Categorized | Local Perspectives

COMMUNITY VOICE: Ask Your Editor Or Journalist For The Answer

I wrote my first article for my school newspaper back in Dec. of 1942. I wrote, “I like going to school in Dec. because each day gets closer to Christmas.” Around this time of the year, I think about journalists that I have known in my lifetime. Their work is writing and some people question the word work. It is work all night but they love what they are doing. Before the Korean War I was fortunate to spend time with the Perth Amboy Evening News and the New Brunswick Daily Home News which is now the Home News Tribune. I did all kind of odd jobs but was mostly in circulation. I was making about $40 to $45 a week and having a ball. What a great feeling to see those papers rolling off the press. Next thing I knew, I was in the U.S. Army and the only writing I did was a quick letter to home.

If you read your daily newspaper every day, you probably have a favorite journalist. My Dad used to buy the N.Y. Sun and Grantland Rice was his favorite. Rice became famous for the many sports stories he wrote. Another Journalist was working for the N.Y. Sun back in 1897. His name was Francis Pharcellus Church. Most readers will say, “Who was he?” I love this newsman because he became famous on one shot. Just like Bobby Thompson did for the gotta believe Mets, Thompson became famous for one Home Run. It was and still is called the shot that was heard around the world.

Back in 1897 eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the Editor of the N.Y. Sun. She wrote, “Dear Editor: I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, if you see it in the Sun it’s so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?” There were many newsmen in the office that day, but Church just happened to be the journalist that picked Virginia’s letter up and answered it. It was printed as an unsigned Editorial. The Punch line of his answer was, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” I think one of the most important things that Church explained was, “Even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.

I was talking to my grandson the other day. He is six years old, “Santa’s coming,” he said and then he gave me details, “Santa’s coming from the North Pole on his sleigh pulled by a bunch of reindeer.” He also told me with his little serious face: “Santa will only need Rudolph if it get’s foggy.” I’ve been fortunate to spend many hours with little kids. Most of them are true believers, but somewhere along the line these little minds can be affected by skeptical older kids or adults. They have to see to believe. If you don’t believe or have faith, you’re in for a bumpy ride my friends.

A pitcher named Tug McGraw coined a phrase while pitching for the N.Y. Mets in 1973. He said, “You gotta believe!” This phrase has carried over into sports ever since I have always said, “If you don’t believe you are closer before you start.

Things could be better in our country in 2011, but at this time of the year there is something different out there. It’s a Happy Feeling and I’ll tell you why: “It’s because Santa Claus is coming to town.”

If you don’t believe me, just ask the Editor of your newspaper. If they say it is so, the answer is yes.

Oh yes my friends, Santa Claus is coming to town and you better believe it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Thomas Francis Clark

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