For the love of time travel

They say you'll know when you find true love, but it took me a while.

Of course, I'm not talking about romance.

I'm talking about newspapers.

Growing up in Lyon County, we always took the paper.

Every week my mom would pull that fresh Herald Ledger from the mailbox and I would scamper inside to flip through it and see if I could find anyone we knew.

I have known from a very early age that I enjoyed the paper, but that was as deep as my feelings went.

It wasn't until last year, several months after I was transferred from my reporting position at the Cadiz Record (my very first newspaper job) back home to the Herald Ledger that I fully grasped the scope of what local papers mean.

At work last June, I pulled the 1984 book out of the Herald Ledger archives to research something for a story and, as usual, wound up mindlessly flipping through it for much longer than I should have.

Eventually, though, I came across something that stopped me in my tracks: My parents' engagement announcement.

A few page turns later, there was my parents' wedding article.

You see, I lost my mother in February of 2017. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to find any sense of closure with the woman who had been my closest friend my entire life.

Every day after her death, I found myself searching for new little pieces of her: a photo I'd never seen, a story I'd never heard, or a friend I'd never met. It was almost always in vain.

But that June day, with hands stained from the ink spread on those pages over three decades ago, I found a new piece of Momma.

That was the moment I fell in love with newspapers.

I spent the rest of that week plowing through volume after volume from the archives, and came out with a lovely article detailing my Grandmomma Meredith's engagement party, several thank you notes written to my great-grandfather, the reverend Travis Terrell, for funeral services he'd performed, and a series of photos of friends' parents decked out in their high school basketball uniforms or waving from floats on Founder's Day.

I felt like I'd discovered time travel.

No other form of media on the planet is as important to a small town as their local newspaper.

Those flimsy pages are the recorded history of the community and, more importantly, the story of the people who give that community life.

The internet is wonderful, and I will forever sing the praises of local radio, but there is something magical about running your fingers over the pages held by the very hands that shaped the town before your generation took their turn at the helm.

So, that's why I'm here.

I'm here so that one day, years from now, another soul in search of some new piece of a person they've lost can pull out a dusty, old newspaper book, filled with articles we wrote and photos we took, and discover time travel, too.

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