Corinth is a little retired International Paper Company town considered to be The Foothills of the Adirondacks. In addition to working at the paper mill for almost 40 years and doing construction jobs on the side my father was a journalist at The Saratogian reporting weekly on all the local news.
When he had to work 7–3 at the mill he would get up at 3am and drive to The Saratogian to type up his article and meet deadline. Often, I would ask to go with him as a desperate attempt to spend time near him because he was always working and not home much.
The newsroom was a fascinating place. It was still dark out when we walked up the half-moon shaped steps into the newsroom and immediately were greeted by loud old hardwood floors that complained and moaned like a grumpy old man with every single step. The room was heavy laden with cigarette smoke and men hunched over typewriters with cigarettes hanging precariously from their lips and glasses balancing delicately from the tips of their noses. Their fingers plunged down each key with a love hate vengeance saturating the room with an unscripted endless metal chorus. On every wood desk next to each typewriter sat a half drank cup of very strong black coffee. The newsroom song was punctuated every few minutes with the ripping out of misbehaved paper from the typewriter roller and swear word growl from the reporter.
The massive papers machines, already up and running, filled the entire downstairs directly under the newsroom and sounded like an angry freight train on a reckless journey to nowhere. Near the back of the newsroom was the Holy Grail, the coffee and cigarette machine. There were glass windows there where you could look down into the cellar and see the huge paper machines and tiny little men.
I kept my mouth shut, stayed off radar and soaked it all in. This, to me, was “quality time” with my father. I don’t think in all the years I tagged along that we ever had a conversation of more than ten words but the fact that he let me come with him when I asked was proof enough of his love for me.
Written by Margaret Von Seggern, 2021