On March 7, 2023

From paper to paperless

By Mary Ellen Shaw

The role that paper plays in our lives has changed so much compared to its role “back in the day!”

Several years ago I was researching information about WWII and its effect locally. I visited the Rutland Historical Society and found a letter written during that war. It was correspondence between a local woman and her boyfriend who was away fighting. The ink had faded somewhat but it made the trip back in time seem so real compared to viewing a scanned copy.

It also made me wonder how diligent we will be in modern times about saving digital correspondence that will have historical significance later on. And if we do save it, will it be a technical challenge to access it many years down the road?

I heard a guest on a TV show say that the only time he uses cursive writing is to sign his name. He added that he has to stop and think what he is doing as writing with a pen on paper seems foreign to him.

In my elementary school days we were offered an opportunity to have a pen pal in a foreign country. To keep in touch we wrote letters, put them in a mailbox and waited to get a letter back. No instant communication in those days! But what fun it was to look in the mailbox and see if you had a letter.

We have gotten the Rutland Herald delivered to our house since 1944. That was the year when my parents bought the house that I still live in. I will continue to have it delivered for as long as it’s an option. The Herald subscription offers a free digital edition to subscribers but it’s rare that I choose to view it that way. Sipping a cup of coffee as I hold the paper in my hand is the perfect way to start my day. Old habits are hard to break!

Back in the 50s one of my father’s Sunday pleasures was getting the Boston Globe and reading it from the first page to the last. He would get the paper at Louras’ store after Mass.

I would go in with him to pick out a comic book, which served as my own “Sunday pleasure.” Turning those pages was the best part of my day!

There is nothing like the aroma of a book store and a new book. The Hartford Book Shop on Center Street was my favorite place to go. There was always a cat curled up in the front window on a small circular rug. My mother would browse through the books with me as I made my selection. As soon as I opened the book at home to begin reading a wonderful “new book scent” wafted my way.

The need for paper in the business world was the reason that Moore Business Forms in Rutland existed. My husband, Peter, worked there for almost 30 years. They made many different types of forms. Continuous forms were popular with businesses. I remember using a large printer at City Hall to print quarterly water bills and annual tax bills on continuous forms. Moore’s closed its doors by 2000. Individual printers became popular with businesses and single sheets of paper stacked in a tray replaced many of the continuous forms.

Even banks want to go paperless today. They encourage customers to get their statements online. One of the banks I use requires customers to go to the drive-through, instead of inside, if they are dealing with cash. After all dollar bills are “paper” and their aim is to be paperless. So I sit in my car and get cash handed to me through the window. I realize that most of the world prefers the ease of a driver-through but I liked going inside the bank as a “brick and mortar” customer.

“The times they are a-changing’” and a world that no longer wants to deal with paper is a strange world to me!

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Native cherry trees: spring beauty, ecological gold

May 15, 2024
Each spring, cities from New York to Texas celebrate the spectacular blooming of ornamental cherry trees. In many cultures, the lovely, delicate pink and white cherry blossoms symbolize rebirth and renewal, as well as the fleeting nature of life. Beyond these showy cultivated trees, our region boasts three native cherry species, which are important in…

Remembering downtown pharmacists from yesteryear

May 15, 2024
When I saw the obituary for Lucian Wiskoski back in March I realized that he was the last of Rutland’s downtown pharmacists whom I had the pleasure of knowing from childhood into adulthood. Back in the ‘50s five pharmacies were located in downtown Rutland. They were: Shangraw’s, Carpenter’s, Carroll Cut Rate, McClallen’s, and Beauchamp &…

Absorbed and absorbing the moguls of Superstar

May 15, 2024
I couldn’t find my center of balance for the life of me. A few days off from skiing and I felt like a fish flopping about on dry land. I would get stuck in the rut and get launched upwards and then I could feel my weight slamming into the back of my boots. The…

It was 30 years ago today

May 15, 2024
I never dreamed of being a writer, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was an early morning in 1994, and I was standing in the composition department of the Mountain Times, having been hired the prior year as a part-time graphic artist. Computers were just coming onto…