Never say “never” and those who know me say I am never at a loss for words. But there comes a time when the never I shouldn’t say needs to become a thank you to the RoundTable and my readers for being there all these years, and I have to find the right words to say “So long.”
I have been a small part of The RoundTable since its very beginning. Its founder and editor, Mary Gavin, welcomed my idea for a column and its heading, Room for a View, then let me have my say for more than 21 years. And I am grateful.
I am also proud to have been part of a project with a special purpose: to let Evanston residents and countless others know and feel that their city and community “matters most” (and chocolate as well). The RT, before going digital, was delivered bi-weekly to most residences and businesses in town affording everyone the opportunity to have their say in print about all things Evanston.
The first very thin edition grew quickly to 16, then 24, 32 and 36-plus pages. The RT aimed to be a kind of conscience for the city, covering its government, school boards, city services, neighborhoods, businesses, cultural events, the arts, school activities, etc. Social justice became its overriding theme, seeking transparency and solidarity in addressing the large problems even small cities have to contend with.
Over the years, the RT voice grew strong and more credible. Its editors, including Mary’s husband Larry, unflinchingly sought accountability from the city’s mayors, managers, aldermen, police and fire chiefs, school boards and city department heads while heralding their achievements and services to their community.
RT reporters covered everything from breaking news – the good, the bad, the ugly – to the countless interesting happenings in the city’s nooks and crannies. Nothing fake in the RT (except for April Fools’ Day).
Its writers, many award winners like Mary and Larry, covered a vivid spectrum of topics, offering insight, praise, critical questions, humor, respectful profiles of individuals, businesses and civic organizations. Always with integrity and clarity.
The RT staff topped them all. Nothing, but nothing could come together without them. Creative ideas, design and layout, marketing, headlines, proofreading and distribution, the staff was the aorta of the organization. And, I’m certain, remains so.
And I must not forget its advertisers. They have been directly responsible for the RT’s sustainability over the years. It could never have been a freebie without them and its many unknown supporters.
Going to the office on Florence Avenue was, for me, like a day in a sandbox. Always fun, building castles and wiping some of them out, then rebuilding, with helpers all over the place. That office nurtured dedication, everyone there believing in Evanston, respecting the paper’s uniqueness and possibilities, committed to admitting its problems and facing its challenges.
From the beginning, the RT’s heart has been in the right place – Evanston, as have the hearts of those who have gifted the city with its voice. To say all that the RoundTable has given me, I know I will never be at a loss for words.
Charles, your columns have always been my go-to when I read our beloved RT. Thank you for your truth, your insights, your humor. I will miss you.
Thank you, Charles, for your years of commitment to Evanston readers, and for your wit.
I have enjoyed your column through the years. I will miss them, but I understand when one feels it is time. Stay well, Charlie, and write an occasional column if you cannot resist. Lynn Miller
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