I have been asked a lot of questions in my life, especially since I started writing these articles for the Delaware Gazette.
The three most often asked questions, pertaining to my articles, include:
1. Are you being paid to write these articles?
2. Does the editor ever change any of what you have already written?
3. How did it come about that you are having these articles published in the Gazette?
In case others may have the same questions, I decided to use this opportunity to write about these three points of interest.
In response to the question asking if I am being paid to write these articles, the answer is “no.” I am not paid any money to write them. Though I am not being paid any monetary sum, I have gotten to talk to people I would never have gotten to talk to otherwise.
For instance, when the topic is about old Delaware, the response is really enjoyable because some of the readers like being reminded of what Delaware County used to be like in the 50s, 60s and 70s. They like talking about the Boston Store, Uhlmans, the News Shop, and what the original Buns Restaurant used to be like with the bakery included. They also like talking about “Bun,” himself, as well as his son, who was called “Biscuit.” And just recently, I got to talk to the pharmacist from the downtown Revco drug store about how convenient it was for me to be able to drop off a prescription on my walk to lunch, and then pick it up on my walk back to work.
In response to the questions asking if the Delaware Gazette changes any of what I have written, it’s a “no” on that one, too. (Well, nothing that I have noticed anyway.) My answer has always been that the only thing they ever change is the title. This is in order to make it more interesting. My titles are probably a little too bland to make anyone want to read what it is about. They sometimes make the title longer, so it will jump out at you. And this has been a good thing to do. They are the ones who know what catches the attention of the readers.
My answer to the third most asked question goes back three editors ago. I will try to explain how it came about that my articles are being published in the Delaware Gazette. It all started when my first article was published in the “First Person” column of the Columbus Dispatch. A writer friend of mine urged me to enter what I had written about when my husband, George, lost his billfold in the Orlando International Airport. (With no ID, there is no way you could get on a plane.) So, I read the instructions for entering a story for the “First Person” column and followed exactly what they requested.
When I sent it to them on April 1, 2016, they called and said it will be in the Saturday “First Person” column on April 9, 2016. And, it was!! Because of that happening, my same friend asked me what else I had written about, and I told her about my story of the Brown Jug Restaurant closing, and another story about growing up going to the Strand Theatre. That’s when she told me to send one of them to the Delaware Gazette.
So, I called the paper and was told that I could send my story to them and they would read it. I sent the one about the Brown Jug Restaurant closing, and they published it the next week. Then the next week I sent another one, and they published that one, about the Strand Theatre, as well. So I continued sending them every week for one entire year. That meant that I sent them 52 articles in 52 weeks and each was published. Somewhere in there is when the editors of the Gazette changed. So, I sent a letter to each of the next two new editors explaining what I had been doing and asked if they wanted me to continue or not. They each said for me to continue writing and sending them in.
At the beginning of my second year, I cut back to sending just one every other week, and that was fine with them, as well. This is my 96th article since I started in July of 2016.
The best part of this whole experience has been for me to get to talk to a lot of people about several of my topics. They include the one about hearing aids, the one about there having been a rec center in Delaware, and the one about meeting an Angel. I am fortunate to run into people who also want to talk about Willis High School, and had the same teachers we both like to reminisce about. This always included Mr. Felts. And sometimes people have asked about how the kids are doing in their riding horses at our horse farm.
My thanks go to the Delaware Gazette for making this all possible.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.