With all the attention on Smartphones these days, I sometimes wonder if newspapers will make the cut in today's world.

A Smartphone can provide you with the latest news and weather, make bank deposits, make sure your front door is locked, and even find you a mate.

But what can a community newspaper do for you?

The president of my oh, so limited fan club, and my favorite uncle, Dave Gowans, provided the answer to that question on July 4. He had just returned from a sentimental journey to the town of his youth, Hamburg, Pa., where he visited the Hamburg Area Historical Society. There, he copied this poem which appeared in the city's Hamburg Area Items weekly newspaper sometime during World War II. The Hamburg local paper was sent to many hometown soldiers and sailors during the war.

The poem was written by Edgar A. Guest, a prolific English-American poet, author, journalist (he worked for the Detroit Free Press) and radio personality. He died in 1959.

-- The Hometown Paper --

"It's like a smiling, friendly face;

It's like a voice you long have known.

You see it in some distant place

And rush to claim it for your own.

The paper from your old hometown

Has bridged the long and dreary miles,

And with it you can settle down

Among familiar tears and smiles.

It speaks of every friend you know,

It tells of scenes you yearn to see;

It brings back joys of long ago

And tells of joys that are to be.

And as you run its columns o'er,

Your yesterdays come trooping back;

You fancy you're at home once more,

And golden seem the letters black.

Its speech is one you understand,

It tells of grief that you can share;

It brings you, in that distant land,

Glad messages to banish care.

There, among scene and faces strange,

The old home paper seems to be

The faithful friend that doesn't change,

A friend that you are glad to see."

A heartening message for me, a die-hard journalist, celebrating my 40th year with community newspapers.

Email: dmarkulis@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9436