Glebe Report essay contest

Winning-essay

Christie Diekmeyer receives her prize of $500 for her winning essay marking the Glebe Report’s 500th edition in February 2018. From left: Steve Zan, co-chair, Glebe Report board; Christie Diekmeyer, essay contest winner; Patricia Lightfoot, co-chair, Glebe Report board; Liz McKeen, editor.
Photo: courtesy of GNAG staff

The winner of our recent essay contest marking the Glebe Report’s 500th edition in February is Christie Diekmeyer.

The Glebe Report Board was very pleased with the enthusiastic responses to its essay contest and the warm feelings that writers expressed on the subject of community newspapers. Many thanks to our judges Elaine Marlin, former editor of the Glebe Report, and Patricia Lightfoot and Steve Zan, current co-chairs of the Glebe Report Board of Directors.

The winning essay by Christie Diekmeyer is called The Luxury of a Paper. According to the judges it, “does an excellent job from a personal perspective of capturing both the role of the paper and also how it helps to build the community.” It is printed in full on page 9.

The Luxury of a paper

by Christie Diekmeyer

Note: This essay won the contest marking the 500th edition of the Glebe Report.

“I like it when you read the paper, Mom.”

Yes, I can see why my daughter might like it when I read the newspaper. I’m quiet, yet available for questions and interruptions. I’m not saying, “Wait a sec until I answer this text.” I’m sitting at the dining room table, feet curled up, ready to stay for a while. I’m a mom who is just there, just in case. I’m a security blanket.

When the Glebe Report arrives, it shrinks my world to a manageable scale. The newspaper is small and it’s full of news that is no farther than two kilometres away. It contains information about the schools that I have set foot in, about businesses that I have frequented, about people that I know or I may know one day. Reading it is an exercise in mindfulness where suddenly things that you see every day become sharper, buildings that I pass by become alive with their events and I am suddenly keenly aware of my surroundings.

Having this paper arrive on our front door is a luxury. It is written, edited and circulated entirely by volunteers. Their goal is not to sell us something or extract money from us, but to inform us of the events, classes and news that are happening right under our noses. It brings a plethora of news stories about the young and old in our community. Did you hear about the kids starting a composting program? About the authors or painters or new coffee shop in the neighbourhood? Did you know about the recent development? Have you lost a pair of glasses? How about that new play at the community centre, eh?

I started delivering the Glebe Report not long after we bought our home 18 years ago. As a new mom, I liked the excuse to get out of the house; it was an activity! The kids sat in the stroller or walked along and I would hope for a chance encounter with our neighbours. Sometimes it was a simple, “hi!” or sometimes a craved-for conversation with someone that we hadn’t seen in some time. As the kids grew, we anticipated the day when they could stand on tippy toes and reach the two-foot high mailboxes to drop the papers in by themselves.

I don’t have any more kids who “help” me with this task anymore. Yet, when I see the pile of newspapers appear on my doorstep every month, I try to time the delivery for the maximum “reward.” If I wait until Saturday morning, someone will undoubtedly be going in or out of their house or walking down the street. Now I know: that house has a judge who is a comedian, over there we have a journalist for The Citizen, just down further is an expert on orchids and across is a world-renowned psychologist.

The ripple effect of the Glebe Report is a community solidified, one street at a time.

Christie Diekmeyer is a Glebite and mom who has delivered the Glebe Report for 18 years and counting.

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