Monday, September 10th, 2012

Books & Co. Going through some old boxes (yes, I still have some boxes I haven’t unpacked from my last move) I came across some Books & Co. paraphernalia. Books & Co., as those who grew up in Dayton will remember, was an independent bookstore in the Town & Country shopping center in Kettering.
View a PDF, front and back, of some of the Books & Co. bookmarks I have

My old Books & Co charge card
My old Books & Co charge card
I have tons of their bookmarks, including, as you can see, some from the days when Annye Camara still owned the store.

View a Books & Co. newsletter from January 1985 (PDF format)
I also have a copy of an old Books & Co. newsletter from January 1985, interesting, of course, because it shows a bit of Books & Co. history but also because it’s a sample of a pre-desktop publishing newsletter, with its typewritten columns and hand-drawn graphics and headlines. Remember when the titles of books were underlined because typewriters couldn’t do italics? This newsletter touts an appearance by IBID, the Books & Co. Book Frog, who I just do not remember.

I used to go to Books & Co. at least once a month, and I could never go in without buying something. If I was lucky, I went with my uncle Bill, and he’d pay for the books I wanted. Other times I wanted to go on my own because Books & Co. had a well-stocked gay and lesbian section, which before I came out I wanted to browse on my own. They always had copies of the Dayton Lesbian & Gay Center’s newsletter (which, like this Books & Co. newsletter, was typewritten—this was after lesbians decided that “gay” didn’t include them but before bisexuals and transgender people got any representation). I even had a Books & Co. charge card, and I loved their great sales (an excuse to buy even more books than I normally would).

Alas, I never go to Books & Co. any more. I still read a lot, but more often than not I read ebooks on my Kindle Fire or my Kindle DX (or soon on my new Kindle Paperwhite). I do still tend to buy hard copies of gay books, but I don’t buy them at Books & Co.’s big new store at the Greene (really just a Books-A-Million franchise) because they have a “Lifestyles” section, not an LGBT section, and they don’t have much of a selection of gay books. (Earlier this year Erin McCann wrote an article, “Books-A-Million gives the slip to gays, minorities,” voicing similar complaints about another Books-A-Million location.)
Books & Co, now redefined to something not for me
Of course, even traditional bricks-and-mortar gay-specific bookstores have been dying out.

So yeah, it’s sad that the old Books & Co. no longer exists, and it’s sad that there aren’t many gay bookstores left, but it’s good that it’s so easy to get books from Amazon (at least I think so; I know others disagree), and there are still some bookstore gems out there.
Key West Island Books, an independent bookstore that reminds me of what Books & Co. once was.
For example, while I was on vacation earlier this year, I picked up some interesting gay books, not at a gay-only bookstore, but at Key West Island Books. I know what you’re thinking—it’s in Key West, so it must be pretty gay, but Key West isn’t as gay as it once was, although of course it’s still very gay-friendly, as is this bookstore. Books & Co. was never this small (at least as I remember it), but it once was as welcoming.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Fairborn High School Newshawk
View the 9/2/1983 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)
Today’s fun item is a copy of the September 2, 1983 Fairborn High School Newshawk student newspaper (which I found in the same box as yesterday’s Books & Co. newsletter). This was the first edition of my senior year in high school and the second year of the new combined Fairborn High School.

As you can see in the PDF of this issue, the paper’s original name was the Skyhawk, mirroring the new school’s mascot, but the 83–84 staff decided the paper needed a better name. It looks like the new name stuck — there is still a Fairborn High School NewsHawk and it’s now available online, although they’ve taken to capitalizing the “H” in the paper’s name and they 83–84 Newshawk staff:

Clockwise from front:
Jon Hobbs, Bob Dornbusch, Tom Winans, Missy Ross, Jeff Dierker, Holly Gros, Sharon Truex
got rid of the fun original logo, replacing it with something boring. The paper’s current website has archives, but only back to 2006.

As with yesterday’s Books & Co. newsletter, this copy of the Newshawk harkens back to pre-desktop publishing days, with typewritten columns and images and graphics that were literally cut and pasted into place.

My copy of this edition is incomplete, as you’ll notice if you open the PDF. I ripped off a piece from the back page, probably a coupon, but I don’t remember for what. I didn’t use the Godfather’s Pizza coupon (expired 10/1/83) — I was never a fan of Godfather’s pizza, though my sister was, and I didn’t use the Crazy Cat’s Top 40 Video Games coupon (no expiration date) either.

I didn’t remember the article from page 3 of this issue, which likens the paper’s readers to prison inmates — “You are officially an inmate of Fairborn High School.” — but that was certainly an apt metaphor for how I felt back then, even if the article’s author was just trying to be funny. But I did my time and my prison days of high school are long ago!

Update: 9/12/2012

View the 4/13/1984 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)

View the 12/22/1983 edition of the Fairborn High School Newshawk (PDF format)
Okay, I scanned another copy I had of the Newshawk, this time volume 2, issue 8, from April 13, 1984. This issue is much larger than the first one of the year, with 26 pages, and on its front page features an article about a favorite teacher of mine, about whom I’ve previously blogged, Mr. Seewer, who, as reported in this Newshawk, was named “Outstanding Teacher of American History” by the Ohio society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1984 Mr. Seewer, who subsequently would get his doctorate, had already been teaching in Fairborn for 17 years.

This issue also features profiles of some seniors from the Class of ’84, including David Teal, who I haven’t thought of in years. I used to have quite a crush on him. David, if you ever google yourself and see this, sorry, I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable, but you were quite the hottie with your blond hair and blue eyes.

Mr. Seewer

David Teal

Update: 9/13/2012

One last update, another copy of the Newshawk from 83–84, which from sheer laziness I’m appending to this post.

This one is volume 2, issue 5, from December 22, 1983. It really is a look into another world, isn’t it? It’s not just that this newspaper is from the pre-desktop publishing era. One article reports that the Soviets walked out of the Geneva talks — God, kids in high school today were born well after the demise of the Soviet Union! — and another page features comments from students about what they think of the possibility of nuclear war. There’s mention of the smoking problem — yes, children, at one time students were allowed to smoke in certain areas of high schools! And then there’s the lovely photo on the front cover, showing Tom Marcellino working on a TRS-80 (not a state-of-the art machine even in late 1983).

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