By Kevin Boyle

I just found out writing isn’t like riding a bike.  It’s not as easy as putting one word in front of the other. Damn-de-damn-doo–I think I forgot how to do this shite. Five hundred words from here looks like 500 miles.

So, what am I doing? Well, it’s suddenly 2024 and The Rockaway Times overlords sent out a search party demanding I write something, citing the 10-year anniversary of the paper.  I said yes like a coward and then realized I got nothing. Nothing.

I can’t follow instructions or good advice but I’m pretty good follower of Satchel Paige’s philosophy, don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.

Not that I could see it.

When I look back on Memory Lane, it’s foggy. Events and names are just wrinkles or wisps in the fog. And when I squint and focus, I just see a lot of potholes and flat tires.

Ya know, if I shoot 10-12 on the basketball court, I tend to recall the two I clanged.  I could look back on a High School City Championship game, but I mostly remember showing up to the game and suddenly realizing I had a big stain on my pants.

Yes, my polyester Alexander Department store special was somehow diminished –not by the shiny polyeste­r– but by the stain on the bottom of the pants leg.

Time and again, looking back tends to cause deep cringe. So, I sidestep it when I can. But what the hell, I can try every ten years. So here we are.

The Rockaway Times first edition, June 26, 2014, was, no doubt, a notable achievement. But it was published when it was still a very rough draft. There were not just typos but missing paragraphs and poltergeist lines of text that jumped to places on the page they had no business being. I like the First Edition cover to this day, but the inside is like a high school photo you don’t want anyone else to see.

At the time, all the errors made me wonder if the people who said starting a newspaper was a bad idea were right. I mean, even before the typos went live, there were all sort of concerns. Starting a business is rough, many said, and if you run a newspaper, you’re gonna have to engage all the Rockaway nuts. Hmmm … true … but I finally said, yea, but they’re my nuts. So to speak. And the Rockaway Times was born, potholes and flat tires and all.

Thankfully, the beauty of the newspaper business is there is another paper due out. You can’t dwell on the mistakes, like Satchel said, you gotta look forward. You gotta get ready for next week’s edition.

And that’s the way it’s been for a remarkable 520 weeks in a row. (The new crew in charge makes it seem way easier than I remember!)

So, on my way back to hiding, I have to say that I may be listed as the Founder on Page 4, but the founding was a full team and community effort. Friends took out ads to help the paper get started. A few talented and willing locals wrote engaging columns.  Local businesses took a chance. Readers were generous with praise and encouragement. My wife, Kathy, was a rock when I wavered. My friend, Pat McVeigh, became manager and we developed a work telepathy that made things fun and (sometimes) easier. And now she’s an owner. Fred Marino, 74 at the time, could sell toys to Santa Claus. And now nearing 85, he’s still making the case to advertisers that pages of The Rockaway Times is the most important real estate in town.

I have so many more to mention and thank (I know who you are!) but I’ve run out of room, and I can’t look back.

Thank you. Here’s to the next ten!

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