The newspaper office was located inside the YMCA building at 907 Kingston Rd. and at the time I worked at the reception desk of the Y. Every morning the staff of the newspaper would pass by my desk and give me a pleasant wave or hello.
As the years passed I could see that the newspaper was growing and it was becoming busier and busier. I was about to become a stay-at-home mom once again as there was new leadership being put in place at the Y and my job would change.
Word got around that I was leaving. Whether it was fate or just luck, I was pleasantly surprised when I was approached by Joan Latimer, the editor of the newspaper, who asked me if I would be interested in a part-time job with the paper (on condition that the executive board of the newspaper approved. They did).
So on Aug. 29, 1983 I joined the staff of Ward 9 Community News. I worked the front desk taking classified ads, answering the phone and doing numerous other tasks when needed.
I came in the year all the staff had to learn to use a piece of equipment called a Telaram which enabled us to set ads and stories electronically – that was an experience in itself. I can’t remember how many times we would, or should I say I would, have to redo an ad because I used the wrong command code.
The days of hot wax and pasteboards have long passed, but I do miss them. It was relaxing yet rewarding when the completed layout was done and the pasteboards were sent off to the printers. I prayed that nothing fell off those boards, but there were always a few minor flubs.
I remember attending my first Ward 9 News annual general meeting in 1983 – there was standing room only. It was the largest attended meeting in the history of the paper and it was also an elections year. A couple of candidates were in attendance and running for office for the newspaper board.
Distribution day was always a bit stressful and hectic – waiting for the truck to arrive on time, getting the truck unloaded, and then the bundling and labelling began with the help of our many volunteers. There was a lot of laughter and camaraderie. Some of our dedicated volunteers have left us but I remember one gentleman named John Gallagher who constantly told jokes and had an endless gift of the gab. He kept us laughing sometimes for so long our sides hurt.
I can’t forget wonderful Ruth Thorne, who in her mid-80s, would take the bus up to the Beach Metro News office at 2196 Gerrard St. E. on distribution day to help with the bundling. She was so efficient and precise. She brought the whole office into a fit of laughter one time when someone made a comment about getting old and Ruth remarked that at her age she never bought green bananas. It still makes me laugh when I think of her.
Then there was adorable Don Smith who was one of our volunteer area captains and was always surprising us with thoughtful little gifts. (We think his wife Wilma was the one behind it all.)
The traditional Beaches Lions Easter Parade along Queen Street was always a favorite and enjoyable event that the newspaper participated in. Each year the staff dressed up in various costumes and walked in the parade carrying the newspaper’s banner. In celebration of the newspapers 25th anniversary, I dressed up as a large walking birthday cake. I thought I was well disguised, no such luck – I got phone calls.
Then there are the many many advertisers I have had the pleasure of dealing with.
On one occasion, a long time advertiser had contacted us to say he was retiring and was selling the business. He came to our office and invited only the ladies of the newspaper out to lunch. He had also informed us that he had told the new owners of his business that they should keep advertising in the Ward 9 News, and they still are to this day.
Another advertiser used to bring in a fully cooked turkey to the office just before Christmas for the staff to enjoy.
As with any job there are highs and there are lows. A low for me was when the advertising manager Brenda Dow decided to retire. The high was when I was given the opportunity to take on the advertising manager position.
Looking back over these 28 years I occasionally have to pinch myself to realize that I have had this remarkable opportunity to be part of this wonderful community newspaper.