Staying in touch?

By Bill Shepard

It is hard to find a real bargain these days and to know one when you see it is harder still! Your newspaper may be one of the few that remain. Whether you buy it at a newsstand or have it mailed to your door, your newspaper is a bargain!

Think about it! For little more than the cost of a postage stamp or the price of a cold drink, you can have the News and Press mailed to your door! Nothing can enhance my cup of coffee more than having my paper spread on the table before me as I read of the happenings back home.

Bill Shepard

Bill Shepard

I look forward each week to the day when the mailman delivers my paper. If for some reason it is a day late, I suffer disappointment! Upon its arrival, I scan it quickly, glancing first at the headlines on the front page, then to the Opinion page (wonder why?) and on to the Obit page. Most of the folk that I once knew in Darlington have already had their names appear on that page. That being behind me, I settle down to the catching up with all the new happenings going on in and around Darlington. The staff at the News and Press are doing a great job at keeping all of us informed as to all that is happening all over the county!

This newspaper keeps me in touch with the town and the people that I left behind a long time ago. Through the long years since I have been away, this newspaper has been my link to my hometown! Through this paper, I followed the events as they happened concerning the old mill and the people that worked there. Through this paper, I learned the deaths of many of my childhood friends and acquaintances. I lived in Florida for forty years but this newspaper coming to my home never let me forget the place of my raising.

On one occasion, while living in Florida, I wrote an article for this paper and titled it, “My Unforgettable Teacher”. I was remembering my third grade teacher at St. John’s. Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I went to my mailbox and found a short letter from Mrs. Edna (Looper) Anderson, who had been my third grade teacher. From that day on until she died, we stayed in touch with each other.

I cannot imagine Darlington without the News and Press! The two are synonymous! I recall as a young boy, walking barefoot along Pearl Street in Darlington and passing a building with the words News and Press printed on a large window, but did not know that it was a newspaper! Occasionally I would go inside and purchase a pencil or a package of Blue Horse notebook paper. It would be years later that I would know that the words News and Press were the name of a newspaper.

Recently I read in this paper that the Cheraw Chronicle had given up the fight, closed its doors, and surrendered its position in that community. I can only imagine how it will be missed. I thought as I read, what if that was the News and Press instead of the Cheraw Chronicle? God forbid that it should happen, but it could!

Newspapers have come upon hard times, and from strong competition. I recently talked with a newspaper distributor here in the upstate and he revealed to me some of the problems his paper was having staying alive. The competition from TV, computers, and other modern technology is fierce, he said. The man was standing in the lobby of a large store and offering free newspapers to those passing by. When one passerby refused one, the man said to me and said, “See, I can’t even give them away!” How sad!
I am proud to be a subscriber and a supporter of this old paper! It has been reporting the ups and downs of this old town for a longer time than any of us have lived. May it continue to do so!

I had a conversation recently with an old Darlingtonian. He, like myself, had been gone from Darlington many years. He stated that he and another former Darlingtonian decided to visit their old hometown. When they were driving around the square viewing scenes of old memories, he said to the driver, “Turn down Orange Street!” When they arrived at the place where the old mill once stood, he was surprised to see only an open space! He said to the driver, “I wonder if Bill Shepard knows that the old mill has been torn down?” When the caller told me that story, I knew that he had not stayed in touch with his hometown.

Stay in touch with your hometown, and there is no better way than through this newspaper!

[Editor’s Note: Thank you Bill! We love you! ]

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.
His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C., 29673

Author: Duane Childers

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