Sandy Neilly
Sandy Neilly
 
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The Editorial Page

 
 
A place for Editorial comment and Letters to the Editor
 
By Sandy Neilly
2017 will bring me my 12th spring as editor of the Wayback Times. It was March 1, 2006 that the final decision to purchase the business from founder Jay Telfer was made. For me, it was a life altering decision that introduced me to a new lifestyle that revolved around deadlines, technology and communication. It still does.
 
I am not particularly adept at any of those things and if there has been any measure of success in my role as editor, I owe it to the people who are always there to help… and there are many. I've been blessed.
 
Spring 2017, although greatly anticipated in many ways, is also going to be a time of change for me. My right-hand guy, John Cosway, has announced that he is retiring - imagine him wanting to retire at the young age of 75 - and will be leaving page 4 of the Wayback Times as our Cosway’s Corner columnist and as our webmaster.
 
Back in 2006, as a complete newbie to the newspaper/publishing industry, I had some very vague notions about how I would like to publish this paper… and I was pretty clueless about running a website. It was all new to me. Every bit of it. The only related experience I had was the fact that Peter and I were antique dealers, we had a shop and we participated in quite a few shows where I frequently took photos for Jay Telfer… and it seemed we were always hauling around bundles of the Wayback Times for him.
 
We knew John from a mutual good friend in Ajax. In the mid 1990s, he was a semi-retired Toronto Sun journalist who was always on the hunt for items to sell online. I was terribly impressed with his eBay skills and it wasn't long before he showed me the ropes and I was selling online myself. John would pay us a visit with a car full of “inventory” (it could be quite a challenge getting at it at times) and we would often purchase some things from him. And, sometimes it worked the other way around. He would browse our barn and occasionally find a thing or two to trade for or buy. He was a congenial, quiet person, very unassuming, with a great laugh. Being a confirmed bachelor, there weren't too many things to tie him down as he prowled the local auctions, a favourite pastime that eventually made for a very full house.
 
When John visited us in 2006 and I told him about purchasing the Wayback Times, his face lit up. The newspaper industry - that was his expertise, his background. He made me an offer so perfectly suited to what I needed... and didn't even realize I needed at the time... that I was delighted to bring him onboard. That was a no-brainer and one of the best decisions I've ever made. He would take on the new WT website as webmaster and also provide me with a column published in each issue. Win, win, win! His column would be called “Cosway’s Corner” a remnant of his Toronto Sun past where he would, as the story goes, sell things from his desk there.
 
There was one condition. Cosway’s Corner had to have a permanent home on page 4. Although I wasn't convinced a column had to have a “home,” that was easy enough to agree to. In all of the ensuing 64 issues of this paper, once, and only once, was Cosway’s Corner not on page 4 and we had a specific reason for that. His article was, for that issue, key to the new Wayback Wheels section and we felt a one-time departure from page 4 would be forgiven by our readers. And it was.
 
John’s work made my job so much easier than it might have been. Not only is he professional in every aspect of his work, both online and in print, he is probably the most reliable, dependable person I know. When John says he'll do something, that becomes written in stone. Whatever it is, it happens. That is a rare quality in a human these days. Over the past 11 years, he has never missed the mark and has always, always, been there for me. He has even, occasionally, offered up page 4 when there have been layout complications. The website was updated on an almost constant daily basis. I had only to mention something, and it was done.
 
About five years ago, John, the confirmed bachelor, started seeing a lovely lady by the name of Margaret McAulay. We were introduced and absolutely delighted to watch their relationship blossom into something we all aspire to... a tender, caring alliance that brought out the best in both of them... and always will, I'm sure. But alas, our bachelor columnist/webmaster now had a “life!" Gone were the days of updating the WT website on a daily basis in the wee hours. But what a trade-off... we got Marg and have often benefited from her research, her photography, her WT promotion and, most of all, from Marg just being herself. She is warm, loving, always ready to lend a hand in any situation, and a multi-talented lady who succeeds in every task she puts her hand to. Best of all, she brings great happiness to John.
 
In ending this, I must thank you, John, for the past 11 years of being with the WT through thick and thin. I honestly don't know how I would have done it without you. Your guidance has been invaluable in so many areas. You contributed so much more than what was “required,” including single-handedly creating Cruise Night and Auto Show calendars for car enthusiasts. These items required endless hours of work, all volunteered by John on top of the many other tasks he skillfully achieved.
 
I have to apologize, too. The “perfect” issue has eluded me all these years. I will always think of you picking up a freshly-printed issue and asking me, hopefully, “Is this the one... the perfect issue?” Inevitably, the reply has always been, “Sorry, no... I just found (“x” amount of) typos and I see I got the index (or something else) wrong again.” (We won't get into grammar...)
 
I realize how difficult this has been for you to tolerate being the perfectionist (in a good way) and professional person you are and always will be. Your (and Marg’s) offer to proof each issue would have been gratefully utilized if I'd ever actually had an issue of the WT ready a few days - rather than a few minutes - before going to press.
 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate all you have done so very much. Peter and I, and I'm sure all of our readers, wish you all the good things you deserve as you pursue new adventures with Marg. We know you have some wonderful things lined up, so keep healthy, keep happy and stay in touch. I'll make you Krispy Kraft soon and maybe, if the weather is nice enough, we can have it on the front porch.
 
Big hugs, God bless you both. You will be missed beyond words.

(ps - I did a spell check on this!)
 
Previous column: 2017, a new year to appreciate and explore antiques
 
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