Another Extinct Job

One of my sisters is 9 years older than me. When I was little, I watched her grow up and enter the working world. I think in her first full time job she earned a hundred dollars a week, and I thought she was rich beyond my wildest dreams. That should give you some indication of how old I am.

I always admired her so much. She was beautiful, and cool. I tried to dress like her. And she had a cool job.

The first job I remember her having that I had any understanding of whatsoever was for our local newspaper. She was a Paste-Up Artist. She went on to do that job for a variety of newspapers in three different states.

The job no longer exists. That makes it even more exotic in my memories. It’s so exotic, in fact, that it actually merits its own Wikipedia page.

Basically, she would design the layout of the paper from day to day. Sometimes she just created the ads, choosing the borders, and making the art the proper size to fit the column. Other times she designed the whole page, choosing the font, getting the set type and pasting the type in, breaking the columns in appropriate places.

I got to go see where she worked at the Orlando Sentinel a couple of times. She had her own workspace. She knew her way around. People knew her name. It was exciting. I wanted to be her.

I thought it was cool that she got to earn money from being creative. She would often bring the paper home and show me what she had done. I was very proud of her. I remember that she took pride in making all her borders meet at perfect 90 degree angles. She even let me choose the border once. It made me think of a newspaper as a thing of beauty, and my very own sister was the one to create that beauty. People looked at her work every day. She did that.

Now, of course, all that work is done on a computer, almost as an afterthought. In fact, here I sit, laying out my blog post every day.  Everything is automatically at 90 degree angles. I hope she’s proud.

Most people today probably don’t even realize that once upon a time, someone sat at a drafting table and used an exacto knife, sometimes drawing blood, and glued things together to create what they read. It’s weird to think that the job you do, the job that allows you to live and eat, the job that causes you stress and/or makes you feel glamorous for having a talent that others don’t have, might someday disappear like the dinosaurs.

paste up artist

I wish I had my sister do the layout when I wrote a book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

 

 

2 thoughts on “Another Extinct Job

  1. Carole Lewis

    Oh, I really loved this. Two Thumbs up! to your Sister. My happiest times were spent at a newspaper. I started in the darkroom, developing the pics and ad photos, for the rest of the staff to use. Soon my curiosity was like rash that had to scratch. Luckily for me the paste up artist was proud of her work which was also her passion and she was willing to share her knowledge. Over time I learned to do some of my own paste up work. I was so happy when she was nearby, because she was a artist, and I a three toed sloth. I still did the dark room, some writing and learned as much as I could. I then moved on, but I always admire the paste-up person, whom can take all the print and pictures thrown at them and create just the perfect place on the page for all to enjoy.

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