Connections: Saturday’s Child

Does anyone still chant this nursery rhyme? Once upon a time, I think, everyone knew which child they were:

Monday’s child is fair of face

Tuesday’s child is full of grace

Wednesday’s child is full of woe

Thursday’s child has far to go

Friday’s child is loving and giving

Saturday’s child works hard for his living

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

 

My mother recited it to me as a child, and she certainly knew I was born on a Saturday. Did she believe what the rhyme had to say? Was she tempting fate? I wish she were here to ask.

Excising the male pronoun, the rhyme rings true where I am concerned. I not only work hard, 

but wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t.

  Decades ago, when I inherited The Star and the responsibilities that came with it, I dived right in. I was in my 40s then. Friends worried that I wasn’t cooking much and brought over casseroles so the kids were well fed. They seemed to marvel at my ability to take over, even though I would insist it was only a matter of hard work.

Whether it actually was harder to put out the paper at that time is debatable. It certainly took longer than it does today: We routinely could be found burning the midnight oil on a Wednesday night. The methods of production were time consuming, involving X-Acto knives and an electric contraption that melted wax that held galleys to the page. Many of us used manual typewriters — not even electric — well into the 1980s. We were early adopters of the computer, and a program called XyWrite for what we called “word processing” (kind of a funny term, if you think about it), but I don’t remember it speeding things up much.

In the 1960s, The Star was dependent on old-fashioned Linotype machines, into which heavy lead “pigs” were fed to be melted and transformed into type, but when I took over we had moved on to photo-offset typesetting. 

Saturdays were not, actually, my favorite day of the week. The work of putting out the paper was done, the office was closed, and I didn’t know what to do with a long afternoon. 

Eventually, I put my hard-work instincts to use for my favorite side project, the Choral Society of the Hamptons. After I joined — wouldn’t you know it — I soon started writing press releases and doing fund-raising . . . and the work goes on.

And, of course, I am in my 80s now, but I refuse to retire. The truth is that the editing I do at The Star isn’t hard work at all, because I love it.