THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

Rewarding afternoon

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Some old members of Patuxent Publishing Company/Times Newspapers gathered today at the old Flier build in Columbia for a clandestine meeting/reunion. Seeing many old faces, some of which I didn’t recognize immediately was great. It’s been 2-3 decades and sometimes 4 since some had seen each other. There were a few of us present who started in the 70s.

Home for a few decades. Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, I see a lot of them still regularly. One of my best friends, in fact, we started working together in 1980 and have become brothers. Another group I meet with for breakfast about every month or two. Covid did impact us for a bit but we still Zoomed.

This day reminded me of good times. Of laughter and fun together in a small community newspaper group that flourished and faded after many decades of success. There is very little community journalism anymore. And at the same time, more of it but weeding it out isn’t a pleasant chore. Plus the fact-checking or second read and confirming facts/statements from people isn’t there.

No single person or small team can give you the breadth of coverage a community newspaper could. Sports, education, local government, crime, features, business, arts, movies, food, and more all in one place. That kind of product no longer exists in many communities. Advertising moved on to other mediums and that life support system that sustains the staff to bring you all the local news is gone from the print media for the most part. And if something does remain, the remnants of the Howard County Times or Columbia Flier or Catonsville/Arbutus papers are a good example of papers that are shells of themselves and eventually too costly to continue.

Each organization has its own website or newsletter or podcast or Instagram. I remember the days when people would walk into the office on Main Street in Ellicott City and request photos of their kid hitting in little league and meeting another neighbor who was getting a few extra copies of the paper because it listed the school’s graduation roster and people used to send papers to relatives with their kid’s names in them.

But back to the people meeting today. If you are ever lucky enough to work in an organization that is blessed with a lot of special people working very hard together who like to have a good time and lots of laughs while doing it. That is a special thing and I heard that from a lot of people who worked there today. And that was my experience and many others. And therefore the bond of that shared experience binds this group of former employees.

Some of it I think is attributed to the length of time a lot of us spent together—decades in a fair amount of cases. And in a medium-sized company, you still get to know a good number of people pretty well. Some very well and some into lifelong relationships that are carried on decades after working together.

After so much time has passed many have relocated and moved but still stay in touch via Facebook and loved seeing pictures. Also as time has passed some well-loved people have passed on. One big one was just this week. And he is the type of man who would have been at this event and loved it.

There were people there I hired decades ago. I’m really proud of how a lot of them carried on their careers. It was great seeing where people had traveled professionally after working together. Some had actually reunited in the same companies many years later.

I also realized a few things today. I let a few relationships lapse that I hope to do a better job at keeping in touch with in the future. I already keep in touch with a number of people who couldn’t make it that day regularly but I also need to do more in making that more frequent.

I doubt this will be the last gathering. I think the group will actually expand in the future. It was a nice flashback to a wonderful period of time and events on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Owning a home is a second full-time job unless you can pay someone else to take care of it.
  • I feel incomplete, I missed seeing my grandchild this week.
  • Ah, the weekly battle with Mother Nature begins again.
  • Today I’m glad I live in the state of Maryland.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

One thought on “Rewarding afternoon

  1. I really enjoyed reading your summary about how precious a good work environment is, especially when teamed with other hard working and fun loving people. Alot gets done and the moral is good. I remember meeting you at your work place. I also met fellow employees, I could tell they were special.. Great job.

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