On the Road with USGlass

Red, White and New All Over

I still remember my exact location and precisely what I was doing the first time I saw him. He was positioned—propped up really–on a desk halfway across my fourth-grade classroom. I glanced his way and he took my breadth away. He was so big and looked so deep and intelligent that I had to move closer. I quickly found out he was just as smart as I thought and even more colorful and that he had the biggest vocabulary you could imagine. I’d never seen anything like him. It was love at first sight.

The object of my affection was a guest brought to school by my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Kelly. She thought he’d be helpful as our class did its first frog dissections in science class. Mrs. Kelly had prepared us for weeks and we were ready. Except I didn’t really care about cutting the frogs open anymore. I wanted to spend all my time with my hands all over him. I was completely hooked on the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

 My family is originally from Queens, N.Y., and moved to Long Island in the very early 1960s. The tradition of reading the Sunday Daily News and the Sunday Post came with them. Those, and eventually Sunday Newsday once it started, were the newspapers that came into the household every weekend and they were the ones that we read religiously. So, now, at the ripe old age of 10, I was being introduced to this new mysterious stranger who was bigger, deeper, had more sections, and even a full-color magazine. He didn’t even have a comics section and it didn’t even matter. I was hooked.

Mrs. Kelly must have noticed my grand affection for the Sunday Times because she kept bringing in her copies on Monday mornings and passing them to me long after the dissection unit was over. After fourth grade ended, the Times began showing up at my house. Most Sundays my father would buy it and tease me that this was the last time he was going to do so, as it cost a full 75 cents. Once I started seeing him read it too, I knew it would keep coming. And it did.

You now know how important those New York newspapers were to me growing up. They were my best Sunday friends. Nobody could write a crime drama like the Sunday News and nobody could produce a memorable headlines like the New York Post. (In fact, the Post is the recipient of the journalism award for the best headline of all time. The winning entry was “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar.” Sure makes you want to read the story, doesn’t it?)

 When Worlds Collide

 So imagine how excited I was when a few weeks ago USGlass editor Megan Headley stood in my doorway and said, “It’s the New York Post on the phone and they want something from us.”

What, what, I thought, did they want? Some info on the exposes we’ve done on the World Trade Center glass debacle? Maybe NYC balconies are starting to fall out and they want background on the Toronto balcony issue.

“What do they need from us, Megan?” I asked solemnly, mentally gearing up to meet a challenge from a hero of my youth.

”They want a picture,” she said.

“A picture,” I said. “Which picture?”

Now I could tell you whose picture they needed and why they wanted it, but that would make this blog awfully long. Besides, it is a story in itself. So check back next Monday and it will all make sense. I promise.