I like to keep people like Geraldine Safford in mind when I think about what we do at The Daily Triplicate.
She’s been a faithful customer for 60 years. Think about that. When she started reading her local newspaper, the average cost of a new house in America was $8,450. A gallon of gas ran 18 cents. Dwight Eisenhower was a war hero but still two years away from getting himself elected president.
Back then, Safford had choices for local news sources. There have been plenty of newspapers in Del Norte County over the years, sporting colorful names like the Klamath Chinook and the Gasquet Gazette. The Triplicate was created the same year the Titanic went down, 1912, through the merging of three newspapers.
Safford subscribed to The Triplicate, but was also a regular buyer of the Crescent City American, sold door to door until it was acquired by yours truly in 1969. That’s when we went from weekly to twice-weekly, then to five days a week 20 years ago. She kept reading through good times and bad, for the community and no doubt for the newspaper as well.
A happy occasion brought Safford to the newspaper offices Wednesday. By renewing her subscription during a special promotion, she got her name entered in a drawing and ended up one of five winners of crisp $100 bills. She chatted with a few of us, even gave out a hug or two, but she couldn’t stay long. She said she had to “go to work.”
It’s a busy time of year for the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, and Safford had a half-day shift ahead of her. At age 83, she is a volunteer clothes sorter there, helping to organize incoming donations.
There are a lot of reasons why newspapers are important to the communities they serve. But I can’t think of better motivation than the knowledge that Geraldine Safford is waiting for us each morning, Tuesday through Saturday, year by year, decade after decade.
LETTER SPIGOT TURNS ON
Last week I complained about the shortage of letters to the editor since the election season ended. Then about a dozen arrived in one afternoon.
The power of the press? Not exactly. More like a hazard of the computer era. It seems our website stopped delivering letters — as well as birth notices, etc. — submitted through on-line forms. They were stacking up in some invisible corner of cyberspace for a couple of weeks. Then some technological type at corporate headquarters in Bend pushed the right button and they suddenly showed up in the newsroom “in” box.