Remember When: Remembering my 78 years with the Bulletin

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Since I am the last survivor of the crew that got the TDB out during WWII, I thought it would be good to summarize those years for this 90th Anniversary. When I contributed to the 75th anniversary edition, I really did not expect to be around for this one!

My grandfather, T. A. Rippy, took me in to meet Mr. Seth M. Vining Sr. in 1940 when I was 10 years old. Mr. Vining allowed me to come in on Saturdays and set large type for display ads. Monte “Doc” Dedman ran the linotype machine and “made up” (assembled) the forms from which the printing press printed the little Bulletins. It was printed on typewriter size sheets and folded once, to have two columns per page. It was thus the “World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper.”

Mr. Vining gathered the news and ads every day and Mrs. Vining (Gladys) kept the books among other duties. As WWII heated up, I joined Marvin Edwards Jr. and Ben White Jr. in wrapping the “single wraps” to be mailed to the troops overseas as circulation doubled. I soon became a journeyman letterpress printer as we kept Elbert Arledge’s printing business going for him while he served in the Army in Europe.

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After graduation from Tryon High School, I served in the USAF, earning the Korean GI Bill benefits to go to college. Laid off from my engineering job, I started a printing business in San Diego. When Mr. Vining heard of this, he offered me a job with him as “Assistant to the Editor” in 1960. When that really did not work out, I went back into aero engineering work. Got my name on some pretty great airplanes, notably the Boeing 747—still in production some 50 years later!

Years later, Mr. Vining Sr. turned the paper over to Jr. and his wife Bos and busied himself in founding the Polk County Historical Association among other pursuits. When Seth Jr. decided to retire, he sold the paper to Jeff Byrd. Jeff and I were “sidewalk superintending” the removal of the underground fuel tanks from what is now “St. Luke’s Plaza.” I told Jeff about the grand opening of my Grandfather’s Sinclair service station there and the nice things that he brought home to me: Mr. Peanut and Dr. Pepper cardboard “statues,” both as tall as I was at 5 or 6 years old.

Jeff asked me whether I could “write that down” and I followed him up to the Bulletin office and wrote three paragraphs, which Jeff published (Spring of 1995). Enthusiastic reader response prompted Jeff to ask whether I could write “more stuff like that.” I have been writing for the TDB ever since. When I get another hundred columns, I gather them into a book. There are three so far, and I am halfway to a fourth one.

I was happy to continue when invited to do so by the staff of the present owners. This column will publish on my editor’s last day; I am very sorry to bid Claire Sachse farewell. At least we are both alive and well as I do so!