I've been on a sentimental journey this week because on Thursday, June 22, this hometown boy will have been working at the Boothbay Register for 30 years — six months as a reporter/assistant editor and 29 years and six months as editor/reporter.
Back in June of 1987, Brud would stop by the office on Tuesday nights to see if we wanted a hot dog or two while we worked late getting the paper done by Wednesday morning. Bill Harris, Bill Yocum, Mary Brewer, Dave McKown, Joyce Bell, Lynn Cartwright and I would take a brief supper break before returning to the typewriters, phototypesetting machine, waxer and strips of paper copy to attach to the layout sheets. No cell phones to answer, no computers, email, websites, or anything else that would connect us to the rest of the world in a microsecond.
Out covering a meeting or finishing typing their stories were my first reporters, Liz Coxe and Julia Underwood, and interns, Perry Bradley, Frouwkje Gilkey and Brigette Barton.
After the paper was "put together," Dave McKown would drive the pages to the printer — Lincoln County Publishing in Damariscotta at that time — wait for the papers to be printed and loaded into the Register van, and drive them back to the Register to be unloaded for mailing and distribution to area businesses ... or to homes by one of the last “paper boys,” Jon Greene.
Been here quite a while. Not as long as my mentor, Mary Brewer, was (over 50 years) — and I don’t plan to match her — but I have seen a lot of changes in the business and I’ve worked with a lot of people. At last count, I have “tutored” 45 reporters and photographers, worked with about as many front office, production and Wiscasset Newspaper employees, and have written hundreds of stories and taken thousands of photographs.
I started working at the Register before both current town offices were built in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. One of my first “big” assignments was covering the sentencing of Joel Caulk, aka, William John Meskis down in York, Maine. Caulk was given a life sentence for murdering real estate agent Nikki Cleveland. Caulk, who had a lengthy criminal record dating back to the 1970s while living in California, lived in East Boothbay at the time of the murder in 1981 and the scary part of the whole story was that my wife and I had dinner with Caulk and his wife at their Lincoln Street home before we got married in 1982. His wife catered our small wedding reception, held in the home we were living in at the time on Gilead Street, Boothbay Harbor.
So many stories – most not as intense as the one above — but, I could write a book. Some day, if I ever get to retire, I may write about my years as a small town newspaper editor.
But for now, it’s on to year 31 and collecting more memories.
Thank you, Mary Brewer, and the Cowan family, for giving this guy a chance, and a career I’ve enjoyed very much.