I want all six of my regular readers and any others that might be out there to welcome Paige Barnes back to the working side of this newspaper. Paige and I go way back to when she was just a youngster who showed up at our auctions with her parents. When the sales were over, I would find a discarded suitcase or backpack and we would load it up with some of the many items that were left unsold. The merchandise was free and Paige was a born scavenger.
I didn’t do this with any other children, but she was just so focused on getting “stuff” that I couldn’t resist. Besides, her mother was a high school friend of the Married Daughter and I remembered that I owed her a thing or two.
So Paige waltzed off home with suitcases full of Melmac dishes, mounds of plastic flowers, scraps of felt and polyester fabric (the smaller the better), things made of shells and feathers, plaster-of-Paris squirrels, and Styrofoam cups made into Christmas decorations, just to name a few. I am sure she thought I was wonderful. I am sure her mother did not.
Much later, while in grade school, Paige informed me that she wanted my job … she had a few things she wanted to say to the Peabody community. I believe we might have been in the produce section of the grocery store when she laid that one on me. I do not remember my response, but I certainly found her style direct and to the point!
As a high school student, she still had an interest in communicating her thoughts and ideas to the hometown readers and Hoch Publishing agreed to allow her the space to express herself. Most of her contributions were to the opinion page. At the same time she worked as a checker at Peabody Market, thus accessible to the readers. Paige learned about feedback and small-town critics. However, she was tough and she stayed with it.
She got a nice scholarship in communications to Butler Community College after she graduated from Peabody-Burns High School and is preparing to finish her associate’s degree. She served as a reporter for the BCC Lantern during her freshman year and then was named managing editor for the 2011-12 school year. And so, here we are.
Paige is back with the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin as an intern and we certainly are glad to have her.
As I said when I introduced her in the newspaper before her junior year in high school, perhaps readers will catch an opinion from the young lady who wants my job. Good for her. Community newspapers need the Paiges of the world. Community newspapers will not survive without them. Be sure to read her columns and stories and respond to her. She will need to hear some feedback. Welcome, Paige.”
— SUSAN MARSHALL