Journalism, Local Heroes, Not written by N.L.C.

Irene Mower Finds Exhilaration in Each New Day

Click to see original imageBY RENEE C. NELSON
Herald Women’s Editor

“I try not to think of yesterdays – I live for today – and let tomorrow take care of itself,” stated Irene Mower, Provo, who retired Friday from newspaper work after 34 years as an advertising account executive at The Daily Herald.

She expanded on this optimistic outlook, explaining in an Interview that “you can’t worry about all the little things you did wrong yesterday, you must think about today.” She observed in newspaper work especially, you can’t call it back once the error is made. “If you make a mistake, the error will be distributed to more than 5,000 subscribers.”

A newspaper is probably unique in this instance, for though an error may be made in other media it is not in print for all to observe, and yes, seeing is believing.

Beginning Career

Irene has seen many changes since she came to work for the paper in 1942. Her husband, Harold J. Mower, now deceased, was working on his master’s degree at Brigham Young University at the time, and since her mother could care for her two young daughters it seemed feasible for her to go to work. “I wasn’t trained in newspaper work and had to learn everything new.” she noted.

L. B. “Jack” Tackett was the publisher at the time and J. Frampton Collins, later publisher of the Logan Herald, now retired, was the only other account executive. “The two of us did classified as well as display advertising,” she recalled. “The U.S. was just coming out of the depression, and many times we had only eight to 10 pages a day. If lucky we would have maybe 12 to 14 pages on Sunday. And we didn’t have a dummy (page diagram) with ads on them,” she continued, “we just turned out the ads and then the makeup people built the news around them.”

Irene was the first person to “dummy” the paper. The dummy is a miniature layout of each page of the newspaper which begins in the advertising department, moves to the newsroom, and then to the composing room, where layout and instructions are transferred to the newspaper-size page and run on the press.

The business is now under publisher B.E. “Bye” Jensen and is much more complex and extensive than it was at the beginning of Irene’s career. At peak season the paper can run well over 100 pages in a given day, and the staff and facilities have increased many fold.

Cooperative Attitude

Such an operation requires wide cooperation between departments and individuals, and this is where Irene has excelled. Her sense of humor, her infectious laugh and her willingness to go a little further toward making life easier for others are qualities that are apparent to her colleagues.

She observed that “I have always worked with men in the advertising department, and every time someone new has come in I have learned something valuable from them.” And she ls genuinely appreciative of this. She still displays a spirit that is often reserved only for the very young – a fascination and exhilaration for life.

A young account executive observed, as others would agree, that Irene is pleasant, witty, charming and attractive and, in addition, has that certain undefineable class that sets her apart from others. “She will be missed,” he emphasized with intensity.

Why Work?

And after 34 years Irene has no regrets that she began working. “‘I think every person is better off working,” she said. “The activity keeps you alert and up on things. And, then, too, you don’t have time, to get sick.” And her health record has indeed been notable – something many a younger woman could envy. She took six months off in the late 1940’s when she contracted polio but admits that “I don’t remember taking a sick day in the past ten years.”

It has been said that happy people are healthier people and Irene would tend to confirm this. She agrees that poor health when younger does not necessarily carry on to later years. When her children, Mrs. Lynn (Colleen) Knudsen, Provo, and Mrs. Robert (Gloria) Ritchie, Holladay, were young, they acquired chicken pox and, while Irene was still a contented homemaker, she too got the disease, “and I almost died.”

But she worked because she wanted to work. Her husband ultimately received his master’s degree in economics and sociology and became Regional Director in the office of habilitation Services for the State of Utah Board of Education. He encouraged Irene to work, she explained. “I was home enough at they all thought it was a good thing.” But she doesn’t try to be a superwoman. “I dropped everything else,” she said, “and concentrated on my work. I realize my limitations, and now when I go home I relax.”

Yes, she is stimulated by the deadlines though they “just keep you hopping.” And she , admits that there are bad times like Christmas, Mother’s Day, and the annual Progress Edition. “But other than that the time goes by and just makes you want to do what you can.”

Gets Job Done

When she was growing up in Indianola, Sanpete County, her mother thought all she needed to learn was cooking and sewing. Thus she never learned to type the conventional way. But one does not observe any particular hardship for her, because, like every other task, she gets the job done.

Prior to her departure on Friday she had about 40 accounts and estimated that, of these, she probably made up about 60 percent of the ads from scratch. “When I first started we did almost 100 percent of the ads from scratch,” she recounted, “because in those days most businesses didn’t have advertising people. If ads were pre-planned it was usually by the owner of the business.”

So what is on the future agenda for Irene. Will everything come up roses? We certainly hope so, but if they don’t we will never know because, as she says. “I seldom talk over my problems with anyone until I have solved them.”

She hogs to travel more now and some needlework and reading. And she will also spend some extra time with her children as well as her two sisters, Mrs. Boyd (Edith) Harris and Mrs. R. W. (Eva) Matson who both live in Provo.

She also plans to pick up on some club functions like her affiliation with Beta Sorosis and the American Legion, and maybe play some bridge that she hasn’t had much time for. She is a former state vice president of the American Legion Auxiliary.

And one thing certain, she will keep alert to the changes and ideas that brighten the days. She may continue clipping thoughts of interest from the newspaper as she did many years ago when she found a little piece that she felt best expressed her own philosophy. She has consented to share this sentiment with the readers, though she doesn’t know the author.

I Have Found – Today

I shut the door on yesterday,
Its sorrows and mistakes.
I’ve locked within its gloomy walls
past failures and heartaches.
And now I throw the key away
To seek another room,
And furnish it with hope and smiles
And every springtime bloom.
None though shall enter this abode
That have a hint of pain.
And every malice and distrust
Shall never therein reign.
I have shut the door on yesterday
And thrown the key away;
Tomorrow holds no doubt for me
Since I have found today.