Yesterday's Technology . . . Today!

Advance Memories

In MARCH, 1973, I started my apprenticeship with The Daily Advance in Dover, New Jersey. My father, 3 uncles and 2 aunts had worked in the trade, so for me, it was a natural.

The Daily Advance was a 5 day-a-week morning paper with a circulation of around 25,000. Four Linotypes, 2 Ludlows, a 3 unit letterpress, the oldest unit dating to 1908.

Most of the Lino operators and compositors working there were older, many having worked at the big New York City newspapers at one time or another.

Many were hard drinking, colourful characters. But one stood out from all the others, Louis Nazarro.

Louis had started working for the Advance as a 21 year old apprentice. He retired from the Advance at age 71, the prototypical dirty old man.

Louis was about 5 feet 2 inches tall. Every day he came to work dressed in an overcoat, hat, jacket and tie. His shoes were always shined.

He would go to his locker, change his clothes, put on his apron and proceed to greet his fellow workers.

Morning, Governor, What's New?

He greeted everyone with a different expression, but always the same one every day. Mine was "Morning Governor, what's new?"

For over 5 years until he retired it was the same. I developed a response. "Not much, and you?"

So on it went, day after day, even when I worked the night shift and would see him in the locker room as he was coming and I was going. "Morning Governor, what's new." "Not much, and you?"

Louis was the prototypical lecher. He thought nothing of dropping his line gauge on the floor if it might afford a look up a girl's skirt.

He was big on cheap thrills.

He loved to tell stories of his days as a youth, when he and his friends would take the train from Dover to Scranton, PA, to spend the weekend running the red light district.

Even into his sixties he would make a monthly trip to New York City to procure a certain service his wife wouldn't provide.

Louis was one of the many colourful people I met working there.

The drunk West Indian editor who loved to spend time in the composing room, spouting philosophy and engaging in sharp political debate.

The divorced, female, senior editor who loved to hire, and seduce, young male reporters.

The deaf typesetter who became my friend and taught me sign language.

Louis is gone, the Daily Advance is gone, typography is gone, my youth is gone.

But I'll always have these wonderful memories.

Copyright © Dave Hughes 2000-2015. All rights reserved.