This article appeared in the Journal Herald on February 21, 1978
RIKE’S ARKAY NEWS CELEBRATES BIG BIRTHDAY
Columnist, author, former teacher, chronicler of foibles
When Rike’s was 75 years old (it’s 125 this year) Frederick H. Rike, then president, began to publish a newspaper for the employes. Through the Arkay News he hoped to keep the employes informed about the company and to give recognition of work well done.
The Arkay News is one of the first retail store newspapers. Now that it is 50, the paper is celebrating with a special golden anniversary edition.
Over the years the paper has had 10 editors, but the one with the longest tenure, Kay Baughan, editor from 1945 to 1978, came back as guest editor for the special edition. She now serves the paper on a continuing basis as research consultant.
She reproduced miniature reprints of historic editions of the paper in the beige colored, special stock anniversary edition, reproductions so clear that stories can be read, and faces of employes now long gone are plainly recognizable. In the first edition an employe could win $5 first prize and $4 second prize for finishing a story. Two shoppers stopped a sales clerk. “We want that gray dress that sales clerk has on her arm and we can’t catch her. Will you help us, please?”
The saleswoman found that the one carrying the gray dress had a customer who admired the dress and was about to try it on. The contest was for the best solution to the saleswoman’s dilemma. “Be sure that you consider all the important phases of the situation,” warned the editor.
Who won, do you suppose?
For the special edition Kay called on two personalities who once had connection with Rike’s.
One responded by wire:
I’M REMEMBERING THE ARKAY NEWS STAFF LUNCHEONS I USED TO COME IN FOR AS GUEST SPEAKER. AND IT WAS A LOT OF FUN.
ONE IN PARTICULAR I RECALL…SOMEHOW YOU AND I HAD MISCOMMUNICATION, AND INSTEAD OF MEETING YOU IN THE FIFTH FLOOR DINING ROOM, I WAS TOLD THE NINTH FLOOR EMPLOYE CAFETERIA. WHEN I FINALLY REALIZED THAT PEOPLE DID NOTHING BUT EAT UP THERE, I HUSTLED DOWN TO THE FIFTH FLOOR WHERE A WHOLE ROOM FULL OF EMPLOYES WERE WAITING FOR ME WITH CHEERS.
CONGRATULATIONS ON ARKAY NEWS’ ‘50TH.’ MY SESSIONS AT RIKE’S ARE AMONG MY HAPPY MEMORIES OF DAYTON. BEST REGARDS.
The other sent Kay a letter:
Kay Baugham has given me another assignment.
It’s like old times.
‘ She has come out of retirement for this issue and so have I to comment on the 50th anniversary of the Arkay News.
I was a child of 8 when I joined the staff in 1945. (I cleared up my skin to look older.)
People rarely think of a department store magazine as a farm for humor writers. Actually, there was a dearth of material just laying (sic) there waiting to be tapped.
I hallucinated at Rike’s for the next several years. And the readers laughed.
Mother who worked in basement sportswear laughed.
My Aunt Louise who worked in lamps laughed.
My Aunt Martha who worked in housedresses laughed.
My Uncle Wesley who worked in shipping laughed.
I knew it would be only a matter of time until the rest of the employes would catch on.
I found funny stories in the personnel department where I stamped temporary time cards. I found humor working with teen-agers on the Soda Set Clicker publication. I found laughter in shopping reports which I occasionally processed.
It wasn’t until some sadistic person decided to put me into notions selling that I lost whatever humor I had. The public screwed up everything for me. It took a total of three hours “selling on the floor” to reduce a happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care optimist into a sniveling, deteriorating bit of depression.
It was soon after a customer approached me one day with a spool of thread and asked, “could you tell me where to go to charge and send this?” that I left the employ of Rike’s. (Within minutes, actually.)
But I’ve always had a soft spot in my head for the powers at Second and Main streets who allowed me to say outrageous things in their magazine.
Throughout the years, I have found that only secure people can laugh at themselves. So I only take on those who can handle it. I remember the Arkey News with fondness as do hundreds of people who were a part of it either as staff members of subjects. It was a classy publication.
When I went to join The Journal Herald I missed it.
But when you’re 13 years old, it’s time to move on.
One of Erma’s columns is reproduced in the anniversary paper, too.
Happy 50th anniversary, Arkay News, from a newspaper that wishes you many more. These wishes come with love from the oldest newspaper in town. We’ll be 170 in September.