Off the Press

April 26, 2011

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Everybody has a story. People may think they don’t, but they do. Maybe that grouchy old man who lives on the corner fought in World War II and now he can’t get close to people because he fears he will lose them.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Maybe that woman you see from time to time in the grocery store used to be a secret agent for the CIA.

Maybe that young guy down the street has been flying planes since he was 5 years old.

Maybe that couple who owns your favorite restaurant loves Elvis so much that they go to Graceland every year to celebrate The King’s birthday.

After more than two decades in the news business, I truly believe everybody has a story. You might have to coax out of someone that she collects thimbles and has more than 1,000 of them. You might have to chat a while with someone to learn that he met Marilyn Monroe.

But there is something unique and interesting about every person on the planet.

Several years ago, we had an occasional series called Everyone Has a Story. Well, we’re going to relaunch that series, and focus on doing the stories once per month.

Back then, we wrote about:

  • a couple married for more than 50 years who had gone through two wars and raised five daughters
  • a man who credited his medical miracle-type recovery to carrot juice
  • a couple who helped start the legacy of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In restaurant here
  • a woman who has taught piano to generations of Issaquah youths
  • an Issaquah couple who has lived here for more than 70 years
  • and a man who married his high school sweetheart (although it took him 50 years to get there).

People loved those stories. We got calls and emails about them every time one of those stories ran.

The week before last, we had some groups to learn about what readers think about the paper and what they like and don’t like. One thing we heard was — we want to hear more about our neighbors and people in our community; we want more people stories.

We do people stories all of the time, but these profile-type pieces are larger and more in-depth. Here’s how you can help. Do you know someone who carves tiny characters out of matchsticks? Do you build and show cars? Was your neighbor a television character in the 1970s? Does the president of your homeowners association spend his spare time as a clown, visiting sick children in hospitals?

We want to know about these people. We want to know your stories. Your stories are our stories.

This week, we kick off this new and improved series with a story about a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome. When she started attending Liberty High School, she could barely talk to anyone. But the drama program at the school has brought her out of her shell. She now has many friends. More importantly, she has reached a long-held goal — she has the lead role in the school play.

Everybody has a story. And everybody loves a good story. Send your ideas to

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or Comment at

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