After 41 years at the York Daily Record, Gloria Fogal retires on Friday. You can read about her career in another post, but I’d like to share a glimpse into an important part of this newsroom that she is taking with her.
Gloria started with the YDR in 1970, and it was at work a few years later where she met John, the man who would become her husband. John was an engraver, a guy who prepared photos for use in a newspaper. That was specialized work, requiring the skills of a real craftsman to get it right. Today, most of the prep work is automated, with everything shot on digital cameras and all images processed through computers.
When I started at the Daily Record in 1989 — like Gloria, fresh out of college — I was thrown onto the copy desk with little more than a “hi, howya doin’?” I had studied to be a reporter and knew nothing about designing pages and preparing stories and photos for use in the paper. I was awash in jargon and tasks that confused me.
John was an expert in his craft, and I am sure he couldn’t believe that we had hired someone so lost in the new job. I will always appreciate how patient and kind John was with me as he taught me what I needed to do to help get photos into print.
A few years later, John was gone, starting a new career as his old work had been overtaken by technology. But every day, I was reminded of him as I walked by the room in which he had worked. You see, John developed images in a time when that required a darkroom. When he was at work, a lighted sign above the door warned you not to enter. That sign was in the center of our building, a daily reminder of another time, and of a really nice guy.
And for Gloria, it was a daily reminder of the man she used to have dinner with in the lunch room every night; of the man she’d take a walk with every night before returning to her duties on the copy desk.
In the early 1990s, we moved our newsroom to a new building downtown. We were there for 10 years, but in 2005, we moved back to this location out near the West Manchester Mall. And there was the sign. “Darkroom in use.” A silly thing to be over the door to a conference room, and few people here even knew what it was for. But some of us remembered. Gloria did.
Today, we took that sign down and included it with some other gifts for Gloria. I told her that we struggled a bit in figuring out what to get her. After all these years together, I knew of only two passions in her life. One is reading, the other is John.
We’re happy for Gloria to take a piece of the newsroom with her. For 41 years, she put a lot of herself into it.