Long-time Courier-Post editor announces retirement plans


MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

Courier-Post Editor

I received a phone call on Thursday from Paul D. Munger of Rolla, a descendant of Paul R. Munger, who operated a saloon at the corner of Seventh and Broadway in Hannibal a hundred years ago.

Paul’s aunt sent him a copy of the story I wrote in November on the new Palermo Pizza restaurant that has opened at 700 Broadway. In that article I compared the family of Indian/Italian immigrants operating the Palermo restaurant to Paul R. Munger, who was a German immigrant operating his saloon in 1914.

Young Paul Munger, who is 55 year old, told me that the article has left him in a reminiscent state. Busy leading his life, he has devoted little time to finding out where he came from; instead focusing on where he’s going.

Since the death of his father - Dr. Paul R. Munger – earlier this year, the younger Munger has a renewed interest in the past. And seeing his family name mentioned in reference to Hannibal’s history reinvigorated his interest in returning to Hannibal and retracing those roots.

I gave him my cell phone number. Young Paul Munger has caught the same “bug” that has taken a positive hold on me: An appreciation of time and place.

Thursday morning, I announced my retirement plans to Jessica Spurgeon, Courier-Post general manager. I’ve known Jessica since she was born, having taken piano lessons from her mother when Jessica was still in the womb.

I told her what I’m telling you now: I want to devote my days to doing what makes me the happiest – Spending time with my family, and researching and writing about people and personalities of the past.

Jessica has invited me to share these stories with Courier-Post readers, just as Hurley and Roberta Hagood shared their stories during their prime research years. I look forward to that ongoing association, in addition to adding interesting stories and tidbits of historical information to the website I created for this purpose: www.maryloumontgomery.com .

At the end of this year, I will turn over the editor reins to an as-yet-to-be-named individual who will have new ideas and a passion for integrating the print and electronic media into a format that will serve for generations to come.

I’ll share the story that when I started at the Courier-Post 39 years ago, reporters wrote their stories on manual typewriters. This story will parallel with the tales of “hot metal” printing as told to me by those who retired before me. Collectively, as newspaper veterans, we are the fabric of this community’s past, present and future.

Photo from my scrapbook, 1977, clip filing at the Courier-Post in the days before Google.

And when Paul D. Munger comes to town to retrace his roots, I’ll walk along Broadway with him, reminiscing about the way things used to be, and reflecting upon the parallels between yesterday and tomorrow.

And I’ll be doing what makes me the happiest: Sharing time with my family, and retracing the footsteps of ordinary people who once contributed to the core of Hannibal and beyond.

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