Lamenting the Expanding Social Network

teaching kids - a philosophy by Ann LandersAnn Landers fostered a faithful following.  Her readers were of all ages, from all arenas of society,  all yearning for solutions or curious about others’ experiences. She offered  advice in compassionate, insightful pearls of paragraphs. The newspaper was her avenue of sharing.  As newspapers decline, is there a social network avenue that will succeed in a comparable intimately honest way?

I can click and save quickly…then lose the nugget among thousands of other bits that I save and forget how to access. Oddly, getting the scissors from the kitchen drawer, carefully cutting out a touching column  entry, then folding it to fit in a special spot in my grownup purse for rereading or sharing seemed more efficient. I have forwarded or shared tons of gems since I have learned how to use the computer, but there is no guarantee those tidbits of info were ever read. But, if I  hand someone a clipping across a café table or at work, and I  want it back, it will get read and discussions will ensue.

My printer could be used to print out favorite words of wisdom, but I have yet to fold and stick a print-out in my purse.  Too much debate goes on before I hit the print button.  How much ink is there?  Are there any pending tasks that should take precedence? Will the printer work on the first try or will this become an aggravation?  Do I really need to waste my paper on this? So much easier to have  had only one question to ponder:  Was everyone  finished reading that section of the paper before the scissors hit it?

Cutting and pasting activities abounded in my formative years. I used words and picture pieces  creating cards and posters just for fun. My teachers loved pushing us to expound on editorial cartoons, so that meant cutting them out along with the articles that supported my theories about cartoonists’ intentions, pasting the cartoons on construction paper, then holding the sheets up in front of the bathroom mirror as I rehearsed what I would say if my name was called on Monday.

Reading the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or the Globe Democrat was a multi-sensory experience. My eyes took in miles  of black and white from  slightly off-white sheets.  Color splashes beckoned them  to hop around before settling in to read a whole feature.  Even the shinier surfaces of the  inserts were enticing so I  would yearn for the  advertised products and gadgets. I liked the feel of the pages as I turned them. They were slightly thicker than the pages of my Mom’s Bible. I bemoaned the trouble it took to separate the slicker ones.  After an afternoon in the paper,  I would be wearing black smudges across my nose and forehead till bedtime if I didn’t remember to wash my hands. As I turned the pages, they made a slight rustling sound. If the rustle was interrupted, it meant I was finishing up a last paragraph or scanning the pages to make sure nothing had been overlooked before the next page came into full view. The smell of a damp newspaper somehow mingled with the aromas of  a Sunday lunch that usually included mustard and pickles.

Reading the paper took time: time to mull over the awesome or the tragic or the outrageous news;  time to ponder and time to laugh; time to share a portion out loud, even though others in the room may have already read it, or would read it eventually; time to go back and read the articles intentionally passed over the first time through; time to reread especially powerful pieces.

Newspapers…my mind’s comfort food.


About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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8 Responses to Lamenting the Expanding Social Network

  1. I enjoyed this and I relate to your thoughts on the newspaper. However, I am liking to blog. Thanks for visiting mine today. I have bee posting a new poem each day for January but I will go back to weekly posts in February.

  2. Bill Hopkins says:

    I’d get up early and read the morning paper when I was a kid. The racing news was my favorite, although to this day I’ve never seen a horse race. I was fascinated by the names of the horses. Sea Biscuit was my favorite.

    Bill Hopkins
    (My mystery novel COURTING MURDER is available on Amazon.)

    • gleefulee says:

      I remember loving to look at the houses in the real estate ads, and wondering what sorts of lives people would have who lived in them. I miss the bulky weekend papers. Poplar Bluff’s DAR isn’t quite the same.

      • Bill Hopkins says:

        If they’re still doing it, DAR is selling its paper at stop lights. Probably one of the few places in the country where that’s done. In St. Louis, you could buy homemade pretzels at stop lights at one time. That’s probably illegal now. *sigh*

      • gleefulee says:

        We used to get those pretzels at the Arsenal entrance to Tower Grove Park! And yes, one can still buy a DAR at a ouple of major intersections in PB,

  3. “Newspapers…my mind’s comfort food.”
    Love it!

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