It’s David this week, filling in for Ms. Betty. I know, after an unprecedented year with old normals fading and new normals still materializing, it’s not a normal edition without Betty’s Week.
First things first, Ms. Betty is ailing this week, which surely isn’t normal. She has only missed a few days of work in her 60-plus years at the Herald and that is counting the days she was out when she had Jim.
Her column has appeared on the front page of the Herald since January 5, 1989. I don’t think that we had ever stopped to check the exact date before, she just explained she wrote that first column after a grievous error needed to be corrected. Certainly sounded plausible because in the paper business these errors are normal – we deal with a lot of dates and names and it is easy to get them crossed up, or fouled up as Ms. Betty would say.
I decided was to do a little research on that first column and found it after digging in the archives.
“Last week was a comedy of errors,” she wrote, which substantiated her simple explanation about the origin of the column. Turns out the date for a retirement party was wrong. Jack Craven was retiring after working for the postal service for 41 years and the date for the party announced in the paper was a day early.
Prior to Betty’s Week, Ed had written a weekly column, Brainstorms, and Betty also reported in her first column that people were also asking about progress on their house renovation.
“We haven’t made any progress, Jim went to school and there isn’t money for both. The house can wait,” she shared as another tradition was born with the weekly update about her family and their happenings.
The column ended with another correction, a banner across the front page in the prior edition wished everyone a Happy New Year in 1988.
The only problem was that the approaching new year was 1989, but she noted only one person called their attention to it. Her column ended, appropriately for both that edition and this one with a simple prediction, “things will surely get better.”