The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 10
R FROM THE PUBLISHER
Reflections on 40 Years . . .
The support of readers and advertisers has been the delightful
constant through four decades of the magazine.
"They said it couldn't be done . . . and a few
times, we thought just maybe they were right."
THOSE WERE THE FIRST WORDS in Volume I No. 1 of this magazine. And when I
wrote them in the fall of 1974, I was 26 years
old and operating as pretty much a one-man
band out of a one-room office in the Crystal
Tower Building; and those words were as true
as they were unoriginal.
Sitting here 40 years later in a somewhat
bigger office and in the company of about 30
co-workers, I'm reminded of a thought from
the lady who would, not too many months
after that premier issue, become the first editor of The Roanoker: "Every generation thinks
it invented sex," was a favorite bit of wisdom
and insight from Norma Lugar, who left us
in 2010 after a pioneering 50-year journalism
career that included long stints at both The
Roanoke Times and The Roanoker.
Maybe if you were lucky enough to bring
the first modern city magazine for Roanoke,
Virginia to fruition, you do earn a little of
that kind of feeling. Perhaps especially when
you were foolish and brash enough that you
didn't even see another city magazine until
after the first Roanoker was out.
Whatever celebration and exuberance
there was that fall - when gas was 53 cents a
gallon, a stamp cost a dime and the Dow hit
a high of 950 - is at least as much a testament
to those who believed in the project as to my
own work. Here's a First National Exchange
Bank ad on the inside front cover, talking
about "Think of all the things you'd like to
do in life." Here's Branch & Associates, talking
about "taking the tangle out of Tanglewood"
with its 419 straightening project. And MKB
Realtors, just a year old itself, although then
called Lugar Mastin Kirkland Bolling. And
10 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014
This portrait of Norma Vecellio Lugar (1934-2010), by Chris Jamison, hangs in the halls of
LeisureMedia360, and captures perfectly the intensity, passion and Italian beauty of the
journalism veteran who intimidated the 27-year-old Richard Wells when she interviewed for a
job in 1975, but then broke the tension by getting up to leave and walking into a closet.