We Began on the Dining Room Table

The first few issues of the Milton Times were produced at my dining room table in Milton.

My daughter and my mother worked with me to paste up the copy.

My daughter had lived around newspapers most of her life. When she was four years old, she used to visit the newsroom of the daily where I worked after day care. She would wander around, talk with other reporters, help the janitor sweep the floor, draw on old newsprint. It was a good life.

June had come into my life in 1974 – I was 28, divorced and wanting very much to be a mother. That was the year the state decided single people were suitable as adoptive parents. Not long after she and I became a family, my co-workers took over the newsroom to give us a toy shower.

That was one of the best days of my life. My co-workers were truly all the family I needed back then. I was incredibly grateful for the friendships.

Time passed and somehow the corporations that were gobbling up newspapers had pushed me out of the world of reporting. By then I had two children and no other source of financial suppport.

I had learned much about newspapers over the years. I had learned that you needed to know who you were writing for. You needed to know how to get the paper to your market. And you needed to know who would pay to be included in that news vehicle. The bottom line needed to fill a need for the advertisers.

Knowing all that, I also knew that I probably had to own a newspaper if I wanted to avoid another layoff.

I expected my two children would help me if I started a newspaper. I was surprised that my mother was willing to take a role.

But in 1995, I sat at the dining room table late into the night with my daughter and my mother using rubber cement to glue the first issues. Desktop publishing created the ability to print crisp fonts with a regular laser printer. My mother was the one who understood what Milton was really about. I understood news and technology. My daughter’s strong suit was graphic design and computer savvy.

I’m not sure whether either of them were having fun.

I know I was sure we could do this but I also realized it would take at least a year of crazy long hours with no guarantee of a return. But I also realized I had to make it work – or find another way to pay the household bills.

My son, who was still in high school, was willing to handle the newspaper deliveries for the price of a used car. That was probably one of the best deals I ever made.

There were so many people who helped me without asking for anything in return. Writers donated their work. Photographers took pictures. A woman who had once worked for the other paper in town offered to sell advertising space.

The number of gifts continues to overwhelm me. I need to spend a long time creating a list of the generous people who encouraged me. So many wonderful people.