SOLON & BEYOND: Looking back at my attempt to produce a weekly newspaper

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This week’s column will be taken in part, from an article I wrote when my cat Percy and I started a paper of our own, dated March 25, 2005.

It starts with these words: Good Morning My Friends, Don’t Worry be Happy!

This week I am dedicating this issue to friendship. Would like to start with these words from Thomas Hughes: “Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.”

Would like to say once again how much I appreciated the many, many kind and encouraging words I have received from so many of you in response to this little paper. Tears of joy have formed in my eyes more than once at your appreciation for my efforts to bring you love and laughter via the written word. To a certain extent this is the way I have always written, some editors have let me get away with it, some have not ! (Being the editor of this paper, I got away with it.)

Could write a book about editors, have written under many in the over 40 years that I’ve writing. This is a neat example of some of the support I have received from loyal readers when I was having a problem with an editor. This was many years ago when I was writing for the Somerset Reporter. This lady in her middle 80s, who didn’t have a license to drive, hired someone to take her to the Somerset Reporter office in Skowhegan. She had whoever had taken her to Skowhegan go in the office and bring the editor out so she could give him a piece of her mind. She was a lady who only needed a few words to get her message across. She helped my case immensely! As I said, I could write a book, but only once did I ever quit writing (for a short time) because of an editor! ( Roland is the perfect example of a wonderful editor!)

Now more on this paper I had started: And since this issue is dedicated to friendship, I am going to print a picture of some of the SCCEBDMSS members. For those of you who have never heard what those letters stand for, we are Solon Chapter Chowder Eating Beer Drinking Marching and Singing Society members. And to set the record straight, we are not a boozing bunch! They don’t know I’m putting this picture on the front page, it was taken 16 years ago, (sorry I can’t print it here) but they were Gloria Barnes, Dorothy Brown, Marge Adams and Alice Heald.

There was quite a bit of local news in, as it was back in the time when every thing didn’t get canceled!

And then I wrote, “Some of you who have been picking up these little papers since the first issue on January 15 will know that I couldn’t afford to give them to you forever. This is the seventh and last issue of, probably the smallest and shortest lived newspaper ever. I do believe that the newspaper business is in my blood, and when I couldn’t get the news printed in the paper I was writing for at the time I decided to start my own paper. Knew I couldn’t keep giving them away forever and prayed for a miracle. As stubborn as I am, don’t know how deep a financial hole I would have dug myself into if the miracle hadn’t materialized! Next week you will be seeing Percy and me once again in The Town Line. Those of you who pick up that paper will have started to see how much it has improved since Roland Hallee has taken over as editor.

Just a few facts about this little paper I started, the first week I printed 62 copies with two pages in it on my printer. I distributed them to the three stores here in Solon and to Pinkham’s Elm Street Market, in North Anson. The next three issues I also printed on my protesting old printer, and they were now up to three pages. By that time I had started checking out the cost of having them printed professionally because I was having to buy a print cartridge for each issue.

The fifth issue had a picture of my faithful helper Percy on the front page as well as a couple of ads and was printed by Deck Copy and the distribution is up to 170 papers a week, and again I can’t tell you, my friends how much I have loved your support. Didn’t realize it was going to be a full time job, I had become an editor/publisher, writer, ad salesman, business manager and paper deliverer.

I am going to print my financial statement so that you will understand that it takes money to run a paper and I hope businesses in this area will take out ads in The Town Line to keep it in Somerset County. My printing costs for the seven issues published …$231; received $20 for ads, making a total spent of $211, this doesn’t include money for gas, all the time I spent writing, postage for all the papers I mailed out. I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, just hope you know how much I want a small weekly paper in this area.

I have made many friends through my writing (and a few enemies) but can’t stress enough how much I have loved your appreciation for this little paper.

This week Percy approves highly of these words by William Penn: “A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” (Editors note: Have had more comments on how much you like Percy’s good advice, he is one smart cat, the only problem is he knows it!)

I told Roland I didn’t know as I could go back to being a writer after being an editor, but I’ll do my best. My many thanks and love, Marilyn.

Percy’s memoir is short and to the point: Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life. (words by Carrie Chapman Catt.)


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