The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Some frames shouldn't be touched


October 5, 2017 | View PDF

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that absolutely drives my significant other crazy. I like collecting newspapers from far off and odd places. I don’t really want to do anything with them ... just collect them and throw them around the house.

I have done it for years. There’s a paper from Israel that I can’t read. There’s a paper from Chukotka that I can’t read. There’s the Iditarod paper from Nome that I won’t let anyone read, and then there are papers from places I have worked at over the years ... Big Spring, Texas; Devils Lake, North Dakota; Russell, Kansas ...

Now, as you might know, SWMNBMM grew up in the middle of a cotton field in West Texas. For those of you who have never visited a cotton field, the only thing that really grows there is sand. An acre of a cotton field can produce a billion acres of sand in just one wind storm. And that new sand gets into everything ... just like newspapers.

So, with that in mind, you might understand that SWMNBMM grimaced when I ran into the house with a bigger grin that a tornado that had just found a trailer park. Before I even put the box on the table, her eyes rolled back in her like a the spinning wheels on a one-armed bandit in Las Vegas. Just so you know, when she does that, it never comes up Lucky 7s - ever.

“PK (because that is what I call her), you are not going to believe what I was just given! This is so cool!”

“Let me guess ... it is more paper to put in the house? Why can’t you be like a normal husband and collect Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, or old cars ... or even golf clubs? Why do you have to collect newspapers?”

To be fair, I did collect old cars when I was younger. Problem is, when you have four kids, you can’t afford old cars ... or much of anything else.

Deep down - like really, really deep down - I know she was excited as I was so I ignored her thinly-veiled attempts at humor and dug into the box of papers that Wadeen Hepwoth had given me. After I had wrapped my hands around the prize object, I looked up with stars in my eyes.

“You’re gonna love this!” I said. “I’m betting you’re gonna want me to take our wedding certificate out of that big frame and put this in.”

She wasn’t going to be that impressed, I could tell. In fact, just as a note for any younger guys out there, removing a wedding certificate from a frame for any reason is generally a bad idea. I’ve only done it once.

“You ready?” I queried.

“OMG! Just show me already!” she blurted as sweat sprang onto her forehead.

Didn’t I tell you she would be excited? Dude, this is one husband that knows his wife ...

With great care, I pulled out a dusty copy of the Petticoat Gazette. Not just any copy, mind you, it was the Sept. 29, 1964, edition. Be still my heart! Then I took out a 1998 edition of a Homer Tribune paper that talked about our oldest daughter, Whitney, driving a race car on the ice.

“OK?” SWMNBMM asked, her eyebrows shooting up.

“Babe (that’s what I call her when I’m sucking up), this is the final edition of the Petticoat Gazette. If you flip through here, you will see the Seward Business & Professional Women’s Club put this out by hand every week for years. The hand-drawn ads are amazing, and if you look closely enough you see there is an ad in there announcing the start of the Seward Phoenix LOG.”

“And I know you love this one about Whit,” I said, waving the paper in her face.

I should probably warn you that SWMNBMM isn’t a big history aficionada. In fact, she doesn’t really care who is buried in Grant’s tomb ... unless she can put me in there.

“Tommy, I appreciate the fact that you love history and anything to do with newspapers,” she sighed. “I love the name of the old Seward paper and the fact that it was the precursor to ours. I even like the Homer paper ... but let me assure you of one thing ... it better not end up in the frame with my marriage certificate.”

“If you love them so much, put them in your framed photos of Earl Campbell and Bum Phillips,” she said.

(Excuse me for a moment, please. I need to bow my head and pray for SWMNBMM’s soul. “Dear Lord, please forgive her for what she said. She doesn’t understand the blasphemy that she uttered. I will harder to train her better. Amen!”) Sorry … now where was I … Oh!

“But … Babe ...” I said plaintively.

I could tell from the look on her face I needed to try a different tactic.

“Babe (see, I’m trying to make sure I don’t end up in Grant’s tomb), these are like a Mona Lisa or a Picasso. It’s Alaska history,” I pleaded. “Besides, theses are wonderful old things just like you ...”

For future reference, I should have stopped at Picasso. As soon as my nose stops bleeding, I’m going to find a box to put these treasures in.

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or are just plain lies.)


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