This is a column that I wrote for the Cabot Star-Herald, Lonoke Democrat and Carlisle Independent this week. It is about my mother.
My mom was/ a special person
By Mark Buffalo
As I sit here typing away at the computer, I’m full of mixed emotions when it comes to my mother. All of you all know her as Rose Mary Buffalo. Some of you know her as a friend or as the editor of the newspaper, as as the face of the newspaper and the town of Carlisle.
But to me, Mom is more than that. She is my hero, the one who took care of me when I was young and sick. Mom was the one I could always talk to even when I knew she might be disappointed or mad at me. Mom is the one I could always count on all my life.
I’m writing this on July 13. Most of you all know that Mom was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. This has been a difficult time for our family. Work was difficult for me and my brother and sister. We’ve always been a close family but they lived about two hours away but always wanted to move back closer to Carlisle and Central Arkansas. In fact, as most of you know, my brother Jonathan moved back to Carlisle where he is a coach at our alma mater.
Mom was a homemaker until going to work at Wal-Mart in Lonoke in 1986. She worked her way up to assistant manager then wanted to take a step back. I had interned at the newspapers in Cabot, Lonoke and Carlisle during the summers of 1992 and 1994 and my mentor and editor Bill Rutherford hired me fulltime in the summer of 1995 but that was three months after they hired my mom as editor/salesperson/office manager/general flunkie for the Carlisle Independent. When owner Cone Magie asked Mom if she had a degree in journalism, she said, “I paid for one,” referring to my college degree.
So, For the past 13 years, I’ve been able to work with Mom but that almost came to an end in 1996 when I decided newspaper work wasn’t for me and I turned in my letter of resignation. But I had a change of heart and asked the Magies if I could work parttime and they agreed. A year later, our sports editor for the Cabot and Lonoke papers left and the Magies offered me the job. After waiting a bit while working as the interim sports editor, I took the job fulltime. That afforded me the chance to continue to work with Mom.
Slowly, she and I did all the paper together. Back then, I would draw out what the front page would look like and our composition director Wes Kyle would put it together using wax and a paste-up board. In 1999, our newspapers went to designing pages on the computer and that gave us more control of how the paper should look. Mom had a feel for what the people of Carlisle wanted in a newspaper and the types of stories that would interest a majority of our town.
During our work together, we even delivered the paper around town to the various businesses. When Mom got sick last year, that burden fell upon me totallly until our new owners, Stephens Media, allowed our circulation manager Gary Ford to hire a carrier around Thanksgiving 2007.
The paper was printed in Cabot until the fall of 2006. During the time it was printed in Cabot, Mom would be always standing by the press, making sure the paper looked as good as possible before telling our pressmen that it was okay to save copies. That was especially handy after we started running process color on a regular basis. She wanted to make sure that the people of Carlisle had the absolute best product possible. She took pride in what she did.
I’m working on this column again on July 27 and two days ago, it was decided to have Mom use hospice care. I don’t want to go into this too much because I’m sure Mom will see this story and let me know about it in the future. I’m counting on it.
I just want to tell everyone that my Mom loved her job and the people of Carlisle even if, at one point, she was an outsider but she married a Carlisle boy, had three Carlisle children and eventually became a Carlisle HIgh School Honorary Alumnus. That was one of her biggest honors. She deserved it.
So, please, remember my mother fondly. When you think about her, I hope a smile comes to your face. Even through the tears right now, thinking about my Mom brings a smile to mine!