Volume VIII, No. 4, Summer 1981
In the past few months, I've had a lot on my mind. I'm finally realizing that not only is this my last year of being a Bittersweet staff member, but this is also the last issue in which I get to chat with our readers about the latest happenings among the staff. Soon, I will be leaving my editorial responsibilities to next year's story editor, Jill Splan, and in the fall, I will attend the University of Missouri at Columbia, where I plan to continue studying journalism. I am reluctant to lose those responsibilities, but I know that Jill will do a very fine job. Although I am anxious to take advantage of what the University has to offer, I can look back on the past three years, and know that I have already taken advantage of the best that Lebanon High School has to offer--Bittersweet!
Bittersweet has greatly influenced me in a very positive way since I was first accepted on the staff three years ago. I've improved my communication skills by talking to lots of older people in the community, and recording radio and television public service announcements. I've also improved my creative skills in photography, designing camera-ready layouts, and writing publicity articles and many stories. In no other way could I have accomplished as much as I have from being a Bittersweet staff member. I love working in a staff situation, and I'm going to miss very much working closely with everyone on the staff.
I'm also going to miss all of the opportunities to give Bittersweet talks to organizations, like those who invited us to come to their meetings in the past three months. We have presented talks to several educational organizations, including the Northeast Missouri State Teachers Spring Meeting at Kirksville and the Missouri Association of Teachers of English Spring Meeting at Columbia, a local group of retired teachers, and Epsilon Beta, a state organization of volunteer student librarians at Bolivar. We also talked to the Sun Bonnet Garden Club in Lebanon, visited the Sedalia DAR Chapter, participated in the Missouri Historical Society's Oral History Seminar in St. Louis, and operated a booth at the annual Folk Life Fair, sponsored by the Ozarks Arts and Crafts Fair Association, in War Eagle, Arkansas.
Beth Nelms, the wife of Bittersweet Advisory Board member Ben Nelms, teaches at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, where we spoke to the Missouri Association of Teachers of English. She attended our talk and expressed great interest. She used Bittersweet in teaching her students, while they were working on a unit of folk-life, and she was eager to tell us about the success she had in capturing the interest of her students. The idea of other classes using our magazine in this way was not new to us, however her next words were. She said, "I took the Christmas card you sent to Ben, with all the staff members' names inside, to show my students, and they were so thrilled to know that you were 'real' people. They just didn't realize that high school students could publish a magazine like Bittersweet." Comments like this always boost our enthusiasm, and we're always glad to hear that others are just as excited and interested as we are in what we're trying to do.
Even a couple of individuals have expressed enough interest in Bittersweet to visit our classroom and talk with some of us about the various aspects of publishing the magazine. Betty Nichols, a folklore teacher at Glendale High School in Springfield, Missouri visited us in late April, inquisitive and enthusiastic about everything we are doing. She, too, uses Bittersweet as a reference for teaching her students about Ozark folklore and was curious to see for herself just how Bittersweet was put together. Of course, each of us was happy to answer her questions and discuss with her, his particular responsibilities as a staff member, editor or committee chairman.
Mr. Stauter, the Associate Director of the Rolla Division of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, from the University of Missouri at Rolla also visited us. He works at locating people in southern Missouri with information in the form of letters, diaries, receipts, or other memorabilia that they want preserved for the benefit of future generations, but have no way of doing it on their own. Therefore, he was especially interested in our sources of information and any referrals we might give him. If any of our readers have any such material, please feel free to write Mark Stauter, Associate Director, Western Historical Manuscript Collection--Rolla, Room G-3 Library, University of Missouri--Rolla, Rolla, Missouri 65401.
It seems that more and more people are becoming acquainted with Bittersweet, and we like to think that much of the credit is due to the work of our publicity committee. The publicity committee has accomplished a great deal again this year. This spring, committee members wrote two public service announcements, and Gerry Darnell and Gail Hodges recorded them at KY-3 television station in Springfield, Missouri. Hopefully, they will help to boost book and magazine sales.
Another job of publicity committee is to design brochures and advertising flyers. If you are a subscriber, or purchased the spring issue of Bittersweet, you may have noticed a sale coupon offering all of the available back issues at half price. I'd like to extend a thanks to all of our readers who took advantage of this sale, and remind others that even though the sale is over, we still have small quantities of most back issues to add to your collection. To insure getting the back issues of your choice, order soon, and please include correct postage to insure quick delivery.
Even though we sell many single issues, Bittersweet is primarily funded by our income from subscriptions and, of course, our subscription rate is maintained only by our subscribers who renew their subscriptions soon after they receive their first renewal notice, enclosed inside the cover of the magazine with which their subscription expires. Otherwise, we are burdened with additional postage costs for mailing subsequent notices. However, if you fail to renew and have missed an issue, when you do renew, we can no longer afford to send the current issue to you immediately, since the cost of mailing individual magazines has more than doubled with the recent increase. Instead, we will mail the current issue (the one you missed) with the bulk mailing of the next issue. We are also now forced to begin all new subscriptions with the next issue for the same reason. We regret having to reduce our customer services, but please understand that this is simply another inflationary measure that we cannot control.
Several staff members, Mrs. Massey, and as her assistant, Melinda Stewart, a former staffer, will make up this year's summer staff, scheduled to begin work the second week of June. They will be working steadily, four hours a day for six weeks to complete stories and layouts for the fall and winter issues of Bittersweet. In these upcoming issues, we'll study the history of Ozark prairies, go fox hunting, visit with three different Ozarkians--Stella Muench, Jim Chastain, and Wilford Haymes, enjoy winter entertainment, make shingles, do some huck weaving, make chairs from corn shucks, talk with some fiddlers, and listen to their old-time fiddle music.
Even though I will no longer help produce each new issue, I will continue to enjoy the stories and illustrations, and I will still be able to take pride in telling others about Bittersweet and sharing with them many of the things that I've learned to appreciate by working with the staff of Bittersweet.
We thank the following for their donations to Bittersweet.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Crocker, Storm Lake, Iowa
Inge Foster, Urbana, Missouri
Zona B. Smith, Lawrence, Kansas
Jane Jones, Kansas City, Missouri
Mack Pamplin, Springfield, Missouri
Opal Lewis, Greenfield, Missouri
Ben Nelms, Columbia, Missouri
John Eime, St. Louis, Missouri
Keith D. Shaw, St. Louis, Missouri
Mrs. Morris Williams, Bismarck, Missouri
Norvel M. Phelps, Collinsville, Illinois
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.