On Good Friday, I arrived to work at the Point Pleasant Register at 200 Main Street as I often do but when I left that day, I made sure I had anything I wanted to take with me and turned off the lights for the last time, leaving an almost empty building for the new owners.
No, the Register is not closing, as has been rumored throughout the community since our building went up for sale a couple years ago. As Mark Twain might say, and I’m paraphrasing, “rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.” In journalism we’re taught to write only what we know to be true and here’s what I know – the Register is moving and the papers will continue to be printed as this new chapter begins. In fact, the office is moving into the 500-block of Main Street in Point Pleasant beginning this Monday, only doors down from where the newspaper used to “live” on 5th Street where a fire damaged that location many years ago.
Change does come for everything. I have only known the Register at 200 Main Street and this move is bittersweet, though inevitable. The Register no longer needed all that space; a space where the papers were not only written, but once printed with the help of mammoth machines; a space where photos were processed in the dark room – a dark room I can’t stand to walk into even all these years later because the chemical smell still lingers like a pungent cloud! All reminders of how the newspapers were once created and though we have become more efficient at some tasks, the work remains.
My first memory of being at the Register is having my photo taken there in my Brownie uniform for a donation made to my troop. Flash forward to my late teens and early 20’s and I was a carrier for the Register, covering the Twin Towers, a section of Viand, Ohio and Kanawha streets. I had nearly 100 customers total. I remember often calling Phyllis Roach or the late Cleo Lieving in the Register’s front office and asking if the papers had arrived yet in the afternoons so I could get my routes started. Flash even further forward and I remember sitting at a long conference table at the Register being interviewed by The Daily Sentinel’s former General Manager Charlene Hoeflich for a reporter’s position with Ohio Valley Publishing. It was a day that would change my life. Depending on when you ask me, Charlene is either to thank or to blame, as is former OVP Editor Kevin Kelly who suggested me for the job.
My first “printed” work was in the Register – a letter to Santa. But, my first memory of what the Register meant is tied to it arriving on my grandparent’s stoop every day on Third Street in Point Pleasant. Nannie, or Poppy Wayne, would retrieve it and go over every page, sometimes twice. Poppy Wayne hid the good coupons or items of interest under his placemat at the dinner table. A stack of past editions always sat beside the breadbox in the kitchen until it was so high it was nearly tipping over. I don’t know why they saved them or what finally convinced Nannie to thin them out, which she periodically did. Saving them seemed to be a comfortable routine of keeping a record of Mason County close. Long before I became a reporter for the Register, sometimes Nannie would complain that there “wasn’t anything in it” but in the same breath she’d admit she would miss it if it weren’t there. If she were here I would tell her, it takes a lot of effort to get that “nothing” in the paper and we would laugh and both be glad that stack was still piling up by her breadbox.
On Monday, the Point Pleasant Register will open for the first time in its new location, what many remember as the old Rardins Shoe Store at 510 Main Street – where I got a pair of saddle oxfords to start kindergarten at Central Elementary. More proof that change comes for everything. From shoe store to newspaper office, life does go on. On that note, we wish the new owners of the former Register building, Tyler and Lindsey DeWeese, good luck with 200 Main Street’s next chapter. We’re happy the building we all came to know so well, will still have life in it.
Many years ago, one of Nannie’s best friends was Thelma Rogers, wife of the late Jack Rogers who wrote for the Register for years. This was long before my time and one day, long after Jack had passed, Thelma gave me Jack’s last bundle of blank typing paper. Maybe she knew something I didn’t back then about where I would end up years later.
We don’t use typewriters anymore but we still do the work. I for one appreciate those of you who have supported not only the Register but the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Daily Sentinel and the Sunday Times-Sentinel. I want to personally thank you all for sticking with us. I know you’re out there and I think of you often…yes you.
So, it is fitting that on Good Friday, one chapter came to an end for the Register as a new beginning began to percolate over Easter weekend. There are more blank pages to fill.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.