set to take over the company with Mr. Sedloff's retirement was never warm or trusting, Mr. Sedloff did take an interest in me and, though not nearly as personal as that with Rogalski, a student/teacher relationship developed. In fact, I thought of him as a bit of a father figure.

Incidentally, these relationships reflected the ones I observed between Rogalski and the three owners of the company; he respected and liked Sedloff but lost no love on the younger heirs apparent. I surmised that his looking for greener pastures than Nanty Glo was to a large extent because of his unsatisfactory relations with the junior partners. They always struck me as yuppies (long before that term appeared in the popular lexicon) on the make. With their homes in Westmont and families involved in the area's higher-echelon social and economic circles, they had to make the company profitable to an extent far beyond that established by the company's founder. To their credit, they succeeded. But I think no successor on the editorial side has ever attained an income, using 1962 dollars as the measure, comparable with Rogalski's, which he considered only temporarily sufficient. (The ownership of the company moved to new hands decades ago; I'm not, even indirectly, discussing anyone presently involved with the enterprise.)

The more I learned about Herman Sedloff's life, the more I admired him. He took the bold step of leaving his native Russia in his youth, sought opportunities west of New York (where he first settled), and after a stint as a typesetter in Cresson, saw Nanty Glo as a boomtown in need of a good journalism enterprise. He started the Journal before he was 25 years old and succeeded in competing for the town's loyalty over at least one other attempted weekly. He used contests with prizes like a new car to build his subscriber base, and brought a professional editor (H. O. Eldridge of Sturgis, Mich.) from mid-western farm country to bridge the rural and industrial mix of Blacklick Valley.

He seemed stoic in his view of life, often responding to any upset with a philosophical, "you learn." He was proud of his union membership as a typesetter and, though the owner of the firm that still bears his name, he worked in the trade right up to his retirement (by that time it was allegedly worth about $1 million). His humility in assuming the worker role was one of the most important lessons he taught me; I, too, have used typesetting as a trade and, although it is virtually dead now after the introduction of desktop publishing, what I learned in typography probably has more relevance to my present-day occupation (high tech publications manager) than all my graduate courses in journalism. Though he boasted that he'd never read a whole book in his life, Herman was self-educated (he spoke with no accent) and knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, as appropriate for the publisher of an up and coming suburban newspaper group.

The most memorable day I spent with him was driving him to the races at Western Pennsylvania's harness race course south of Pittsburgh. I think he invited me to drive him so he could have a couple of drinks without having to worry about driving back, though he wanted me to think it was so we could get better acquainted. And I considered it a privilege requiring no more payback than that.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Comprehending Engineers -Take Three

A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"

The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude! "

The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him." [dramatic pause] "Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

"Oh, yes," the greenskeeper replied, "that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment. Then the pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"

Sent by Trudy Myers

Lenten prayer

Lord, Today You are touching us with your forgiveness. We, too, can ask forgiveness and forgive, and let this, which we feel and pray today, have no end. May we from this day in a new way be truly ministers of reconciliation for the life of the world. Amen

Bishop Seraphim Sigrist (Orthodox Church in America)

Sent by Bill Samsonsoff
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