A cool bit of The Evening Sun’s past turned up here this morning, sandwiched between the closet wall and the shelf on which it once rested. Community Sun Editor Kim Sterner found it as she was digging for Christmas decorations.
This is not a printed page, but an embossed page. Some of the larger type looks dark only because of the years of dust and grime that have collected in the crevices of the letters.
Dating from 1965, it marks The Evening Sun’s 50th anniversary. Side by side, two historic front pages are reproduced on the page. One of them includes a major local story at the top, but only the headline can be read. It says “School board proceeds with Bixler deal.” Actually, it says “SCHOOL BOARD PROCEEDS WITH BIXLER DEAL. Back then, apparently, headlines were allowed to scream. The other historic front page features the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, just a week and a day after The Evening Sun was launched.
This embossed page also includes various stories about how the newspaper works, about its people and about its beginnings. That last one is topped by what might have been the most awkward headline of 1965: “Evening Sun Born With Unexpectedness.”
Or maybe “unexpectedness” was more widely used back then. Maybe.
Interesting bits of this newspaper’s past do surface around here once in a while. But this one is a mystery to those of us here today. We’re guessing it could be a press plate from before our time — and some of us have been here many winters.
The plate — if that’s what it is — is not metal like the ones used when we first started in the business. It’s heavy paper. Very heavy, sort of like posterboard. Definitely heavier paper stock than, say, a cereal box.
Maybe it isn’t a press plate at all. Maybe it was issued as some sort of commemorative item for the 50th anniversary. It would have been pretty tough to read, though — but not impossible, as we’re learning right now.
As I write, Editor Marc Charisse is reading bits of the page aloud in the newsroom. He’s particularly impressed by the fact that the paper was begun by a group of “poultry fanciers.”
“I always said I didn’t want to be some chickenshit editor,” he says. I apologize to the others for having handed him the artifact.
But we’re mystified. Can anybody tell us what this page is? And what was the “BIXLER DEAL”?