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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, March 16 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

My early brushes
with technology - 2

I've told some of the details of my boyhood career with the Nanty Glo Journal in other memoirs on the Home Page. I schmoozed my way into a permanent assignment as teen columnist at age 15, by writing a door-opening letter to the editor, using a "writing the persuasive letter" prototype directly out of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. The editor, Andy Rogalski, took me under his wing as his protoge and soon had me writing short news items and even submitting pictures taken at Blacklick Township school events. I was always fascinated by the Journal offices but didn't get a chance to really see them until Rogalski asked me to work in the office so the paper's "girl Friday," Betty Nedrich, could have a week off. It was a week mostly of writing obituaries and whatever little notices people called in, like marriage announcements, military service honors, and such.

Already then—1958-59—the paper was being printed in Portage, as Mr. Sedloff had acquired the Mainline Newspapers—the Portage Dispatch and Cresson-Gallitzin Mainliner—and the Portage headquarters had a better printing press than the one in Nanty Glo. Much better. As I recall, the Nanty Glo press was still in the backroom, but there was no ink and no more than a few slugs of zinc type masters and maybe a few type drawers. The backroom was used only for "stuffing" papers, putting the back section, which was printed a few days earlier, inside the "front" section that got printed on Wednesday (or maybe, at that time, on Thursday—all the weeklies were dated Thursday in those days). The papers that got mailed (about half of the whole press run) had to be rolled and labeled, another of an endless collection of jobs Betty Nedrich did mostly unaided. Since I don't remember doing it when substituting for her, I'm guessing that one or more of the paper boys who helped stuff the papers for delivery around town knew the mailing process and filled in when she was gone.

I remember only one visit to the plant in Portage while I was just Andy Rogalski's protege, and that was so Mr. Sedloff's young Turk general manager, Burt Aranoff, could fire me. But Rogalski got me the job back and two or three years later, when he accepted an offer to edit a more prosperous paper, he persuaded the Portage management to give me a shot at editing the paper. That was the first time I got to see the "plant." The backroom in Portage had several Linotype machines with two fulltime operators and a press operator, page layout specialists, and even a proof reader. And in those days, "proofs" were really proofs, a kind of preview printing of a page or a galley, a long column of type containing a whole story, before it went into final form, a step comparable to the photographic proofs we used to see from the photography studios before we decided which to order printed for purchase (something most of us did only once in life, for high school graduation).

When I became editor the papers had already announced their transition from flatbed printing to offset, a much different technology. The Portage flatbed press, I remember Rogalski saying in a story about the transition, had once been in use to print papers for evangelist Dwight Moody in Chicago. For it, the lead "slugs" produced by the Linotype machines were trimmed and locked into wood and metal frames, the press applied ink to the lead type, and transferred it to a soft rubber role which then impressed the paper fed in huge rolls through the press. I remember a few months of reading lead type in the locked up frames "backwards" during the page layout process, and have always been thankful that I got in on the final months of printing a community newspaper in the "old way."

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Irish jokes

It was Paddy and Seamus giving the motorcycle a ride on a brisk autumn day. After a wee bit, Paddy who was sitt'n behind Seamus on the bike began to holler ..."Seamus ... Seamus ... the wind is cutt'n me chest out!" "Well, Paddy my lad," said Seamus, "why don't you take your jacket off and turn it from front to back...that'll block the wind for you." So Paddy took Seamus' advice and turned his jacket from front to back and got back on the bike and the two of them were off down the road again. After a bit, Seamus turned to talk to Paddy and was horrified to see that Paddy was not there. Seamus immediately turned the bike around and retraced their route. After a short time he came to a turn and saw a bunch of farmers standing around Paddy, sitting on the ground. "T'anks be to heaven, is he alright?" Seamus hailed to the farmers. "Well," said one of the farmers, " he was alright when we found him here...but since we turned his head back to front...he hasn't said a word!"

Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

Christian one-liners:
A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.

Sent by Carl Essex   

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