Little did you know and, also, little did I know. This past weekend I had a chance to visit with the person who founded the most-recent Dover Times. I can’t remember exactly when I met Susana Bewley, but it was sometime in the last thirty years. To be more exact, it was closer to the thirty-year time frame.
For most of that time, I associate Susana with The Dover Times. She is the person who felt the need to revive the then-defunct community newspaper. Now, I have been with the paper for the last twenty-four and a half years and have helped out with almost every job during that time. I definitely feel qualified to say that it is no mean task to operate a newspaper, much less start one up.
I spoke with Susana Saturday morning on the Dover square. We stood beside the “peach-mobile” as we talked. Initially, I thought it would be a great idea to take a photo of her holding a copy of the first week’s newspaper. I do have a copy of this, but am not sure exactly where it is! I did, however, grab a copy of what I thought to be the final issue of the paper. When I got home, I realized that it was the next-to-last paper. How did I know? Look at the upper, right side of the front page. This one says “Issue: 24-51.” That means that it is the 51st issue of the 24th year. Last week’s paper, had there been one, would have read “Issue: 25-1.” Well . . . Susana remembered that somewhere along the line this notation got mixed up and the paper was actually begun earlier than that. Little did I know!
Another thing, though, I knew was that Susana started the paper with only a high school education. She corrected me on this point, saying that she had actually gotten a G.E.D. This, to me, is even more amazing. Without any journalism experience, she managed to spearhead the creation of a weekly newspaper. I asked how she did this and the reply was simple — with “strong desire!”
Oh yes, she did have some experience with a newspaper. Many years earlier she had worked for the newspaper in Russellville. It wasn’t exactly journalism, but she worked at delivering the first issue of the Sunday edition of the then Courier Democrat. She had to walk and push her bicycle, which towed a cart full of the heavy papers. Later on she also sold ads for some of the inserts in the paper. Little did I know!
After Susana sold the newspaper to the Tysons, she went to college, earning a B.A. in History and Political Science,with a minor in creative writing and geography. What a combination! She later went on to take graduate courses and has completed all the coursework for her Master’s degree. All that needs doing is the writing of a dissertation. Once again, I’m amazed! Little did I know!
With the advent of The Chronicle, there have been quite a few disappointing statements regarding everything about it. We are, actually, creatures of habit and we don’t adapt to major changes in our lifestyle. Initially, I felt this way as well. I believe, though, in the long run we will enjoy having an expanded version of the two newspapers. I certainly didn’t feel this way initially, but am beginning to accent the new ideas. Little did I know!
I was down at the Atkins office last Tuesday during the final throes of the birth of the new newspaper. At first it seemed like chaos, then became organized chaos. It was somewhat like the early years of The Dover Times, but different. A little leeway was asked for on the deadline, was accepted and then met. All was finally well. Little did I know!