Everyone’s got a story to tell

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Here at the News-Herald, the publisher is always proposing new ideas to make our paper more interesting. That is how our latest project – &uot;At random&uot; – came to be.

There’s an old saying that goes: &uot;If you can talk, you can sing.&uot;

News people have their own version of that adage: &uot;No matter who you are, you have a story to tell.&uot;

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With this thought in mind, we were told to open our telephone books to a page and, without looking, to place our pens on a name. This is why we are calling the stories, which publish each Saturday, ‘At random.&uot;

Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing an East End Baptist Church member and Mike Duman Auto Sales employee – George Crocker. Like so many people, Crocker didn’t think that he had a story to tell.

Sometimes, when we would run into each other after church, we’d stop to chat at my car before going our separate ways.

Crocker would always tell me how growing up, he admired the students who were in the Booker T. Washington choir when they sang holiday songs at the annual Miss Christmas Seal concerts. Mrs. Lenora Jones always led the performance.

At that time, I think, those concerts were done to raise money to fight tuberculosis. During the performance, the choir, each member holding real candles, walked down the aisles singing Christmas carols. Miss Christmas Seal was chosen from a number of students who sold Christmas Seals, with the young lady who raised the most money being named winner.

To make a long story short, Crocker was just a small child while the choir members – in their middle and upper teens – were performing.

&uot;I have always wanted to sing in that choir and be up there with you all but when I got old enough to do it, I think the programs were discontinued,&uot; he said. &uot;If you ever write anything on me, I want Mrs. Jones to know how much I admired her for those times that she conducted that choir and how much I wish I could have been a part of it.&uot;

When I picked him to interview and told him about my plan, he assured me that there was nothing about him interesting enough to write on.

&uot;Can we talk about how I wanted to sing in that Christmas choir because the only other thing I have to talk about is selling cars,&uot; he said.

Crocker and I talked a couple of times before his interview but by Friday, I was beginning to feel a little anxiety because I knew that story had to run the next day. When I talked to him last Wednesday, I had no idea what I was going to write about him.

Then I asked about his hobbies.

&uot;Yes, I collect articles on John F. Kennedy and his assassination but that probably isn’t anything to write an article on,&uot; he said.

Crocker is proof that even if you think something is not newsworthy, other will find it more interesting than you think.

Since his article ran on Saturday, Crocker said he has received several compliments about the article. He had even heard from a fellow collector of Kennedy materials.

Now Crocker’s two stories are out. We know he has a hobby he loves and a retired teacher he says he will always cherish because she made a remarkable impact his life.

So if you get a call from a News-Herald reporter whose pencil has landed on your name, please let us share your story!

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As you know, last week I named employees and gave telephone numbers on how we can be reached for input and material on the upcoming Sketchbook edition. However, one name was left out. You may also reach Luefras Robinson in Classified Ad Sales at 539-3437, ext. 651.

We are still waiting to hear from you! Don’t let this keepsake edition be published without your business’ information being included.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and a regular News-Herald columnist. She can be contacted at 934-9615 or via e-mail: evelyn.wall@suffolknewsherald.com