The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 24, 2014

It sounds corny, but I like scrapbooks vs. thumb drives


- — I REALIZE THAT I’m old-school, but there’s something to be said for having hard copies of anything.

Maybe it’s the permanence of it all, maybe the memories that pasted things seem to stir, but good old-fashioned hard copies seem to cause the soul to flutter more than digitized images in a PowerPoint collection.

I thought about this when friend Vince Cardamon recently returned a couple of nearly 50-year-old scrapbooks about Farrell High basketball that he had borrowed some time ago.

When my wife handed them to me, I hadn’t seen them in years and honestly thought I had donated them to the high school with several others.

I sat at the kitchen table, and eagerly turning page after page, took a game-by-game trip through the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons.

The years of long ago were brought to life by neatly pasted stories from The Herald and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, newspaper photos, old ticket stubs and game programs.

Who knows? Many years from today, some new-fangled technology may make PowerPoint and digital collections seem like my old scrapbooks. But I can’t imagine anyone getting warm, fuzzy and nostalgic about a collection of digital images.

As I leafed through the scrapbooks, I was transported to a different place in time to the kitchen table at 1025 Emerson Ave. in Farrell cluttered with scissors, bottles of glue, programs, ticket stubs, and sports pages.

It didn’t seem like nearly 50 years ago that I painstakingly glued the various pieces into the scrapbooks. It was like yesterday. Amazingly, the scrapbook pages are still intact -- the glue has held up all these years.

In the 1967-68 scrapbook were stories by The Herald’s late sports editor Johnny Pepe about Farrell Coach Ed McCluskey’s absence during the WPIAL playoffs. McCluskey was in a New York City hospital having an operation for a detached retina, and was forced to miss the rest of the season, which abruptly ended at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in an overtime loss to Valley on a last-second half-court heave.

McCluskey’s extended absence makes one realize the advancements in medical technology through the years – such as laparoscopic surgery – that has simplified the operation and recovery time significantly.

While I deal with the latest technology every day and I am thankful for the advent of jpgs, pdfs and the ability to scan documents and photos for convenience, I do little of it for recreation. Most is completed for work or some other official capacity.

But I can’t imagine anyone getting warm and fuzzy about plugging in a memory stick and watching glimpses of the past on a computer screen.

It would be like collecting digitized baseball cards. How would you flip them against a wall or outside against a garage door or weave them into the spokes of your bicycle tires?

Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald writes this column on Mondays. His email is