Today's sad stories produce memories

Sometimes, sad stories will spark good memories.

Many people have great memories of Tim Roberts, who settled in McMinnville to raise an extended family, provide quality dentistry and serve his adopted community. When a rare and rapid medical condition cut short his good life, I remembered meeting Tim as a freshman classmate living across the hall in our Linfield dormitory.

I remembered the camaraderie and the hijinks of that year; I remembered how Tim continuously prepped his roommate for exams to help offset his tendency to freeze on tests. Tim had a higher level of teenage maturity back then, so it was no surprise to see those traits multiply and expand in adult life.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Another story that sent me back in time was the obituary for Bob Kuhn, News-Register sports editor and photographer when I showed up as editor in 1974. It was a simpler time with no computers, no Internet or email, no cell phones, not even a fax machine; but somehow, we put out three newspaper issues a week.

Bob, just a year younger than I, took his talents and positive life outlook to other pursuits, but thinking back, he was an important part of my fledgling community newspapering years.

Recently, in conversation about past travel experiences, I regaled a friend with the story of my 24-hour whirlwind trip to Maui to cover the 1980-ish story of Hawaiian charter flights by Evergreen International Airlines. I checked into the historic Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, but spent the day, night and next morning traveling through as much of Maui as possible in an open-top Jeep.

I said I’d like to repeat that trip for longer than a day. But this week, the 122-year-old Pioneer Inn was obliterated by wildfires, along with damage and destruction to perhaps 270 more buildings and homes along the historic Lahaina waterfront. Sadly, perhaps in a form of mental self-defense, a terrible story gives rise to positive memories.

This week, reading Reporter Scott Unger’s continuing series about homelessness in McMinnville, I remembered a few street characters who were a pastoral part of the 1950s town fabric. That was in stark contrast to the lineup of tents and campers and stacks of junk along Marsh Lane leading to Joe Dancer Park. In many ways, there actually were “good old days” of a small town that today continues its inevitable sprawl.

Or at least, so go the memories.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.


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