I pushed my way through The Edmond Sun’s front door — not easy considering its weight — and was all but overcome by a sense of déjà vu. I wonder if the interior of all small newspaper buildings has the same waiting-for-the-next-shoe-to-drop feel. I wonder if they exude the same inky odor, emit the same rolling, muted sounds before the last hours of deadline frenzy begin.
The room I stepped into was much larger than the front office of The Hennessey Clipper, the weekly newspaper where I worked for seven years. Immediately inside The Sun’s door, a wrap-around desk is equipped to accommodate half-a-dozen office personnel; but at the moment it was peopled only by one harried woman desperately trying to route a rash of incessant phone calls to their proper destinations. And now here was this stranger to deal with! It all seemed so familiar that I couldn’t help but laugh, and she laughed too once the phones stopped ringing.
We swallowed our giggles; I told her I had an appointment with the staff photographer and was ushered into the bowels of the building. I myself had snapped many a photo for The Clipper, but The Sun editor who hired me nine years ago checked out my attempts and offered to up my salary if I agreed never to submit photos on his watch.
The Sun’s inner sanctum is one huge dusky labyrinthine room with many little computer-equipped stations throughout the maze where writers and proofers and the like sit poised above projects illuminated by individual bright circles of light. Smaller rooms with doors line the sides of the greater room, and I suppose those are where the publisher, the editor, the ad man and such hold sway. I base that assumption on The Clipper’s inner sanctum, so I could be wrong.
Tuesday was The Clipper’s deadline day, and the woman who sat in the cluttered little front office fielded phone calls and allowed no one but staff into the regions beyond, where voices were raised and tempers sometime flared into the wee hours when we put the paper to bed. Then it was off for a snack and home to bed until the front-desk woman called the next morning to say the newspapers were back from the El Reno printer and ready to stuff with fliers, affix address labels, bundle by ZIP code and deliver to the post office.
Sighs of accomplishment and relief followed while we backed up the week’s files, then grabbed lunch at the grill across the street and returned to the office to get started on next week’s edition.
Until I stepped into The Edmond Sun office last month I’d forgotten how much I miss that sometimes dirty, always grueling, never-ending job I held at The Hennessey Clipper throughout the first seven years after I retired from 30 years in the classroom. It was all good. It still is.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.