2007.10.31 Has anybody seen Larry around?

By DAVID GREEN

I came home from work Friday and answered a ringing telephone. Someone was asking for Larry See.

That name might not mean anything to you, but I recognized it immediately. Larry was once a kid from the Carleton Airport area of Michigan. He graduated from a smaller college—maybe Saginaw Valley—and was later hired by me to serve as a reporter here.

That might have been in the late 1980s. I’d have to do some research on that.

Larry didn’t stay at the Observer for a long time. I thought he might have been heading back to work at the nuclear facility near Monroe to obtain a good, steady job that paid a decent wage, but then a few months later I saw that he was working for a weekly in northern Michigan.

He obviously hadn’t learned his lesson about working in réportage.

I suspected this might be a prank call. I give out enough of them that I’m bound to receive a few back now and then. I took a chance and said, “I don’t See Larry anywhere.”

So the caller then asked if Wendy Walker was there. To repeat myself, that name might not mean anything to you, but I recognized it immediately.

Wendy is a granddaughter of Roger and Margaret Porter who worked as a reporter for the Observer back, let me guess, 2001? Again, I would have to investigate a little to come up with dates. There have been a few reporters here over the years, as many of you do know.

Now, did Wendy return home to Illinois or was that her twin sister? Maybe Wendy’s still in town and I just haven’t run across her lately. The twins could have fooled me any day of the week. Maybe they did. Maybe half the time it wasn’t Wendy that I sent off to school board meetings.

By now I knew who was on the other end of the line. It was yet another former reporter, Brad Whitehouse. I was impressed that he came up with the name Larry See. That was long before the Brad error, I mean the Brad era.

Brad, another local grandchild, was hired sight unseen when he was finishing up his studies at Wheaton College. He had a minor in geology and I considered that a rock-solid background. We spoke briefly on the phone once before he was hired.

He explored Morenci to its fullest, including spending a night in a vacant drainage pipe section near the sewage lagoons. I don’t recall that any other reporter had that experience, but maybe Jim Stevens or John Whetstone headed out that way.

I expect to receive many more odd calls from Brad because of what I’ve done to him while he worked in the public relations department at Adrian College. There was nothing better than receiving a press release from Brad via e-mail, then sending it back to him after altering the text slightly and asking, for example, “Are you sure you wanted to refer to that man as the Demon of Students?”

That didn’t happen too often. Usually it was sufficient to reply with a curt “Don’t send me any more of this garbage” or “Please remove me from your contact list.”

Brad has recently moved on to the University of Michigan’s alumni magazine and a whole new world of tricks awaits. I’ve already provided him with one lead: A Morenci person who earned a degree at U of M and now works as a “lady of the night.” He hasn’t yet asked for details.

Several former colleagues have moved on to other newspaper jobs. Maybe Larry, but definitely Steve Begnoche, Dan Basso, Eric Baerren and Jeff Johnston.

I was at Jeff’s house just today in honor of his 40th birthday. He started his career at the Observer office, a young whipper-snapper fresh out of college. He chose the Observer because of my job posting message. It included something like, “The successful candidate will be allowed to push the broom around the office every other Saturday morning, if qualified.” I don’t know that he ever did any sweeping, but he was a darn good writer.

He’s been at the Flint Journal for years and he figures he’ll stay a while longer, despite the recent buyout offer. The workforce is being reduced by an amazing 20 percent. Such is the state of newspapers in America.

The state of my newspaper is this: I left town for nine and a half hours and I’m frightfully behind.

I gotta go.

  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.