Who's got a secret?: The one with the story about stories

by Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism

It’s my job to tell the story of the Concordia community.

It was her job to tell the story of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

 

What is her story?

She shares her fondness for writing in a not so secretive way.  (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

She shares her fondness for writing in a not so secretive way. (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

For almost 10 years, this woman and her spouse owned PrimeTime, a local paper geared towards the 50-and-over age group. From managing money to developing stories they were the face of a popular local publication.

 

“It made me feel like I was a much more connected person in the community,” she says.

 

And it’s no secret, this former publisher is most definitely a people person. In a sense, you have to genuinely connect with people so they open up to you, she says. From there, a good journalist can get a great story to share with the public.

 

As my subject reflects on her final editorial duties with PrimeTime, she can’t help but think about how the process led her to strike up a friendship that endured the test of time.

Professor Gordon Roper was the teacher of Canadian author Robertson Davies. This connection is part of the story of our subject.  (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

Professor Gordon Roper was the teacher of Canadian author Robertson Davies. This connection is part of the story of our subject. (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

This friend was Professor Gordon Roper, a man who was the one-time teacher and friend of famous Canadian author Robertson Davies. Davies, who spent part of his career in Peterborough, was featured on the last issue of PrimeTime before the publication was turned over to new owners. Roper was more than happy to share his recollections, but little did he or my subject know what kind of meaningful relationship would lay ahead.

 

“And over the course of three years, we read so many poems, but we read many novels together as well,” she said. Our subject had become one of 7 daily “readers” who would come by the retirement residence to read to Professor Roper. Ironically, Professor Roper suffered from degenerated eyesight. Being clinically blind, he depended on his former students to read to him on assigned days of the week. Though she wasn’t a student, my subject took the Saturday shift. “It was a really important relationship in my life that opened up because of this piece that I was writing,” she recalls.

 

As an English teacher, she tries to read as much as she writes.  (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

As an English teacher, she tries to read as much as she writes. (image: Erika B., Concordia Applied Journalism)

It was a stretch to fit in this regular activity as she dealt with clients, business owners, deadlines, and being a mom. Despite the diverse forces pulling on our subject, her commitment to Professor Roper endured through the busy years.

 

“You couldn’t just let off the gas pedal, you know?” she says. “Thank goodness we were young, because wow, that was sleep deprivation.”

 

The sleepless nights paid off. After being a professional publisher for over 10 years, she her spouse sold the company just in time to start her career as an educator – ultimately an international one.

 

Who has the story? Click HERE to find out!

 

Erika B. is a senior student at Concordia International School, Shanghai. This is one in a series of community discovery articles called Who’s Got a Secret?