It has been quite a journey

by Mary Eslinger

Mary Eslinger
Mary Eslinger

It has been quite a journey. Although I am not a writer, I feel the need to write my one and only column to take a stroll down memory lane.

More than 30 years ago, I started working at the Post Review, owned by Sell Publishing out of Forest Lake. I also sold for the Country Shopper, which had a large rooster on the front. When that shopper died, my friends in production put the rooster in a casket on a sympathy card for me. That gives you a clue what great people I have worked with all these years!

I will not even attempt to start naming them because someone would be forgotten, but these great people include the ones I currently work with and many who have retired or just moved on.

We had no cellphones, no computers, not even a fax machine. The paper was all typed (on typewriters … do they even exist anymore?) and the ads were typed and put together with pictures out of a clip art book. One of my most traumatic moments was not being able to find a picture of a Tootsie Roll for a grocery ad! I even walked across the street to Nelson’s Market to buy a bag to get the picture but there was no picture on the bag.

Everything was run through a hot wax machine, trimmed by hand and rolled onto “flats.” Pictures were developed in our darkroom right at the office, and they were also waxed and bordered by us. One picture almost ran upside down, but we caught it just in time.

In the ’90s, Sell was bought out by ECM Publishers. The office has been in six different locations since I started, and is now located in Cambridge with the Scotsman and Isanti County News. A lot of people, including myself, were not happy about not having an office in North Branch. As with many companies now, cutbacks are inevitable and we just have to go with the flow. There are a great group of employees in this office and they do their best to meet everyone’s needs.

This is my last week here, and I have many mixed emotions. I am definitely going to miss my coworkers and especially all my customers. Every one of you has been a pleasure to work with and made my job interesting and fun. I will still see a lot of you and will be attending chamber lunches in North Branch, since I belong with my Avon business, also.

So, this is goodbye to the newspaper business but hello to a whole new life of retirement where I don’t need to wake up early every morning. It has been quite a journey!

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