I told you it took 16 hours to get those pesky columns in a scrapbook and in the right order. How much trouble, you may ask, is it to put tape on the pack of a newspaper clipping, attach it to a sheet of copy paper and slip it into a plastic sleeve?
Well, first of all I tried to correct the ragged edges of my first clipping them out of the paper. But after about 50 columns, I gave up on that. Ragged they stayed. Some I didn’t clip out of the newspaper and had emailed them to myself from work and were printed out on copy paper. And I had to match up the emails I had received with the appropriate column.
Next, I wanted to make sure they were in the right order. I am somewhat anal. I had numbered them on the back, but when I matched my numbering with the few which actually had dates on them, I found I often had numbered them in the wrong order.
I had to resort to going to The Covington News website and finding all my old columns in the archives and writing down the column name and date. I discovered doing this that I was missing about six columns and had to print them out. I also had some columns that were not in the archives. Those youngsters didn’t always put my columns online.
Then I finally completed my task and started taping and dating.
But I kept stopping to read my old columns.
The earliest ones are about my adventures in teaching. There are several serious ones about education. Many recall incidents from my sister’s life. She claims I owe her part of my salary.
The most are about my family life and every day occurrences. Many are about my grandchildren and children. I am fairly sure, despite the fact that he constantly says that he does not want me to write about him, the most popular are about my husband. The one I wrote about his decorating his cabin, he has framed and hanging in his cabin so he can’t hate it that much.
Which one do I like the best? The one about buying my granddaughter cowgirl boots. But I also like the ones about my husband in the kitchen and the ones about my cats.
Which one got the most email? The one about my impatiens dying. I got more than a handful of emails from reader detailing their similar experiences with impatiens and asking me for help. The most thoughtful one was from Terri (then) Kimble telling me I could bring my soil to the county agent for analyzing. I thought county agents only dealt with important things like cows and corn fields.
My favorite email was from a friend who is also a transplanted Yankee telling me of her first encounter with a Southern Christmas and her similar amazement at the spread of food on the table.
I got many calls (even long distance ones) and cards from friends of my mother-in-law after I wrote a column about her. My mother-in-law’s friends usually are not adept at email.
Many people have commented on the columns dealing with my husband’s cabin and have requested a viewing. One requested a bath in the tub on his cabin’s porch.
To all of you who have commented in the past, I enjoy your emails. My new email is at the bottom of the new columns. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you like or don’t like something.
To my friend who urged me to do this. It took three rolls of two-sided tape. I had to go back to the store twice. I bought 75 plastic sleeves, and I have only two left. I will have to buy more for the columns I have written about the scrapbook.
But mostly, thank you. It is not as pretty and as decorative as you would have made it. But, to the best of my knowledge, the scrapbook contains all of my columns, and they are in the right order.
I enjoyed revisiting my old columns. Maybe someday, my grandchildren will enjoy reading them and remembering incidents from their childhood.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.