Volume IX, No. 4, Summer 1982


 As story editor of Bittersweet I get a very special priviledge. I get two whole pages just to chat with you, the reader.

I always find when I sit down to write my editorial all I want to do is tell you about what a wonderful experience being a member of the staff has been for me. This being my last year I realize even more how much I will miss being a part of this unique learning opportunity.

As I was looking through my letters to the editor recently, I came across a letter from Rita Saeger, a student on the first staff of Bittersweet. By reading her letter I realized that even then, Bittersweet was an experience never forgotten. I would like to share some of that letter with you now.


It's been a long time since that summer of 1973 when I was a fledgling on the original staff of Bittersweet. But over the years, I've realized what that one year's experience did for me.

From a journalistic viewpoint, I learned to interview many personalities on a variety of topics, getting sufficient information on a subject to pass it along to Bittersweet readers. After transcribing the tapes of interviews, it was necessary to edit and organize the material. This, perhaps, was the most difficult task of the whole assignment. The writer had to include all necessary details and illustrations for a how-to article, while at the same time, allowing the personality of the subject to show through. After a rough draft and many revisions, there was a completed article to be proud of.

From a business standpoint, I learned to keep records and manage money, something few high school students have the opportunity to do. I also was able to do public relations work, such as meeting with merchants, distributing magazines nationwide, and speaking to organizations. Most important of all, I learned the psychology of selling a product and the advantages of teamwork.

I have been exposed to varied classroom situations and instructors since I left Lebanon High School. I attended Missouri university in Columbia for two years, then transferred to Southwest State University in Springfield where I obtained a B.S. in psychology in 1978. I recently returned to school, and am now pursuing a degree in accounting. But I will have to say, after these years of further education, the Bittersweet class had the greatest influence on me.


Thank you, Mrs. Massey, for having the initiative and determination to make Bittersweet a profound learning experience. I am proud, as I'm sure all your former and current staff members are, to have been part of Bittersweet. I am grateful for the time and energy which you have devoted to the magazine. I wish you continued success in the years to come.

Rita Saeger

I find it very interesting that we are getting feed back from adults who once were where we are now, on the Bittersweet staff.

Another job of the story editor is to be on the budget committee of the magazine. I'm sorry to say though that this was one of the experiences from which I didn't get a lot of enjoyment. The reason, I think, was because we just simply don't have the income to meet the high cost of printing, mailing, labor and all that goes into the production of a magazine. It scares me to think about it, but I know that things will get better or Bittersweet just can't go on in its current financial state.

As spring arrived and summer approached the staff has started going out into the Ozarks in search of new stories and setting up booths and giving talks about our magazine. Going out and directly talking with the people, readers and supporters of Bittersweet has been my favorite activity on the staff by far.

Some of our most recent speaking engagements have been talks at the Kiwanis Club's Ladies Night and the District Garden Clubs' Spring Board Meeting, both in Lebanon. We had a booth at the School of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, at the spring conference of the Missouri Chapter of the International Reading Association. Another special experience for US is the talks we've given for the past two years at Camdenton Junior High School to eighth grade classes. The teacher, Martha Williams, invited us to talk during an Ozark unit the students study.

Another high point recently occurred for me as a staff member when we learned that we were to be included in a book from the National Geographic Society on historic preservation which will be released in the Spring of 1983. Writer Bob Morrison of the Geographic visited us last fall and explained that we would be included is a chapter on rural historical preservation. He interviewed many of the staff members and made us feel like we were important people.

Annie Griffiths, a free lance photographer from Minnesota, came in the middle of April and stayed for three days taking many pictures of various things going on in Bittersweet for use in the Geographic book.

Gordon Grant who has been vice principal and principal of our high school for five years will be leaving our school system and his present office of vice president on the board of directors of Bittersweet, Inc. I would like to thank him for being a fine principal and a fine supporter of Bittersweet.

I asked Mr. Grant some of his feeling on Bittersweet and if he had any regrets of leaving, "In my five years of service in Lebanon I believe that Bittersweet has been the major good accomplishment of the school. You always have regrets of leaving something good. Bittersweet would be hard to ever duplicate. It's a real asset to the school. When I'm asked where I'm from and I say Lebanon, Bittersweet is always the first thing I'm asked about. People identify with success and Bittersweet is very successful."

I'd like to close by paraphrasing, John F. Kennedy' s famous saying. I hope I have given to Bittersweet a fraction as much as I've gotten out of it.



We thank the following for their donations to Bittersweet.

Coleen J. Zetmeir, Kansas City, Missouri
Mrs. R.L. Wymore, Siloam Springs, AR
Ray Cahill, Fowler, Colorado
Mrs. Morris J. Williams, Bismarck, MO
Mrs. Robert W. Staley,St. Louis, Missouri
E.J. Waltenspiel, Moraga, California
Christine Worley, Strafford, Missouri
Lawrence A. Dubose, Lombard, Illinois
Lebanon Publishing Company, Lebanon, MO


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues

Local History Home

 Springfield-Greene County Library