The Sunday Paper by
(236 Stories)

Prompted By Newspapers

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Growing up in a suburb of Detroit, we received two papers every day, The Detroit Free Press in the morning and The Detroit News in the afternoon. The day started with the morning paper, which my parents read with their breakfast coffee. I remember my father coming home from work, settling into his favorite chair, and reading his evening paper. We were told not to disturb him as he was unwinding from work. Only dinner could interrupt this ritual.

Still, on a quiet Sunday there is nothing more relaxing than working my way through that pile of newspapers.

Sundays were a real treat, as we had a huge pile of newspapers to go through with comics, Parade magazine, TV guides, and all kinds of tantalizing ads. My brothers and I loved having two sets of comics, some of which were funny and others that were like soap operas. I remember Mandrake the Magician, Blondie, Li’l Abner, Nancy, Dick Tracy, Rex Morgan, M.D., Peanuts, Pogo, and Archie. On Sunday, these were in color and we could use our Silly Putty to pick up and reprint the images.

When I moved to Chicago in 1967, there were three major newspapers, The Daily News, The Sun Times, and The Chicago Tribune. We subscribed to the Daily News, although I did sell (rather unsuccessfully) subscriptions to the Tribune the first summer I lived there. The Daily News, an afternoon paper, was more liberal, The Sun Times was good for commuting (being smaller in size and coming in the morning), but the Tribune’s editorials were a turn off to us. We may have gotten it on Sundays when our kids were little for all of the extras like the comics, ads, and TV magazine. Since nobody recycled newspapers back then, I didn’t care how many of them we received. Most of it went into the trash except for the color comics, which we used for wrapping paper.

Sadly, most of these physical newspapers are gone. Those that have survived are often owned by companies that provide a minimum of local news and the same national news coverage, usually politically biased, regardless of where you live. After our beloved Daily News bit the dust in 1979, we reluctantly switched to the Tribune, mostly for the columnists (think Mike Royko) and sports.

My husband’s must-have daily puzzle

I am part of the generation that prefers to read actual newspapers, although I must confess to being an online subscriber to The Washington Post. Our daily paper is the Sun Times these days. The Chicago Tribune is a shadow of its former self and still editorially unacceptable. The Sun Times is not so much physical paper to manage, as we now recycle using a smallish chute in our condo. It also has a good sports section and New York Times crossword, which my husband loves. But Sundays are a different story. Not only is the Sun Times much bigger, but we also get the Sunday New York Times.

I find this avalanche of news and the physical piles of paper overwhelming. My compulsion to try to read everything, something I do not feel about online news, makes me anxious. For one thing, I should be reading Retrospect stories. And we have a weekly zoom with good friends on Sunday mornings. Plus, I could be reading a good book. Nevertheless, I persist and try to plow through all of these newspapers by Sunday night. I allow myself to save the Times book review and magazine sections for later in the week, but everything else must be recycled as soon as possible. Still, on a quiet Sunday there is nothing more relaxing than working my way through that pile of newspapers.

To savor over the week

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: been there, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    You give us an excellent inventory of the many papers in hometowns and what has become of the news industry in general. We only took The Detroit News, never The Free Press, when I was growing up. In Chicago, I worked on Michigan Avenue, right across from the Tribune building, so it pains me to think what has become of these once glorious institutions, but it has happened to most news organizations across the country. Like you, I get an online subscription to the Washington Post (we also take the NYT online – we never got around to reading the Sunday Times, so dropped it a few years ago). I, too, am a big news consumer, but there just isn’t enough time to take it all in. Yet, I lament the changing winds of time.

    Thanks for the reminder of when we got real news from great papers, Laurie.

  2. Dave Ventre says:

    I remember being oddly pleased when I learned the one of our Sunday papers’ color supplements was called the “Coloroto” section because it was made using the”rotogravure” process, which also linked it to the old song “Easter Parade.”

    After college I had a job in the QC lab of a plant that used gravure rollers. Every time someone mantioned them, I started to think of the Coloroto section.

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Your history of news and newspapers over the years — too much news; too few (physical) newspapers — is certainly a common them among us Retro writers this week, Laurie. And you write about it evocatively.

    And yet, as you note, one can still have a relaxing Sunday ritual of plowing through all those printed newspapers. We, too, do so — and are also mindful of finishing as much as possible on Sundays as our recyclables are picked up Monday morning. (Except two weeks ago, but that’s another story.) It is indeed nice that not everything has changed over these many years,

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    I had forgotten about silly putty trick! We also used comics as wrapping paper. And there were more comics with story lines then, all of which I felt compelled to read, lame as they often were. I can relate to the “too much to read” problem. Finding a paper that is not “infotainment” can be a challenge, and I appreciate your efforts to find a decent one. At least you can put the papers in a stack to read at leisure, while I find the online stuff goes on forever, strains the eyes and gets lost in inboxes.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      If I read more online, I fear I would get a headache. I also tend to go down rabbit holes, following links that suck up too much time. We are OK with where we are now, but I suspect the powers that be will destroy it sooner rather than later.

  5. Marian says:

    As all have said, a terrific review of where you are and where we are as far as newspapers, Laurie. Hard to imagine a time when I could have subscribed to three print newspapers, but even here in the Bay Area, you could have done in 20 years ago.

  6. Your recollections made me feel sorry fo the recent generations of children with their X-boxes and gameboys, etc. They never knew the joy of the Sunday funny papers! And this story will also be good documentation of the Sunday ritual of so many to linger over large sheets of folded newsprint.
    Nice shout-out to Retrospect!

  7. Laurie, it’s wonderful how this prompt has elicited memories of the papers we and our parents read, and of course how times and our reading habits have changed.

    In the weekly NYTimes Book Review I bet, like me, you love the By the Book feature learning what writers and other smart folks read!

  8. Suzy says:

    Thanks for reminding me of Rex Morgan, M.D., that was another comic that I loved reading in the Newark Evening News. And also about using Silly Putty to pick up the images of the color comics – that’s something I haven’t thought of in forever, and it was such a happy memory. Now that we get a digital paper, I do miss all the sections on Sunday, so good for you for holding on to that!

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