TRAVERSE CITY — Birth and death; between them, everyone gets their name in the newspaper “at least twice,” joked Loraine Anderson.
Unless your name happens to be “Loraine Anderson.” Then your name gets in the paper 12,775 times – once a day, more or less, for the past 35 years.
The Record-Eagle newsroom was a din of clacking typewriters when Anderson walked in and hung up her coat in 1978. Anderson, 29, was no wide-eyed cub. She arrived with a few weeklies under her belt, plus a short stint at the Benton Harbor Herald Palladium.
A once-butchered byline gave “Mildred Henderson” a taste for accuracy. Trips to Europe and beyond fostered a yen for big picture perspectives. Sincere connections — often made looking over her eyeglasses — nurtured a compassionate and contemplative approach to her fellow humans.
Minus her hairstyle and job title, the woman who walked through the door is “pretty much the same” as the woman walked out of it Friday after 35 years, Anderson said.
“I wanted to present things in a way where they can be discussed, not argued,” Anderson said. “The newspaper should be a friend to the community, but the kind of friend who tells you the truth. The kind of friend who tells you when you’re walking down the wrong path, the kind who is there in times of heartache.”
Anderson assumed she’d only be in Traverse City for one year. Her migration from her hometown of Mayville in Michigan’s thumb to the state’s pinkie was done with a westward eye on Chicago – and a job at a big daily.
But something happened on her way to the big time, some time in between working her police beat, volunteering as a stagehand at the Old Town Playhouse and learning her way around Traverse City’s water and woods.