by Rocky Macy
Occasionally we come to those crossroads in life where one has to make a decision and head off in a new direction. This columnist has had to make several hard choices this year, but certainly none as unpleasant or as personally felt as the one that is at hand. After nearly five years of publication, I have decided to end Rootbound. Today's column will be the last.
For those who enjoy quantification, this is column number 242. That is 242 weeks of typing, and concentration, and time - time that now needs to be spent in other pursuits.
Perhaps some of those 242 columns weren't of the highest literary merit, but, hey, I didn't set out to win the Pulitzer. Rootbound's purpose all along has been to help people find their Ozark roots. And in that regard, we have had many success stories.
Rootbound did win two national awards from the Council of Genealogy Columnists during its short-lived career, and it also served as the forerunner of the column, Rootbound in the Ozarks, which is featured in American Genealogy Magazine. And Rootbound witnessed the start of three other Ozark genealogy columns in local newspapers. (Bonnie, Joan, and Ray - may yours thrive and be as important to you as Rootbound was to me!)
Rootbound has run at one time or another in the pages of many community newspapers including Southwest City (both newspapers), Noel, Anderson Pineville, Goodman, Seneca, Pierce City, Wheaton, Granby, Ketchum, Bentonville, and Neosho. At one time it fairly blanketed the tri-state region.
One of my former editors used to award roses and thorns for the good and bad in the community that needed to be recognized. Borrowing from her, I would like to ignore the thorns (there weren't that many) and award a few roses to those who helped nurture Rootbound on its journey through the family histories of the Ozarks.
A rose to my first editor, Rita MACY, who encouraged me to create a genealogy column for the premier issue of The Elk River Current. That first column ran on 22 September 1987. Little did we know how long it would last, how far it would travel, or how many lives it would touch.
A pair of roses to Emery and Virginia STYRON, former owners of the Newton County News. Theirs was the first newspaper outside of the Current to include Rootbound in its pages. This columnist remembers fondly the family atmosphere of the Newton County News and those wonderful Christmas dinners that Emery and Virginia gave for their staff.
A rose to Anne Cope, former editor of the Neosho Daily News. Anne was the first and only editor to pay cash money for Rootbound, and she will probably go down in history as being the only person to ever double this writer's salary!
A rose to Mary Ellen DENNISON of the Genealogy Friends of the Library. Mary Ellen took on the responsibility of gathering and maintaining the Rootbound collection that is housed in the Genealogy Room of the Neosho City-County Library.
And a rose to Rose STAUBER, my favorite correspondent. While working tirelessly on her own genealogy (and fishing!), Rose always took the time to help others with theirs and to share items of interest with our readers.
Roses to Chris JACKSON and Lois BUSH of the Neosho Daily News. Their friendship and encouragement have done much to keep Rootbound going. Both ladies are far too nice to be journalists!
A rose to Helen PEARMAN for providing sanctuary and a place to think and type when things got rough. Helen is one in a million!
A rose to Susan WETTSTEIN for keeping this writer on track and looking forward during the most tumultuous year of his life. Every crisis crumbled beneath the force of her cheery optimism.
A big rose for my dad, Garland MACY, who was always there when I needed him. No one knows more about families and responsibility than he does. Everyone should have a dad like mine!
Roses for my children - Nick, Molly, and Tim - who learned to do for themselves while Dad was thinking and typing. I am so proud of each of you!
And, lastly, roses to you, Dear Readers, for making Rootbound so successful. I will miss this column, and I will certainly miss you. May your family trees take root and grow beyond your wildest dreams!
Happy hunting...and happy trails!