‘It was 20 years ago today ...’

In June of 1967, The Beatles released a landmark album called “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The title track began with the lyrics, “It was 20 years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.  They’ve been going in and out of style. But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.”

I bring this up because last Saturday, August 1, marked the 20th anniversary of my having started at The Anchor.

I must say that I’m very blessed to have been associated with this fine publication for the last two decades. While sometimes it’s been a “Long and Winding Road,” it’s a journey I was able to trek “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

And the friends along the way have been many.

I was hired by a dear friend, colleague and brilliant business woman, Anchor business manager, Rosemary Dussault. In a world then dominated by men, Rosemary could more than hold her own against any of them.

She always treated me and my family like her family.

Along with Rosemary, I began my Anchor journey with seasoned newspaper veterans Barbara Reis, a secretary when I started who later took over for Rosemary when she passed away; and Patricia McGowan, the most talented writer and news person I have ever met. Pat took me under her wing and increased my journalism skills tenfold at the very least.

Pat was a remarkable woman whose godfather was none other than the legendary G.K. Chesterton; and she was friends with Dorothy Day, whom Pat hosted on occasion at her Somerset home.

I had the bittersweet honor to write tributes to Rosemary, Barbara and Pat in The Anchor when each passed away.

I also just learned Pat’s husband Owen passed away August 2. Prayers to the McGowan Family. Owen, too, was a good Anchor friend.

My first “boss” was Msgr. John F. Moore, a man who ran a sturdy ship, but gave me leeway to be my own writer as well.

During the past 20 years I have worked for three bishops; then-bishop, now Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap.; Bishop George W. Coleman; and Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., each of whom I helped produce special Anchor editions for.

I’ve produced tribute editions for Pope John Paul II,  Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Besides Msgr. Moore, I’ve worked under Father Roger J. Landry; Msgr. Gerard P. O’Connor (on an interim basis); and Father Richard D. Wilson.

Also this year, this column, “My View From the Stands,” marks its 15th anniversary which began running with the March 10, 2000 edition. I have no idea how many columns I’ve produced over the years, but the column photo remained the same for years at a time. To celebrate 15 years, today’s column has a new mug shot.

I was named editor of The Anchor by Bishop O’Malley beginning with the Sept. 14, 2001 edition — another bittersweet moment. I was grateful for the promotion, but the lead headline for that edition was the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Shanksville, Pa.

The Anchor was printed, when I first began, at Leary Press on Second Street in Fall River — attached to the house where the infamous Borden murders took place on Aug. 4, 1892. Good friends Martha McGinn and Ron Evans turned the house into a bed and breakfast in 1995.

Technology changed and we no longer put the paper together by actual cutting and pasting copy. Desktop publishing became vogue and in November of 2000 The Anchor published its first color edition with our new printing company, and current companion, TCI Press in Seekonk.

Through the years, I’ve been blessed to meet with many great people, some famous, some not, but each of them brought something special to The Anchor.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention former coworkers Jim Dunbar, Mike Gordon and Christine Vieira; and current partners in crime Mary Chase, Wayne Powers, Becky Aubut and Ken Souza — each of whom has made an indelible mark on my life.

It’s been a good ride, and I hope it continues for a long time.


© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts