hark, The Herald

By kateandcarla

January 14, 2011

Category: Uncategorized


It’s not unusual for my brother, living in southern California, or me, residing in the Rockies, to be the first to share news from the Des Moines Register or Centerville Iowegian with our mom in Ft. Dodge.  Both he and I are avid online readers, which makes the 1800 miles separating our three homes pretty much a non-issue these digital days.

It also makes my ritual upon receiving a fresh issue of The Seymour Herald all the more fun. Where I only read the hard-copy of my own city newspaper on Sundays, just let that little weekly edition from southern Iowa show up in my mailbox and it’s coffee-and-catch-up time.

The Herald has been my annual birthday gift from my folks since I moved to Denver in 1972. Our farm was “next door,” in country terms, to that of the current publishers— the mom-and-daughter team of Karen Young and Vickie Young Decker. (Their husband/father Bernard was infamous for quietly phoning my mom to ask if she wanted to raise an orphan lamb. Which she always did.  And which never merited a warm reception from my Angus-raising, sheep-eat-the-grass-too-short father.)

For many years, Mom was the paper’s weekly correspondent from Promise City, relaying news to then-publishers Wayne and Jeanne Davis.  She gathered the who-visited-whom news, marking marriages and births, and extending sympathies when a neighbor passed. More than a few blue Bic® pens gave their all at our kitchen table. And when my friends Marilyn Snook, Dottie Warren and I were tagged to be student editors of The Pepper, working with the Davis duo and seeing that work in print proved a highlight of high school.

More than once, The Herald has kept me literally connected with other southern Iowa expatriates.  Living on the east side of metro Denver, my copy was once re-delivered by the former Sandy Legg, as my paper had been tucked inside of hers.  When I moved to the west side, it was my turn:  Wayne Sell’s Herald was delivered to me, which mandated we meet for lunch to keep communications flowing.

It’s difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with rural ways or those still living in their original settings what that small, black-and-white missal can mean.  It’s more than the news—although I love reading that my friend Doris’ granddaughter was crowned Miss Rodeo, my friend Marvin has served another season shoveling in the Iowa State Fair arenas or my friends Marilyn and Dottie—yes, the same ones with whom I co-edited 40-plus years ago—just spent long weekends with their families.

No, for me, the best benefit is the way it helps me keep pace with life changes as they’re occurring.  Farm kids learn early, and sometimes not easily, that seasons come and go and come again.

The Herald brings that home.


5 Responses to “hark, The Herald”

  1. From my friend Will:

    I had kinda forgotten how small-town newspapers hold that small town’s community together, both locally and long distance. My parents subscribed to the Colby Free Press forever, and even I enjoyed reading it because I knew a lot of the family names even if I didn’t know the particular persons.

    I also had the opportunity to see the importance of the paper from the other side. In the KU J-School, one of the senior classes was a mini-internship. One day each week, those of us in the class went to a “real” newspaper in the area and worked there. I worked at the Ottawa Daily Herald–about 25 miles south of Lawrence. There were several KU grads working on the paper, and they were not above putting some heat on their student intern. One day the woman who had been paper’s society editor since the buffalo still roamed the open plains surrounding the town, called in sick. So, I had the “pleasure” of being Society Editor for a Day. I struggled through the day, getting a spelling of everyone’s name, hearing about the baby showers and the wedding showers and the coffees and the teas and the church receptions and the post-funeral receptions and who poured and who served and who hosted and who attended and so on. Always wondered what readers thought when that edition of the paper went out locally and was mailed out nationally with a one-day-only byline showing stories were written by “Willard B. Hardesty, Daily Herald Society Editor.”

  2. When my brother Dick was in Viet Nam, his bunk mate was from New York City. If the bunk mate got the mail first, he would devour Dick’s Seymour Herald! He’d quiz Dick and ask did you know that so-and-so had dinner with so-and-so?? He never knew that small town papers printed such activities! Now I am writing news for our little town. Not only do I write about the activities of families, I try to notice good things happening in the community and give them proper attention and appreciation, much like the Herald does. I love living in a small community. When someone is hurting, neighbors rush in to help, something we experienced first hand after Carroll’s accident. And when our boys’ basketball team went to state, the whole town practically shut down to go to the games! True, everyone knows what you do and where you go, but they also recognize your needs and aren’t afraid to help. They care..

    • Love it! Especially the Vietnam story. You mentioned the neighbors responding when Carroll was hurt…Gary reminded me not long ago how the other farmers came in to harvest Dad’s crops following his heart attack. (Also, just heard from Wayne Arthur…he’d just read the band piece and had some fun “additions.” 😉

  3. Carla,
    As with Marilyns comments, I too, looked forward to the Seymour Herald when I was in Vietnam. It was like an extra letter from home each week. Guys in my artillery outfit would read it and comment about the different people in the stories. I had a buddy from WayCross, Georgia who would read it and find no difference in the way we lived in southern Iowa to where he came from in southern Georgia. The more we know the more we’re the same.

    • Hey, Randy –
      Loved your thought on “the more we’re the same.”
      My neighbor Verleen actually read half my Herald before realizing it wasn’t the paper from her hometown in rural Nebraska and had been placed in the wrong mailbox.
      And while you’re on the blog…Wayne Sell says Ron Thompson, Dennis Huffine and you actually put the SCHS band into overdrive one time and hit 150-beats+ because you had a date that night and didn’t want to be late. True? or is Wayne Arthur spreading nasty rumors? 😉

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