Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


The American

A long, long time ago, my mama insisted that I go downtown and apply for a job opening she knew was coming up. I’m not sure why she was so insistent, but being a good, obedient daughter (wink) I went to The Cleveland American.

The people who owned the newspaper were neighbors and went to the same church we did. I’d babysit for them once in a while. Loved the kids. Loved the wife! I was scared to death of the husband/owner of the American. (I don’t know why.)

So Mom dropped me off at the paper, and I went in and sat in the small office, waiting for the owner to get off the phone.

Finally, he looked at me and said, “What’d you need?”

I burst into tears.

No kidding. I didn’t just have tears running from my eyes, I BOO-HOOED. I have to hand it to the guy, he didn’t get worried and upset. He just waited until the storm dissipated a bit and handed me a wad of Kleenexes.

When I could breathe again, he asked, “So . . . what’d you need?”

He hired me, but only for two weeks–until the girl he really wanted to hire came back from vacation. 🙂

I was a filler, doing what I could (washed walls, cleaned bathrooms, answered the phone, stayed away from the back and the huge letter press that shook the entire building) until the girl with talent for the job came back.

I think he forgot to let me go after those two weeks, because I worked there for the next two-and-a-half years–most of the time I was in high school.

I learned a lot working at the paper.

  • How to take personals from the sweet little old ladies of C-Town (Maggie had Sunday dinner with Margie, her sister who lives across town.)
  • Papercuts hurt.
  • I like people.
  • I like selling things to the public.
  • Staples hurt when they go into your fingers.
  • I don’t mind being LMOTP. (Still my job description.)
  • I didn’t like single wraps.

Lots of high school kids worked at the American while I was there. Mostly guys (one asked if I wanted my palm read, and yes, he painted it red.) but also another girl or two.

Since then, I watched the boss’s kids grow up to be beautiful people I’m proud to call friends today.

The editor of the paper now is the couple’s son, and he does a wonderful job. I wish I could share some of his front pages. I love them! (And I’ll bet he doesn’t make little girls cry.)

So yesterday, my little buddy needed to get out of the office. I took him on a little walk and guess what we found.

A truck! (He can say “truck” but it doesn’t sound much like truck.)

My guy loves trucks, so we stopped to watch.

 Doesn’t it look like fun?

We peeked into the truck and I thought, The American is getting a new sign. Yay! (I liked the old one, too.)

Don’t you love the shape?

 Isn’t it great? This sign has it all. History. Website. Who they are and what they do. Makes me wonder who designed it and why they don’t do that for a living.

   Little Bit loved every moment.

Anybody know what goes through a little boy’s mind when he’s watching trucks?

Can you share it?