Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A Few of My Favorite Things
Aside from buying and reading a newspaper wherever I am, the next best thing I enjoy is reading about newspapers. I'm sure it's hard to imagine for some, but I was happy to read about the Toronto Globe and Mail, and other Canadian newspapers in general when the NYT recently ran a story on their publishing styles and approach to the Web.
It's been 10 years since I was in Canada, and reading about the newspapers made me "homesick." I've seen so many NHL games, on TV and in person, listened to the Canadian anthem so often, and heard so many hockey players interviewed between periods that soon after this immersion I'm nearly ending sentences in, "eh."
So, I set out to buy a weekday edition of the Globe and Mail here in New York. This proved impossible. They do not distribute to the States. Even Hotalings, that last refuge for out-of-town papers, that's now moved so far west in Manhattan that they're nearly in the Hudson river, doesn't get the paper.
I'm so used to coming to work and buying a paper that my only approach to acquiring a paper has been a newsstand. I resorted to ordering a back copy from the paper itself and paying a good multiple of the $1.50 cover price, which by the way is not on the cover, but noted instead in a small box in the lower portion of page two.
When I mentioned this to someone who might be recognizable as the sunny doyenne of library advocacy, they were shocked. The library doesn't have a copy of the paper?
Along with forgetting I could have had a V-8, I also completely forgot libraries do carry hardcopy back issues of newspapers. My somewhat expensive alternative was however already being shipped. And I got it, and I enjoyed looking at it and of course taking in the obituaries, which quite appropriately were placed in the Sports section. They know what they're doing in Canada.
But the library remained a possibility. The big guy on 5th Avenue is not far from work so I figured one night I'd be able to sit down with a small stack of Globe and Mails and have what for me passes as fun.
Well, I did have a little. The august building holds the equally august DeWitt Wallace periodical room. Oozes charm, nostalgia, great lighting, marquetry tables and ONE copy of the Globe and Mail, from March 29, 2010. I was getting some post-Winter Olympic news, as well as some spring training reports for the coming 2010 baseball season. I know how it turned out.
But the obituaries were there, and are a bit timeless. In the Sports section. However, the three news obituaries were from the NYT News Service, and I had already read them. They get a nice 4-5 column layout, with good size pictures, so it's obvious this is a feature they pay attention to in Canada.
But off the obituary page, on the last page of the last section, is a 'Lives Lived' column. This is a 'Portraits of Grief' style piece about someone who has passed away, and not necessarily someone most people knew of. What distinguishes these pieces is that they are not written by the staff of the paper, or from a service. They are written by family, likely edited by the paper, but original to someone closely connected to the deceased.
The one I read in the March edition was about someone who had passed away in November 2009, a 60 year old man from PEI (Prince Edward Island) who loved hockey. Played it, coached it, breathed it.
The piece was written by his daughter Chera, and had a lead worthy of any professional.
Paul Jelley acknowledged that growing up he was difficult, hot-tempered and determined. Over the years he was able to control everything but the last.
The piece went on for a good 7-8 column inches and closed with the heart-felt sentiment you would expect from a loved one:
We live in a better place because he lived.