Meeting people…through the Melita New Era

More and more people question the need of a local paper. I live in a community where a local paper came and went. I often heard people making statements suggesting that newspaper are quickly becoming yesterday’s news, but once they became a thing of the past, how they are missed! Community events, news reports, profiles of local residents – once these stopped coming, people wished the paper was still around. As the saying goes – you don’t appreciate something until you no longer have it.

Perhaps my perspective on a local paper is different because I contribute to one. I write for the New Era, in case you didn’t figure that out! One of the things that I have really appreciated about a local paper is that…

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…I’ve met people that I otherwise may never have met!

And over the past few weeks, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of those ‘newspaper acquaintances’.

It seems to me that Redpath’s has been unusually busy these past few weeks – there have been two or three obituary postings every week for the past several weeks.

Two came as a total shock to me. The first was the announcement of Dick Harmon’s passing. I didn’t know Dick for very long, but his age and my Seniors column brought us together for a brief period of time. I sat with him and his wife Helen for an hour and a half or so, in their home, listening as they talked about themselves, giving me fodder for a newspaper column. We laughed together and I listened as they reminisced…and an article was born. It appeared in this paper towards the end of October and a week and a half later, Dick was gone.

It hit me like a ton of bricks!

And then, just last Saturday, I attended a funeral of another person whose friendship came directly as a result of the New Era. Irene Kobs-Holmes was unknown to me for most of my life, but then, shortly after I started writing my Inklings column, she took time to email me to tell me how much she enjoyed it. Needless to say, that was enough for us to become friends for life! She was the first person to do that…and as I learned more about her, I understood that she was just that kind of a person…an encourager. Following her email, I met her personally (at a funeral) and then a few times after that, enjoying each visit with her. I last saw her a few months ago and now, she too, is gone.

And that also hit me like a ton of bricks!

Local newspapers have many benefits, one of which is bringing people of a community together. I’ve been reminded of that again over these past few weeks…the hard way.

My sympathies go out to Helen and her family and to the Kobs-Holmes families. You’ve lost two great people.  

© Melita New Era