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Just what does -30- mean to a writer?

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Column by Jim Clark

Back in the dark ages, as the younger members of my family call it, we used to type stories on manual typewriters.
We typed on 8 1/2- inch paper, usually with carbon paper in between, so you would have a copy of what you wrote when you handed it in.
At the bottom of each page you typed -more- so the typesetter on the Linotype machine knew there was another page.
At the end of the story, you typed -30- to indicate there was no more. Looking that up, I discovered no one knows where it came from, but that in civil war years it was used to indicate the end of a telegraph message.
It was about 60 years ago, in my sophomore year at Bergen Catholic High School, that I wrote my first story. I can’t remember how it started, but I was providing Little League results to our weekly newspaper, the Times-Review of Bergenfield, New Jersey, under the guidance of a kindly editor named Russell Stewart.
Ten years later, I was married and moving to Florida. Except for a few cold years in Ohio and a few quick months in Alabama, I’ve been here ever since.
Now it’s time to write my final -30- on a regular column or story as I head into the world of retirement.
I bounced around the state, at one point spending 15 years in The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group in Lakeland, Palatka and Ocala. Those moves convinced me that I liked the smaller newspapers better, and thus I found my current employer, Citrus Publishing of Crystal River’s weekly division, under Publisher Gerry Mulligan, who I might add, is a Mets fan like me.
Dale Bowen in Chiefland hired me, then eventually I transferred to Williston, then to Ocala, where, despite some job changes, we had lived since 1997.
One of the joys of working in a smaller newspaper is that you get to interact with the readers much more. You’re more likely to run into a reader on the street or in the grocery store than, say, a reporter for The New York Times runs into his readers.
While in my job, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some famous people, but I’ve also had the honor of speaking in front of local groups and meeting some of our readers. To me, those people are famous in their own way.
Here, I’ve been blessed with correspondents, photographers, columnists and letter-writers, all volunteers, who have contributed in a big way to making my job easier. If you don’t personally know these people, you should take the time to get acquainted. They’re very good at what they do.
Friday is my last day … after that, the computer goes to the new editor. I’ll still be online on Facebook, Twitter (very little) and e-mail (semaj34470@gmail.com). My calendar will no longer be built around deadlines, but the Mets schedule.
Thank you to everyone who has helped, especially to my wife, with whom I celebrated 53 years together last week. May God bless all of you in your future endeavours.

Jim Clark is the editor of the West Marion Messenger and South Marion Citizen.
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