Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Work And I Slave, And Yes, I Do Like My Job

Well, I did back in the mid to late 90's.

Yes, I'm guilty again of back-to-back days of posting. It's just that I couldn't think of anything to talk about yesterday, thus the amusing picture of the inflatable frog. Glad everyone enjoyed it. Might make a regular feature in the upcoming weeks. Anyways, we return you now to our unscheduled post.

As everyone is no doubt aware of, I work for the 'wonderful' state of CT. At the moment, my current duties involve the remote possibility of screwing up people's paychecks, so people are extra nice to me during pay week (like now). However, my first job (which I've allude to only a couple times in this blog), involved working at the State Library. Specifically, the Preservation dept., which was a sub-dept. of the Collections Management dept., which in itself was a sub-dept of the Information Services dept.

Follow me so far? If not, don't worry. If you thought the Federal govt. was byzantine, the state govt was/is positively Rube Goldberg (if you don't quite understand Rube Goldberg, then think 'General Hospital'. Means the same thing) with its various agency offspring.

Anyways, my first job was working with old CT newspapers. My duties were varied: retrieving them from the attic, categorizing them, prepping them for microfilming, assorted clerical duties and meeting with the general public. Without a doubt, my favorite duty (besides dealing with the general public, since that got me out of the office and on the road {ROAD TRIP!}) was prepping newspapers to get them ready for microfilming.

As much fun as I had in the general destruction of the what they came in (24-36" by 15-18" hardcovers), what got really got my attention was the content. Whether it was the articles, or the funky adverts, or even the incredible mastheads (title of the paper), it was the be all to end all.

Newspapers back then were the lifeblood of the community. The content ranged from the normal national/international news, to the state and local news, or in most cases when you were reading a weekly, extremely local (like Mr. & Mrs. Miller were leaving on a summer trip to the continent).

I seriously enjoyed reading these newspaper, because not only did I get a feel for the area and the community it covered (especially when were doing say, a fifty year run of the newspaper), but it gave me an opportunity to read about a national story, or even a state story from multiple angles and viewpoints.

Example: The Hartford Circus Fire. A major calamity of tragic proportions, on a personal scale in this state never experienced before or since (Please don't jump on me with this, I'm only talking within the state of CT). I read about 20 different accounts on this story, ranging from the major dailies that we did (Hartford Morning Post, Norwich Bulletin) to the weeklies (Deep River New Era, The Western, and The Stafford Press), each one with a personal or semi-personal view of the tragedy.

And not only did I get multiple viewpoints of a particular story, I was able to follow other types of things that caught my interest then and still holds my interest now, like comics.

Ah, comics. Some of the comics that are still running today, I was very much able to follow almost from the beginning. And with other comic strips, I was able to follow those from the very beginning to the bittersweet end. One example would be the ever popular TV Guide crossword puzzle answer, that the clue always read: 4 letters____Kett or 4 letters Etta____. This was an actual comic strip about a young lady in her perpetual 20's, who was always getting into some misadventure that had to do with getting...married. This strip ran from the 1920's right up until the artist died in the early 70's.

Still others I were able to follow only after reading them elsewhere: Toonerville Trolley. I got into that strip when I was kid, courtesy of my local library, when I found a book that contained a selection of Fontaine Fox's best strips. Excellent strip that really showed a slice of Americana from the Great Depression to the death of the trolley (via the auto manufacturers).

These are only a few examples as to why I really loved my job from 1996-2002. I hope to make this part of my life a continuing bi-monthly feature, as I want to share my love of newspapers and history with all of you.


  1. I was just thinking about comic strip spans the other day! I can't wait for more about this!

  2. Got alot of them I'll try to touch on in the coming weeks/months.

    I'll even try to remember some fascinating things about them as it relates to work.


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