Just the other day, I had an old morning Duluth News Tribune in my hand. The headline, in huge bold, black print, was “ASTROS WALK ON MOON.” This story was not about the Houston Astros baseball team.
A similar headline appeared in almost every newspaper across our country on Monday, July 21, 1969. Nothing was going to upstage the story of Apollo 11 and the first two men stepping foot on the moon. The paper was 10 cents.
I imagine reading this story on the internet wouldn’t give you the same emotion as holding the actual newspaper printed a few hours after that historical moment.
I remember sitting on the floor watching the event with my parents that evening. I was less than one month from turning 16.
I bring this up because I have a couple storage containers filled with old newspapers. The other day, I opened the containers and took a look. I am saving certain newspapers for my grandchildren.
I got to contemplating: Will they ever look at them? Am I wasting my time? I suppose my grandchildren have had school assignments that required them to look at newspapers. Other than that, their household has never received a newspaper.
My 9/11 newspapers will be 20 years old next year, when I’m sure in 2021, there will be an outpouring of stories about the Twin Towers tragedy in 2001.
My grandkids are teenagers. Right now, they could care less about old newspapers. I certainly never had any sense of history at that age. Most of us didn’t develop this characteristic, if at all, until later in life.
We first needed to be an eyewitness or an onlooker to the historical events of our generation. As boomers, we had our share.
I called my older brother, Ron, the other day. Since his retirement, he and his wife, Nina, have spent the past 20 years as book dealers. They currently operate the Broadway Book Mall in Lakewood, Colo. Ron also loves his newspapers.
He has saved many over the years, but not just for big headlines like 9/11 or the election of Barack Obama. He also takes an interest in state and city government, prices, and how newspapers have evolved. However, he’s not exactly sure where his old newspapers are located.
When we were kids, I can still picture my brother with a fishing pole in one hand and a book in the other. He said he was pretty sure that in the four years we lived in Alaska, he never caught a fish.
As newspapers continue to disappear, my guess is, 50 years from now, pulling out a real newspaper about historical events will draw a crowd. They will be an artifact filled with information regarding American culture. There will be oohs and aahs.
I envision a conversation many years from now that one of my grandchildren will have with their grandchildren. He or she pulls out the very newspaper I have in my hand right now.
They say, “Look at this, kids. One hundred years ago, man first walked on the moon. My grandpa left this and some other old newspapers for me. He was all about history. Pretty cool, huh?”
Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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