The paper was an accidental happening—I tried to restart the Charles Street Block Association paper started by my neighbor John McAllister perhaps 40 years ago. John was an old time New England newspaperman. I remember him wearing suspenders but he may not have—he just looked like he should. When I knew him he was an editor for Newsweek.
In those days without computers doing a paper was very primitive—John had to paste up the articles on pages and send them to the printer—we still have a few of those archaic reminders in the basement.
When I started the present paper about 15 years ago I was still a consultant to The United States Council for International Business and had no idea of retiring but I got a casual note from my boss that they did not need me anymore (he later sent me a fuller note to say he should have called in person). But anyway, here I was in my seventies with no real job.
The kids were gone and we had income from rentals so there was no need to find another job, and who would hire me at that age?
I wasn’t really absorbed with getting out the new Charles Street Association paper and it was pretty crude. I just went once a month to Your Neighborhood Office and had it photocopied and I can even remember Maggie and I doing some of the door to door distribution and then one day I went to pay the bill for 1,000 copies and I was told it was $1,000. Being a child of the depression this was an unacceptable price, so I called a printer who printed on old fashioned newsprint paper and asked how much 1,000 copies would cost and was told $1,000. Then he said we have a minimum run of 2,000 so you get 2,000 copies for $1,000 and we became a newspaper.
But wait—we only needed 1,000 copies for Charles Street so we had to get rid of the extra papers on West 10th and Perry Streets and then we had by default become a Village newspaper—we called it WestView News to say we were the West Village and by “View” I meant to say we had an “opinion.”
Now if I were a good reporter I would go to the basement and go through years and years of the paper to tell some of the good stories but I am too old and too tired to do that and that is not the purpose of this article.
Years ago as the paper took more and more of my time and attention I would say “it keeps me alive.” That was not quite true then, but now it is.
OK, just think, you have reached an unacceptable age and you have run out of people to talk to and if you should be invited by your son for dinner out on the Island and they have invited some of their age group, what do you say and do they want to hear you?
Now your view of the world, your opinions, come from the New York Times, WNYC and channels 13 and 21. If you are able to remember what you heard and then recite it, well the look you receive from the polite guests is “he is doing pretty good for his age”—and that’s it.
We read that primitive societies valued, respected and even deferred to age. The head of the tribe was often one of the oldest but now, well I don’t have to tell you how young people feel about age.
I am going to introduce and make a case for a very old fashioned word—“wisdom.” Boy, just writing it out it seems so hopelessly old fashioned but I think I have some of that stuff even though I can’t quite define it.
When our local politician says we should make prostitution legal because the women who have to do it are poor and they have no other source of income I know that is wrong and here is the point of this article. I can write my opinion and perhaps 1,000 people will read it—that is power—that is the stuff of life—that is still being young.