Yesterday: decided to make coffee. Made a pot. Drank a cup. Hmm: awfully weak. Usually my coffee is quite strong and full-bodied, as they say. Big-boned. Okay, fat. This was pale. Remembered: didn't put in new coffee. This was from the old grounds. D'oh.

So, get out the filters, pour in some fresh coffee, fill up the tank, walk away with the intention of returning in five minutes for a damn fine cup of coffee. Come back: coffee everywhere. Forgot to empty the pot.

Made some more, thinking: Grandpa once put the plastic electric percolator on the stove and melted it, and he was sane for another five years, so I'm not that bad off. YET

I’m at the office now, and it’s absolutely silent. This might be expected, since my desk is in the library. It’s still unnerving. It’s not as if anyone needs the helpful power of silence to concentrate while they look at photographs, which is what most of the library has. The back numbers are all digitized. The clip files are in the basement in the morgue drawers. I wonder what will happen to them when we move.

If we move.

The clips are reproduced in digitized versions, of course; you could burn the lot and we’d still have a backup. But they’re tagged, to use the modern term. They’re sorted by subject. Every single page of every single paper was sliced up, dated, folded, and put in an envelope with the subject’s name typed on the green paper. If you needed to write about a particular person, you’d head to the morgue, get out the clips, and check the backstory.

But no one needs to write about those people anymore.

Ahhh, I’m going to have to go down and take some pictures. That used to mean asking the librarian at the front desk for the morgue key, but there isn’t a librarian at the front desk anymore, just like there’s not a trio of ladies in the switchboard room routing calls.

Back. Here’s the morgue. One match away from losing our history:

I found some unusual things, but I always do; it’s the uncollected, unsorted repository of the company’s history - bound copies of income tax filings, photos of employee events, letters, and the occasional thing someone gave us because they were cleaning out the possessions of someone newly deceased, and it seemed a shame to throw it away. There was a pamphlet about Learning Social Dancing, distributed by the Minneapolis Star Home Department. The things we used to do.

That’s your epitaph for all great papers, I suppose.

Never looked at the bound issues of Makers (later Newsmakers), the house magazine.


Either it’s all made up for the purposes of company propaganda, but damn: what a happy shop. Skits! Parties! Bowling teams! There’s the sense of institutional cohesion, which is something that always wafts off the pages of things from the 40s and 50s. One issue reports the results of a survey, and 75% of everyone was happy or very happy or damned near ecstatic with their jobs, with only a troublesome bolshie minority reporting that they wished they hadn’t come here in the first place.

(Looked through a 1962 Picture magazine collection, and there was a piece of paper explaining that an issue is missing because the paper went on strike.)

The newsletter was handsomely made, illustrated, laid out by the pros, printed on fine stock, and covered the building from the grimiest corner to the front door of the boardroom. (Over that threshold it did not tread.) The owners were enlightened deities who descended into the newsroom to bestow or congratulate. Every departing employee got a write-up, and bygone employees were memorialized as well. They’d dust off an old duffer and have him talk about the time they had to put out an issue about the Luisitania. Lists and pictures of all the kids graduating from high school. Most interesting: they had events for employees that had nothing to do with training or social causes - aside from charity fundraisers - but were just intended to provide an opportunity to get together and do things.

If people did express a concern to the survey, why, they followed up on the matter. The feature had its own logo:



A drawing of the lobby globe, replaced decades ago for no good damned reason:



A feller stops by to read the paper - why, it's Gene Autry!



Spotlight on an editor who has a sideline writing those bug-eyed monster stories you see in the Scientifical fiction magazines:


That’s right. Clifford Simak.

After I’d had enough of the books I looked through one of the unnamed cabinets, I found something someone set aside, for no apparent reason: a box of carbon paper. Great Mad-Men era graphics:



And then, something stuffed in the back:


Some kid, a bike, a summer morning. The things we used to do.


A mere Comic Sins, an H-B atrocity, here. See you around!








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