Jackie Clark and the Log Cabin Democrat are ending a mutually beneficial relationship, but for the employee of 45 years it is a bittersweet finale.
She has worked assiduously for the newspaper, standing tall in the business office handling a multitude of jobs in that venue.
And in stature she remains, in fact, tall, lithe and imposing. She handled her job purposefully, making her way through the environs of the newspaper’s nerve center, the heart and soul of a publication, working with skill and without pretension,.
She has virtually seen it all, the comings and goings of a vibrant newspaper. She has known reporters, editors publishers, and other employees, many of whom went on to more influential posts in the industry. She wished them well and stayed abreast of their fortunes.
She has been a stalwart at the Log Cabin Democrat, a team player, seldom voicing discontent or anger, She garnered friends easily and even served as a friendly mentor to many.
Today she leaves the team with feelings that are mixed, awaiting retirement and not knowing what to expect, a natural feeling for a person who has given a good portion of her life to one place.
With her go the words of approbation and the coveted ring of good wishes from the staff of the newspaper and the many friends she made over the years.
Yet, through it all, she will have memories of the first day she faced Frank Robins, the LCD publisher whose powerful presence was something to experience. She had come, hat in hand, to face the boss, backed by support of her husband Don, who was a pressman at the newspaper.
"I was scared to death," she recalls. "I had heard of so many things about Mr. Robins, about how hard he was, things like that, but I always found him fair and approachable. He demanded excellence and he got it. It made him sick to see errors."
To say that the publisher was a very meticulous person is a correct assumption, she said, laughing at the notion that it could be otherwise. "He would not put up with errors, and if you made one, for whatever reason, you’d hear about it in no uncertain terms."
Clark had come to the LCD after a short stay of work at the Baldwin Piano Company. It was a fairly menial job, unfitting for a woman with her business instincts. At the newspaper she was able to spread her wings in the vital business end of the business, first handling classified ads.
If a wayward employee, she noted, escaped the wrath of the publisher there was always editor Joe McGee to contend with.
Joe was an old school editor and hard worker, Clark said. "I remember Joe going out on the street every morning about 8 o’clock and returning a couple of hours later with all the news in town. It’s one of the things I’ll never forget," she says.
Meanwhile Clark and the rest of the business office stayed by the telephone, taking news bits, advertising, especially classified ads. She handled the payroll and everything else. Then came the computer in the late 1970’s, she said. "We moved from Oak Street to Front Street in 1980, and everything went upside down. I never liked the computer," she professes.
Among her memories, of course, are the huge ledger sheets that virtually outlined the business end of the newspaper. "I did everything by hand. Each day I would measure the paper to note the number of inches each advertiser had for that day. And at the end of the month, I had to take each sheet for each advertiser and total them up. "And that’s how far we’ve come in the business world," she shook her head.
On Oak Street, where the LCD and the Conway Printing Company worked in tandem, to Front Street and now in the post office building, the Log Cabin Democrat has endured, despite threats from the electronic world. Yet for the Clarks of the world "There will always be room for the printed word," she said.
Now that retirement is at hand, Clark is curious about how she will handle retirement given he fact that she has few hobbies, except for travel. "Yes, I’m a little apprehensive about it. In fact, with all the technology that there is today, I don’t feel adequate. I’ve tried to stay up with it but I feel intimidated by the computer. You know, I’m 70 years old," she said intimating that she had enough. "Oh, yes," she added, I must not forget about playing cards three nights a week. That’s my hobby. But I don’t know. I will be at loose ends until I figure what I want to do."
In actuality, Clark will have plenty to do in retirement. "We live on a 70 acre farm and, of course, there is always something to do even if you don’t call it a hobby."