To the editor:
The Courier-Times will always hold a special place in my heart. In 1995, I walked in as a temporary employee to work in the mailroom with Marianna Compton, until a few years later, I moved to the front office. She was upset that I left her but was happy I could move up to a better position. Marianna taught me all there was to know about the mailing of the newspaper.
Little did I know, I would meet people who would impact my life tremendously. One of those people was Marianna. She was a devoted woman who not only supervised the mailroom, but truly loved what she did and the people she did it with. There were many long hours printing and mailing the newspaper. A lot of people do not know what it takes to get the paper out to subscribers and stores. We would go in between midnight and 1 a.m. to start the process.
The pressmen would crank up the press, which squeaked quite loudly sometimes, and she was there to start pulling the papers off the belt. She wanted to make sure everything looked good and with her pulling, we could get started earlier. When the guys got the paper in register, the grocery store and other flyers had to be put in the printed product, store routes had to be counted and prepped for delivery, and she and I would start labeling papers for mail distribution. The labeling process took a couple of hours to get the mail labels on, bundled into walk sequence for the post office, and either placed into tubs for city mail carriers or bagged for rural carriers. Those bags were heavy, but she handled them like they were nothing. Store routes had to be counted, bundled, loaded and delivered. If we were really in a pinch, everyone pitched in, Brinn and Jerry Clayton included. The holiday shopper edition was the most difficult. She would easily put in a 12- to 18-hour day. That paper is the one that we all worked on together. We shared many laughs, tears and attitude as we were all exhausted. We worked our normal schedule then stayed to hand insert the tab because it was too thick to run through the inserter machine.
Imagine all this buzz at times when most people are sleeping. Yes, she had to call me a few times, because back then I was young and getting up in the middle of the night was tough. She never sounded upset, she always said hey sweetie, you coming to work. I’d say yes ma’am, be there in a few. She never gave up, always the last one to leave and usually the first to arrive. She always did what was needed.
Marianna’s loyalty and dedication is a rare gem and rarely found today. You see, The Courier is more than a business. We were, and still are, a family. We loved each other and were there when someone was sick or just having a bad day. Yes, we were a tight group but we always gave our all to produce a great newspaper. That could be seen by all the awards from the NC Press Association that were proudly displayed on the wall at the Clayton Avenue office. To this day, many of us still do lunch, get together for Christmas and attend important functions.
Marianna was more than a co-worker, she was family to us all. I wish each reader could have known Marianna as I did, someone who loved what she did for over 40 years and loved each of us as her family. That we were and always will be. Much love Marianna. Rest easy. We’ve got it from here.