So, I kind of live in a town that most of my family on my mom’s side is from ( i KNOW random) and today i went to the local library to find an old newspaper article about the day my grand-grandparents died in a fire. and i flipped through the “best copy available” of the microfilm from the Oshkosh Northwestern circa 1949. (apparently THESE are what they used before computers, or something?) and there it was. on the front page of the Dec. 4, 1949 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern “Oshkosh home destroyed. Burns take lives of three.”

and it was SO weird to read the article. because it was MY family. the people who died in that fire were the people who got together one night (maybe after a few too many drinks?? hm? hm?) and made a baby. and that baby grew up and got together with someone else and had another baby, and after a few more babies — there was me. and they were REAL people. who had REAL lives. and then died. tragically. in a fire. and there’s SO much information in that article that i never would have known if Northwestern Reporter Robert Kirz hadn’t taken the time to write that article.

but because of him, i do know. i know that the fire wasn’t started by my family, it was started by their landlord. I know how old they were when they died. i know what time it all when down. and because reporters used to get more than six inches to tell a story, i also know where my great-grandparents met and worked.   

and it all made me realize that reporters are important, because they are writing our history on a daily basis. and as the media keeps changing, their main goal remains the same — to figure out what happened to who and then tell other people about it so that the next day, the next month and the next century people can know what happened in say, a fire in oshkosh, wis. circa 1949.

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