Archived Running Boards See New Light
At our regular September 2019 meeting Bill Maurer brought a box of MVR newsletters from the 1990s. He asked if anyone wanted any or all the issues. I suggested that I scan the newsletters to archive them for posterity for whatever that would be worth. There was no objection, at the end of the Meeting Jim McCune carted the heavy box out to my ’63 Avanti and we stowed them in the trunk.
At home they sat for a few days – maybe two weeks before there was a rainy day just suited for sifting through club memorabilia. My office is cluttered with all sorts of ongoing projects, but this one was particularly worthy of jumping to the head of the queue. I sorted the pile of newsletter that was well over a foot high. Thinking, wow! there could be decades of documents here – if they were all unique issues. It turns out that this box likely belonged to their editor. Many of the documents were copies; either extra or undelivered issues. So, I sat on the floor and sorted by year, then by issue and came up with piles that represent, 1988-9, 1992-7. In all, there were 72 unique issues. 12 issues for each of the years ‘95-’97, 11 issues for each of the years ‘94 and ’95, 10 issues from ’92 and the remaining 4 issues from ‘88 and ‘89. In contrast to today’s MVR membership, these monthly newsletters of 8-16 8.5 x 11 pages were mailed to a hundred members. Mailings were from 29¢ to 52¢ per mailing. Our current membership is a third of what it was in the 90’s – containing many of the same names as back then.
To scan the newsletters, I cut the original 8-page signatures in half to fit them into my scanner. The auto-feed feature makes the copy process a matter of an assembly line of filling the feeder, unloading the catch hopper, stapling the pages together, naming the file and loading the next issue. Only one issue at a time could be handled since the paper types were irregular and there were occasional wrinkles and tears that could jamb the machine and leave the copy sequence a mess. This all made for a tedious 8 hour job but offered minimal if any strain on my abilities to be patient. During the scanning process each page would appear on my monitor for a few seconds; allowing me to review what our predecessors were involved with.
Pages were hand typed, printed on dot matrix printers, or from a simple word processor. Yet, the articles were always cut and pasted together with graphics cut form magazines, newspapers and the such. Cutting and pasting by hand and collecting articles by mail or in person made assembling the Region’s newsletter a true labor of love. The content is much as you would think, typical articles on new and older cars, pieces from the AACA Scrapbook for editors, tour notices and reviews, meeting notices and official minutes of meetings. The President always had a few paragraphs of news, remarks, or concerns for the state of the membership from dues to following up on physical maladies or the passing of loved ones. Parties, social hours, and picnics were high on the list of activities. Some things have not changed.
A non-newsletter document included indicated the inventory of cars of 13 members for 1993. Curiously enough, the Studebaker Avanti I currently own is on that list. If you want to know more about that car, please ask me for my book about the almost 5 years it took to make that mess back it into a car.
So it is now safe to say that these documents no longer have to be sought out in paper form – if you could find them at all. Now cataloged and ordered, I will bestow the physical newsletters to the Historian of the Club – They go back to Bill Maurer. But they will not be isolated to Bill’s convenience. They are now on the storage drive of the Regions’s g-mail account. They are in a folder labeled Running Board Issues and accessible to any who wants to flip through the pages of a by-gone era.
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