Writing stories that define our community

My Thoughts
by Elaine Blik, Editor
The Aberdeen Times
Well, last week I just finished the final issue of the Aberdeen Times for 2022, which is the 20th issue I have had the pleasure of putting together in my new job. I must say it has been an interesting five months. I have never done so much reading (and re-reading at times) probably since high school. Not to mention, learning something new regarding computer programs, at my young age of 62 has been a challenge.
One thing I have realized is that I am in the process of creating a record of Aberdeen’s history and its people, as I write articles for different things happening in our little town. I am mindful of that when I search out even a little thing of interest to report on. Every week when I read the past issues of The Aberdeen Times to come up with the “Looking Back” column, I am reading a recorded history that someone else reported on and published up to 100 years ago. And oh, how things have changed since 1922, 1932, 1942, 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002 and even 2012.
I will say that two of my favorite years to gather past stories from are 1972 and 1942. I find 1972 fun to look back on because those were my growing up years. There are many little things that I find humorous because the teenagers at that time got away with so much. I was only 12 at the time, but I know the names and recognize others by their preceding reputation of perhaps being mischievous. Life was much more simple then. I miss those times, at times. The memories are enjoyable to think back on.
1942 is my other favorite, because as I read those issues of The Aberdeen Times, they were not only a local paper, they included state, national and world news. And it was wartime. Since it was wartime, it brought into focus the value of things. It brought into focus the patriotism and the urging at the local level of helping the war effort by collecting metal to send away in train cars and purchasing war bonds. (My thoughts are at times, would we do this today?) Even the high school was involved in collecting scrap metal for the war effort. No one questioned the cause. In 1942, my dad would have been 13 and my mom would have been nine. So by contrast, they were also in their “growing up years” during this war time era. By default I am experiencing their lives at that time, by reading the history in these issues of The Aberdeen Times.
The content of the paper on a national level was quite unfiltered, war pictures which in today’s terms, would have shock value. Reading about the rationing of different commodities is quite an eye opener and interestingly, the shortage of some “regular” items parallel to some of the stories we hear today, of possible food shortages due to trucking and the price of fuel, etc. It just takes me back to thinking about paying attention to the value of things and being careful with what we have these days. We certainly have it easier than those who lived during those years, but that shouldn’t change how much value we place on things we have at our disposal. I believe we all tend to take too much for granted in our daily lives and one day, we may regret being that way.
The value of our history has become quite relevant to me in the past few months and the importance of preserving that history. Without that history, can we even define ourselves? What will our children and grandchildren read about in the future, if no history is recorded for them to read?
So, going forward as I continue in this new adventure of mine, I will try to write the stories that define our local community, keeping in mind that down the road a few decades, someone will be reading the decades-old newspaper issues trying to compile a “Looking Back” column to publish for that current generation of readers. Then in 40 years, I’ll be 102, reading The Aberdeen Times “Looking Back” column and chuckling because it may have been something that I wrote about. Now THAT would be history.

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