Monday, June 15, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 20: Elmer as Publisher

Elmer working on a photo essay

"I turned sixty-five in 1974. To me, that birthday did not mean retirement; it meant new opportunities. It was time to pass the leadership of H. B. Fuller Company to our son Tony and to begin something new….When I left Fuller, I thought about the three goals I had set four decades before. I had achieved two of them: we owned and operated a farm, and I had served in the legislature. Perhaps, I thought, there was still time for the third goal, owning a weekly newspaper. It was an idea I had nursed through the years….

I joined the Minnesota Newspaper Association right away and learned about something they called the Skills Course. It is two weeks of intensive education in the basics of journalism. That is just what I need, I thought….My twenty-four fellow students were all bright, energetic, ambitious people—and all younger than I. I felt rather intimidated. To make matters worse, I had to qualify for the course by taking a test with three parts: typing, grammar, and current events. I had always been a two-finger typist, and not a fast one at that. I had not studied grammar for more than fifty years. I thought nervously that, maybe, I could get by on current events. As it turned out, I did well on the test and loved the course."

Image courtesy H. B. Fuller Company

"A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life" is on display through August 15 in the Exhibit Gallery, Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.

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