Thursday, August 16, 2007


I do not know why I continue to take the newspaper.

Actually it is Dad's subscription of course, not mine. I suppose he has had it since 1951. At least the newspaper has come as long as I can remember and I am pretty sure before. When we first moved here the daily paper came in the mail and we were on a rural route. The Sunday paper was delivered though.

My grandparents lived across the driveway from us. They taught me to read using the Sunday paper. My grandmother in particular would read the Sunday comics with me (not to me). I could read quite a bit by the time I started school. My teachers thought I was precocious but really I just had good parents and grandparents.

In the evenings, after work and outside chores and supper dishes were done, Dad would sit in his chair and read the paper. He read it from cover to cover and every article. He even read the classified ads. I know he enjoyed it but I think he also felt it was almost an obligation. As with so many other things in his life he retained that habit up until just the last few years. But he hasn't read the paper in a while now.

Used to we would sit at the little breakfast nook table and read the obituaries together while we were having our coffee. Mom and dad liked reading the obituaries and sometimes knew someone. I was a bit upset when I started reading them, too. It just seems such a sure sign that you've arrived at old age. But they are very interesting I must admit. Especially when you compare them to the rest of the news.

Now if I read the paper I usually pull up the Internet version. It's just easier that way and the Internet version is included in the subscription price. That way if I see an interesting article I can email it.

So on Mondays I usually throw away the entire Sunday paper unopened. Dad had a ritual of sorts with the Sunday paper. He would remove all advertising. Then he would tell mom "There is nothing in this thing but ads." Mom sometimes wanted to see the ads though so he didn't throw them away until she had approved.

I usually read the Saturday paper because I like to look at the real estate section. I don't like it on the Internet very much for some reason. My wife and I have been talking about a new home for us someday so I like to look at the house plans and different articles about housing and stuff like that.

I still have the old telephone number, too. The telephone did not arrive here until about 1962 or 1963 as I recall. Before then we would drive to the neighbor's house and use theirs. They were on a party line. When we got ours though it was private.

And the phone is a black desktop model just like the one in the image. It is heavy. It still works. The ringer scares me out of my skin. I don't use Dad's telephone number either. If anyone calls it they get the answering machine. Almost no one does call though. Almost all of Dad's generation that were in his circle are gone now.

There are a lot of things here that are no longer used besides the newspaper and the telephone number. But I keep them all anyway.


nancy said...

thanks for the post. my dad no longer reads the paper either and that was a daily ritual for him as well. the telephone recollection brought back memories as well. when my parents first bought their home up in door county in the late 70's, they had a party line. it was the first one i had ever seen. out of curiosity i remember i used to frequently walk by the phone to check if the other party was one the phone!

thanks for triggering those memories!

Lori1955 said...

No newspaper in this house. I hate it when the paper keeps calling to get you to subscribe. I finally started telling them that I'm blind.
I actually don't remember party lines. I think I should at my age but I don't.

~Betsy said...

I love this post! It reaches back in time and I can easily picture you and your family doing chores, reading the paper and answering that phone!

My parents also had a black desk model similar to this photo. I swear we were the last in the neighborhood to get a push button phone. My parents didn't get rid of that black rotary phone until I moved out, if memory serves me.

My husband and I rented our first telephone in our first apartment. It was a desk model, but red and push button. We thought we were so modern!

Great post. Thanks!

steflovesnonna said...

I know how you feel. There are so many things around this house that remind me of her. Its painful but well i couldent ever get rid of them. Ever her chair in front of the TV remains empty because I just couldent stand to sit there, or let anyone else sit there. Its not my house to change anyways. I wont even be here in a few weeks. It doesn't help to think that way though. :(

Thanks for posting this topic, its a good one to think about.

flintysooner said...

I really appreciate you all. Thanks for the comments.

SKYGIRL said...

Hey; Mr. Flinty! I have been meaning to drop you a line. I just recently found that Mother can not recognise words, and she was a varosious (spelling) reader! Always hand one book going at all times. I stood over her shoulder, as she tried to read me a Dear Abby Column, like she had for a zillion years! I had to 'give' her about every third word, but she didn't seem to mind. Poor thing, I Love her so!

Anyway "Flinty" I am going to take a wild guess here, and say that I believe that your 'tag' name is because of The Sooner's Football Team??? Well, both sides of my family, Mom & Dad are from Oklahoma City. My Grandmother had a gorgeous old, glamerous home, they built from scratch in 1930, in Edgemere Park. But she was such a "BIG" Sooners fan, she had this awful shaggy red-fur toilet cover, with the white "Sooners" Logo in the half-bath, downstairs!

My Mother's Mother, and my Father's Mother, were best friends, and only lived about 6 blocks away from each other (Dad's Mom lived in Putman Heights) They used to go to EVERY Sooners game, and their claim to fame is that they would sit in the V.I.P. Seats, and act like poor little old ladies, that needed help up & down the stairs, but neither one of them did!

My Mother's Mother lived to be 107 1/2. She was definately the Matriarce (spelling!) of our Family. Miriam McGuffin West. Married to Dr. W. K. West. They were in the paper quite often, I wonder if any of your family crossed paths with mine?


flintysooner said...

We got a TV in 1956 and a little later there was a show called "Wagon Train" that I enjoyed. One of the regular characters was Flint McCullough and I became enamored with the name Flint. I told everyone for a while that I wanted them to call me Flint. I was about 9 probably. It didn't last very long and no one saw much reason to acquiesce to my request.

And I did graduate from the University of Oklahoma which is the home of the Sooners.

So that's the exciting story of how I arrived at my screen name.

I love Edgemere Park and Putnam Heights. I looked at houses in both areas a number of years ago but ended up building a new, old house. I am not much of a football fan but most everyone else here is so that makes up for it.

The West name is not familiar to me. 107.5 is a pretty long life by any standards. The only famous person I remember my dad talking about knowing was Wiley Post and that was way back in the 20's and 30's.

Thanks for the comment - enjoyed it immensely.

redcedar said...

It's so interesting reading here and on the ALZ forum, to see how many details that seem so personal to one's own family are actually being repeated over and over in families all over the country (and world).

That newspaper ritual was such a symbol of normal life in my folk's home, and it was one of the very last things to go away with the Alzheimer's.

For a long time after he could comprehend it at all, my father would "read" it religiously every day. Now it means nothing to him. He will occasionally pick it up and hold it, or smooth it on the table, but he just can't connect with it any more.

flintysooner said...

Believe it or not my dad can still read and in particular his name which seems to fascinate him. But he doesn't do it much now.

Finally I would show him the paper and ask him if he wanted to read it and he would tell me that he had already read it.

Strangely enough he enjoyed looking at People magazines for a while, too.

cornbread hell said...

my mom still reads, but it's really hard to find her something that interests her. if you have any suggestions for something that may hold the interest of a *middle stage* alzheimer's person, i'd love to hear of it.
if so, you can email me at r2bibby at gmail dot com.

it's clear to me she relates to the past. her distant past. the 30's / 40's.
we go to the library several times a week, but not much of what we take gets read. maybe re-read, but ...

anyway, i can't help but wonder if someone in the community hasn't come up with a genre for those with alzheimer's.