There I go, turn the page
I just can’t work in a county without Frank Stovall or Greg Alexander.
In the March 8 issue of Clinton’s award-winning hometown newspaper, we reported on Page 1A that Clinton City Manager Stovall and Chamber of Commerce CEO Alexander are high-tailing it.
Stovall is going back home to Virginia and Alexander is going to Hilton Head. They’ve both done a great job and will be missed, blah, blah, blah.
Hopefully, as you’ve worked your way back to this page today, you noticed on Page 1A that your humble scribe and publisher is retiring at the end of June.
My Current Wife is retiring as our office manager and bookkeeper extraordinaire June 30. She’s done a great job and will be missed, blah, blah, blah.
Let’s talk about me some more.
The Chronicle, Clinton’s award-winning local newspaper, has been in business for more than 116 years. Unless my brain fails me, we’re the oldest business in Clinton (I don’t count PC or Thornwell as businesses).
Since starting at the beginning of the previous century, we have published somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,045 issues. That doesn’t count several years in the late 1970s or early 1980s when we published on both Mondays and Thursdays.
Of the 6,045 issues, I have been involved with 2,236 of them. That’s 37%.
On June 4, I will have been here 43 years. I came to The Chronicle right out of college.
Faithful readers have read this story before, but bear with me.
As graduation neared, I needed a job. I had long hair and a degree in journalism.
My father-in-law was a supervisor at Clinton Mills. He wanted his daughter back in Laurens County (I had taken her away to Columbia). He suggested I send my resume to Clinton Mills exec Claude Crocker. I did.
Mr. Crocker interviewed me in his office on a Saturday morning. If my memory is right, my father-in-law went, too. He was kind of pushy that way.
Anyway, Mr. Crocker said the mill wasn’t hiring for its management trainee program. He asked if I had sent my resume to Donny Wilder at The Chronicle.
My verbal response was no. My mental response was: Donny Who at The What?
Mr. Crocker passed on my resume to Mr. Wilder and the rest, as someone will want to say, is history.
Mr. Wilder interviewed me on a Thursday afternoon. He asked me what I saw myself doing in five years. I guess I should have said sitting in your chair or learning the community newspaper business or serving the good people of Clinton for very little pay.
My answer was I expected to be working for an advertising agency in five years and making lots and lots of money. I didn’t do either of those things.
After my interview was done, My First Wife and I rode around Clinton. I didn’t immediately fall in love with it as so many people claim to do. I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other.
MFW and I found out where the Wilders lived and rode by their house to get an idea of how the newspaper business pays. Their house was (and is) a very nice house. The newspaper business was looking better.
Several days later, Mr. Wilder called me and offered me a job. I accepted on the spot and started to work several weeks later. That was 1974. I’m still here – for 14 more weeks.
There’s a lot I want to talk with you about in my remaining time here. But we’ve got so many guest columnists scheduled each week, I’m not sure I’ll have the chance.
If I don’t, just know this. It’s been a great honor to work at your local newspaper.
(Larry Franklin is soon to be the former publisher of The Chronicle. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)