In this business, nothing is ever cut and dried and nothing stands still. You can have the saddest story in the world one day and the lunatic actions of local elected officials the next. You report and move on.
But then something shows up that makes you stop and think.
Like this email from Jennifer Wingfield. It was addressed to longtime Coastal Courier employee Lisa Sanchez, who runs our circulation department and has been here more than 20 years.
I’m going to share it, in part because I found it moving, but mostly because it says something about the bond between this newspaper and many of its longtime subscribers.
You know a few weeks ago I received the renewal request of the Coastal Courier for my dear mother Lula Wingfield. Of course, you had no way of knowing of her passing January 10, 2017. As I looked at the form though, it brought back some memories that I didn’t realize I had of the publication.
You see, my mother had been an ardent subscriber of the paper for years, going back to the time when it was called the Liberty County Herald.
I remember her reading it from the cover to the final pages, as that was the way for her to keep up with what was happening in and around Hinesville. We did not have a car and walking was the main mode of transportation for us, though we didn’t live too far from downtown. So knowing about the sales at Saunders Department Store or LeRoy’s Store for Men, or Elsie’s Dress shop, Friendly Grocery or Dykes Supermarket, were ways for her get the updates and knowing when to shop. She would even call her friends in the neighborhood to let them know what was coming or happening, as they were not subscribers.
Then of course, when I enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed at what was then the NATO Air Base in The Netherlands, she subscribed the paper to be delivered to me over there. I looked forward to that touch of home, even though it was about a 2-week delay in the news by the time I received it, but I was still glad to read about hometown news.
When my mother became too ill to remain living her independent lifestyle around the young age of 81, she came to live with me and my family.
And you know what? She expressed to me that she wanted to continue her subscription with the Coastal Courier. Still the avid reader, I would come home from work and find her sitting on the porch or in her favorite chair looking at the most recent editions. It got to point that during the times of her hospitalizations or illnesses, we would hold onto the editions she missed just so that she could catch up on what she may have missed out on.
As it goes with age I guess, she later began to focus more on the obituaries, as many of her dearest friends and family members were departing in rapid numbers.
So at the young age of 89, she too decided to make her way onto the obit page of The Coastal Courier.
Lisa, I know that you were just a tiny star in your parent’s mind when my mother’s subscription began, but thanks to the staff and writers and delivery persons, The Coastal Courier was and has been a sure and definite constant for the Wingfield-Stewart-Scales family.
I even laid a copy on her grave...and it disappeared. Maybe the wind, maybe the angels came down to see the latest in Hinesville, I don’t know.
My heart and family still grieves for her as we come about having the first holidays without her. With heaviness, I cannot continue the subscription...still too many memories.
Jennifer Wingfield (Scales)
Jennifer, thank you. And thank you, Mrs. Wingfield.
Whitten is managing editor of the Courier and Bryan County News.