Yesterday's Magazette

1 – How It All Began

How It All Began …

1973ymAlthough the passage of time has eroded many memories for me, I can still recall publishing that first issue ofYesterday (later Yesterday’s Magazette). It was April 1, 1973 and I was racing to the printer with my flats. Snow still clung to the curbs and the streets were dirty and muddy but, for me, there was only sunshine. That day I felt like Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain.

I couldn’t believe it. I was actually going to give birth to my very own magazine!

Clutching the tabloid-size layout sheets of that first issue tightly to my side, I tried to saunter into the printing plant but found myself half-skipping and stumbling into the pressroom manager’s office. Munching on a cigar, he barely gave my “masterpiece” a second look before handing it off to Hank, a greasy character in an ink-spotted apron.

My God, be careful! 

I prayed silently as Hank began shooting my pages with what I thought to be careless disregard for such a cherished piece of immortality. Then, from a safe distance, I watched as he plucked out each negative and began to burn the plates. Next, after what seemed an eternity, he called to one of his inky friends to help attach the metal plates to the press cylinders. With parental concern, I stared as the huge press came to life, creaked and jerked forward, ever so slowly. Then after a series of shrill ear-shattering rings, the sluggish giant yawned and began to pick up speed.

Come on, baby! Faster! Faster!

Like the characters in the James Stewart movie, The Flight of The Phoenix, where everyone begins to jump up and down with excitement when the propellers of their makeshift plane finally kick into overdrive, I, too, could hardly contain my emotion when that big web press finally awoke and roared along on all sixteen cylinders.

To those who have never been close to a huge daily newspaper press taking flight, I can only compare it with the same sensation one gets with hearing a huge jet taking off or an old steam train leaving the depot. It’s an unforgettable sound.

That day, however, it was not the sound but the sight of my baby being delivered to me by that caring giant that I remember most fondly. Even Hank’s filthy, inky thumb imprint on its face could not mar the beauty of seeing my creation for the very first time. What a beauty!

In retrospect, I must admit my first born was actually one ugly baby.

Not only were its contents bland, but its features were unattractive. It was printed on aged, yellow newsprint because that was the cheapest they had in stock and all that I could afford at the time.

However, that day in 1973, as a proud parent, I looked upon my creation as the most beautiful offspring ever conceived. 

Many so-called experts told me Yesterday’s Magazette would never last. They said a cheap magazine devoted to the preservation of individual memories was a dumb idea. They said nobody would read it. They said nobody would share my dream. They said nobody would support YM. They said nobody would contribute photos or stories. They said I had a loser on my hands.

They said a lot of negative things 40 years ago.

But this “Original Magazine of Memories” endured for four long decades. It pioneered the concept of sharing memories. First as a shabby tabloid newspaper and then as a glossy magazine. Later, it became an online and digital magazine as well. 

Sadly, now the wrecking ball awaits. With this issue, Yesterday’s Magazette will be torn down and become nothing more than a dusty memory.

Ah, but what memories!

For four decades, beginning in a dank basement in Scranton, Pennsylvania and ending now in sunny Sarasota, Florida, Yesterday’s Magazette has published a great multitude of memories.

I always believed preserving the past, especially the lives of everyday people, was a noble quest. 

I’m proud I played a small part in this adventure.

Today, it would take too many pages to thank all those who have supported my dream and helped YM to last this long. All I can say is I sincerely appreciate all your kindness and friendship. It has been an awesome experience.

Take care, be kind to one another … and thanks for the memories.

Ned

E. P. Ned Burke (YM editor/founder)

Vol. 40 – Copyright © Yesterday’s Magazette – 2013

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