Every young journalist knows the momentousness that comes with securing internships and real-world experience as they make their march toward entering the workforce. When I realized that I would be returning home from college for nearly two months, I knew now would be the perfect time to get some of this coveted experience. The thing about securing an internship at this paper in particular holds much more weight than a few lines on my resume and a few pages added to my portfolio.
For those of you that have taken the paper for many years now may remember a column called “Keller’s Kolumn” that ran in the Democrat for years. The author, Gertrude Keller, was my great-grandmother. My moms, moms, mom you could say. These articles ran with her picture in the top left hand, her soft smile and intelligent glare tucked behind her cat eyeglasses inviting readers in to read what she had for them. I am lucky enough to have tangible evidence of these “kolumns” that existed long before the internet. Since starting my internship, browsing through these articles have brought me great comfort and reminded me of the writer’s blood that runs through my veins. For my inaugural “Claytons Column” I just wanted to share a couple of her thoughts in comparison to the world that I am writing, working and documenting in right now.
Grandma Keller wrote in early 1965, “With so much sickness now such as flu, colds and whatever, appetites are sometimes at a low ebb and hard to please . . . At this time of year, too, everyone is ready for a change in every way and one of the best places to start is with something different at mealtimes.” It is amazing to look at how her outlook then, rings so true now.
With the sickness that COVID-19 has brought to the country, the implications because of it, and the “whatever” else that Grandma Keller wrote about, it is safe to say we are ready for a change. At the start of the pandemic, bread making at home was going viral. The public was unknowingly taking her advice and trying something new at dinner time. Many of my friends have told me they have taken up trying new things in the kitchen, a way to entertain while staying indoors. Funny how advice from 1965 is still pertinent today.
This year has been one to test, challenge and teach us all kinds of lessons. I would love to know what a “Keller’s Kolumn” would be like if Grandma Keller was still around to write one today.
She went on in her article to give different recipes she thought would shake up mealtimes for the readers of the Democrat. This included a recipe for a lemon Jell-O cake because she had a partiality to lemon flavor, a trait her and I share.
Although I don’t have recipes to share or the wisdom of a woman like her, I can share her legacy, her wisdom, and her masterful writings. The way a 20-year-old, Henry County raised fledgling reporter sees the world in 2020 will be much different than how she experienced this community but nonetheless, it is worth putting words to page and seeing where the plumbline falls.
Some grandmas create quilts, but Grandma Keller left behind something much more than an ornate fabric to hang on my wall. She created a book housing a collection of “Keller’s Kolumns” and “Just A Thought” from her time at The Windsor Review in hopes the work would “help people to appreciate the many uncommon, common things in life and to see through these the great handiwork of God in their everyday lives.”
The composer Gustav Mahler wrote, “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire” and those words ring all too true in this endeavor. I hope this passing of torches is one that would make Grandma Keller proud.