I have often bragged that “I never let my schooling interfere with my education,” which is patterned after a comment by the humorist Mark Twain.Mark Twain photo

I was surprised, however, to learn during a recent family gathering that several members of the clan were unacquainted with my undergraduate collegiate history.

I told them about the time a buddy and I started to attend an English literature class, paused outside in the hallway and discussed the consequences of failing to prepare an assigned paper.

“What shall we do?” I asked.

“Let’s go bowling,” my comrade in arms suggested.

We did.

My disinterest in academic achievement may have originated during my freshman year while concentrating on learning the printing trade, an undertaking that began during junior high school. You could earn as much as 25 cents an hour hand-pegging type and running a printing press, which provided more incentive for a 16-year-old than sweating over classroom assignments. Continue reading IF DOCKED IN SAFE HARBOR, CONSIDER TWAIN’S ADVICE


1957 Fall Creek fire

I stepped outdoors on a Sunday night six decades ago and began reporting my first story for The Eugene Register-Guard.

My official start date in the news department wasn’t until 7 the next morning, June 17, 1957.

As I scanned the skyline, I noticed a reddish glow south of Springfield much like those I had chased for a year while editing two weekly newspapers in Missouri and the previous three editing the weekly in Hood River, Oregon.

My first telephone call was to the Springfield Fire Department where a dispatcher said that a Fall Creek mill was on fire.

My second call was to City Editor Dan Sellard, who apparently wasn’t home. The next call was to Managing Editor Herb Baker, who also apparently wasn’t home.

Knowing no one else to call, I climbed in my car and drove 12 miles south until I located the Fall Creek Lumber Co. There I found stacks of lumber ablaze. Continue reading THE CHALLENGE REMAINS WITH PASSING OF THE GUARD