Margaret “Marge” Council Heal, who at 76 left this world in 2012, is forever the mother of our pub-lisher Janet Jubilee. To old-time writers like me she was also the Mother of Hometown News. We still miss her and think of our former editor Marge every month when new issues come out. “Would she like them?” we wonder, and we always try to make sure that she would. Marge Heal will always be our guiding spirit.
When Brookhaven Buzz, our flagship paper, came out in 1990, I was immediately attracted to its for-mat and content. I liked its emphasis on not only what’s happening but also nearby history. It wasn’t too long before I submitted to Marge my first story, on the old 48 Veteran’s Hospital at the present site of Brookhaven Park. I had vivid memories as a kid riding my bike past that building in Brookhaven in the early 1960s.
Marge loved the idea of community fused in history. Most readers may not remember; but the popular space in the heart of Brookhaven with the cool pedestrian alley, between what are now the brick structures of Hudson’s Grille and Sugar Shack, along with Mellow Mushroom, was originally named Windsor Station. Marge had a duck fit. “It should be called Brookhaven Station!” she insisted and somehow she got the name changed. I think of Marge with affection when I see that sign.
Years went by and I always enjoyed hearing from readers who enjoy Hometown News. Meanwhile I grew with Hometown papers in Decatur, Tucker, Ponce, Lilburn and Norcross. (Marge would be pleased with our latest papers, Midtown and Dunwoody.) Often at Christmas parties Marge gave us all throw blan-kets. One time I came late and all that was left was a “girly” pink one. All over it, Marge walked across the room and effected an exchange, bringing me back a manly plaid. I think of Marge when I use it to keep warm for TV watching in winters.
Marge was always our Hometown champion. From the time when she was a veteran reporter for the Cincinnati Post when women journalists were still unusual, she truly loved newspapering. Because she was our mother in the Hometown family I always sought Marge’s approval and wisdom. She encouraged our work and was our kind of Queen Bee.
What I’ve always loved about Hometown is our motto, “Local, Positive Community News,” a great niche to have. Marge credited the concept to Janet. And Janet says it was Marge’s idea. It was most likely a mother-daughter collaboration. And it’s in that spirit in thinking about the Mother of Hometown News that we wish our readers a Happy Mother’s Day May 13. For where would we be without our Mothers?
–Dr. Paul Hudson