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Recording events in a family's own newspaper

Few things bring the family together more than putting out a weekly newspaper. At least, so it proved in the case of our family. Our newspaper was unique. It wasn't published or circulated outside the family, and it concerned itself mostly with family news. There was only one copy, which was assembled in an expandable scrapbook. We chose a scrapbook, rather than something more ephemeral, because we felt we were recording family history. Our newspaper had an obvious name - The Wiley Weekly.

A different family member was editor each week. This was a highly responsible position with four important duties: designing the cover page, placing family submissions into the book, decorating each page in a manner appropriate to the material submitted, getting family members to submit their material before the deadline (the toughest job of all).

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In looking over our family weeklies of the '60s, I noted a few things about the materials used. The cellophane tape used to affix some of the articles and pictures had dried up and was coming loose. It also left dark-yellow marks. The glued material was fine. Rubber cement did the smoothest job. Designs and drawings made with marking pens had ''soaked'' through the pages. Colored pencils and watercolors stood the time test best. Crayon drawings showed slight signs of rubbing off on the opposite pages. To make certain no rub-off spoils another work of art or literary masterpiece, it would be good to leave a blank page opposite the drawing, or insert a plain sheet to cover it.

Contributions to the weekly were kept in strictest confidence by our family editor. This was to insure an element of surprise and delight at the end of the week, when we reviewed our weekly together. Sometimes this was the only time all week when we assembled ourselves as a family.

The editor would begin the proceedings by displaying the cover page, with the name of the paper and the date artistically lettered. The editor's name was included, of course. The book was then passed to each family member, who in turn would read or explain his or her own submission. These submissions included coverage of our kindergartener's end-of-school program as viewed by his seven-year-old brother. Poems commemorating humorous or moving experiences proliferated in our paper - as did snapshots, birthday cards, and riddles. Original drawings were often used to illustrate an article or poem about our dog , Jet (always a favorite subject), or an annual Fourth of July outing with good friends.

Although our boys are now grown, they still remember the summer fun we had with our family newspaper. And every now and then, we dig out our old weeklies for another look. I'm not sure my family would admit it, but I don't think I'm the only one who feels a nostalgic twinge when rereading items like this one: My Dog The most exciting day of my life, I think, was when I got my dog. He was completely black ex- cept for his two front paws which were white. We called the dog Jet. . . .

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