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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Imagine calling newspaper for quake info


October 21. 2012 7:45PM

When the earthquake hit last Tuesday evening, the first call came in from the former rugrat, who said the Union Leader newsroom was on top of the story and he found it funny that people were calling the newspaper to get information.

Imagine that. Calling a newspaper, of all things, to get news. Whatever happened to Information, may we help you?

I'm not sure how many people were able to call. Apparently the quake did a temporary disconnect on some cellphones, which makes one wonder just how advisable it is to ditch one's landline. Besides, if you did the latter, how would you get all those wonderful political poll calls?

People from other parts of the country were quick to criticize all the local excitement our quake generated. Someone posted a cheeky Facebook note that said, 'New Hampshire, that's not a quake. Signed, California.'

Okay, maybe we were a bit cranked by the whole thing. But I still think we should have sent a photographer over to Lake Massabesic. You know, just in case there was a tsunami at the yacht club.

Getting a call from the kid reminded me of the last time a quake had disturbed him. It was about 33 years ago, on a Sunday afternoon.

We were living in the House by the Side of the Road, a little-known Candia landmark and the birthplace of Sam Walter Foss, who wrote the poem of that name.

The rugrat, just a few months old and cranky, would not go down for his afternoon nap. The family had rocked him, sung to him, and finally walked him up and down the road and it seemed liked there would be miles more to go before he slept. Finally, he did. And I tiptoed up the stairs and placed him ever-so-gently into his crib.

Ten seconds later, we were hit by an earthquake. The kid woke up and, as far as I know, he hasn't been to sleep since.

So I get to write about a kid and a quake for a second time.

Actually, make that three times. Two nights after last week's earthquake, another shock wave hit me.

It was Ike, oldest of the brilliant grandchildren. He was staying overnight and said he had homework to show me.

Homework? Ike is barely into kindergarten.

But the lady of the house brought out his school folder and Ike did his homework assignment. It consisted of reading aloud to his Pop-Pop his entire first book.

I'm not sure what the story was. Something about stairs and a dog, I think, But for some reason, my eyes were all fogged up. Must have been a delayed effect of the quake.

Write to Joe McQuaid at

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