Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

February 24, 2014

Tidbits: A walk down memory lane

CROSSVILLE — What an absolutely wonderful weekend! After months of dark, dreary weather, and bitter cold that has kept many people inside, huddled under blankets chasing away the chill, we were blessed with highs near 70 degrees and sunshine — lots and lots of sunshine.

It was enough to help chase away some of those winter blues that had started to plague me, along with a bad case of cabin fever.

It also had the effect of making me want to clean house. I've never been a fan of spring cleaning, but this past weekend, I couldn't help it. I was washing windows, organizing closets, scrubbing floors and tossing out some accumulated "junk." I'd like to pause of a moment and thank my mother for the genetic predisposition to be a pack rat. I thought I had that impulse under control, but after going through a few closets and the craft/disaster room, I realized I did not. It took several trips to the recycling center to rid my home of the stuff I decided was no longer needed.

Of course, I came across several things I just could not bear to get rid of. I probably shouldn't have even opened the box. When I did, I was flooded with memories.

There I had a collection of several years worth of newspapers, all with my byline. These are not recent writings. They're from my early years writing for the Crossville Chronicle and the Glade Sun. At one time, it was common practice for newspaper writers to collect their newspaper clippings as examples of their work. I kept the papers, but never got around to actually clipping the stories. But as I sifted through those old papers, the memories came flooding back and it was as though the interviews for those stories took place only yesterday.

There was my feature on Ed Smiley, who was an engineer for NASA during the Apollo missions. He became a character in the movie Apollo 13 because his team came up with the fix for the air filters. He retired to Fairfield Glade  and I was privileged to talk with him about the experience in the fall of 2001.

There were lots of stories from my early days covering the Cumberland County Board of Education, including the meeting where it was decided Homestead Elementary, which had been suffering from issues with mold, would not be razed and rebuilt, but instead remodeled. The old gym would have to go, but a new gym that reflected the unique architecture and style would be built in its place, with additional classroom space, as well.

Looking back, I was a wide-eyed kid hoping I could make a go of this career I had chosen.

I recall my very first assignment for the Glade Sun, though I can't find my copy of it anywhere. In my first week at the newspaper, in August 2000, in my first job right out of college, I was trying to find a way to be useful. The Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation had sent information about a campaign under way to purchase Black Mountain to become part of the Cumberland Trail, which was brand new at the time.

The information from the foundation talked of the historical significance of the site and how it would play an integral role in the new linear state park. Brock Hill, then Cumberland County Mayor, was the local contact for the campaign, and he agreed to show me around the site and explain why it was so important that it be preserved for generations to come.

That's all recorded in the archived copies of the Glade Sun. Now, here's the rest of the story.

Back then, we used film to capture pictures, instead of the nice digital cameras we use today. After taking the photos, we'd run the film to a local one-hour processing place and then scan the negatives. It produced a better reproduction than scanning a print. On Thursday, I dropped off my film to be processed, planning to scan my photos and get a jump on the following week's issue. It was a holiday week that next week. With Labor Day on Monday, the office would be closed, but my deadline on Tuesday remained. I hoped to finish most of the issue up on Friday and enjoy Labor Day as a new member of the full-time work force.

Except that didn't happen. I had a snafu with the film. When I returned to pick up the developed negatives, they were blank, and a strange purple color.

It seems I had picked up a roll of black and white film instead of color film. Black and white film could not be developed by the one-hour processing business, and the mistake hadn't been noticed by myself or the photo technician until it was too late.

A great photo helps people want to read a story, and I was now without a picture. Thankfully, I was full of energy. I grabbed more film, checking it first to ensure it was color, and a friend and returned to the trail to get more photos. The first time, I had been lucky enough to come across a group of young people, probably about my age, sitting and looking out over the valley below. This time, there was no one else on the trail. I've always regretted not getting a record of that shot.

Over the years, there have been more missed shots, for various reasons, and each one teach a lesson. That first lesson though, was important. Always check your film before you head out, and take lots and lots of pictures. You won't be able to use them all, but it increases the odds you'll get something memorable.

And that's what we're in the business of here at the Chronicle, recording memories. As I looked back over some of my own from those early years, I'm glad I was a bit of a pack rat.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014