By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
HUDSON/MARLBOROUGH – Their longtime newspapers have published their last issues. But journalists Rosemary Rimkus and Mary Wenzel are far from done reporting on the communities they love.
Both Rimkus and Wenzel will now pen new columns for the Community Advocate, continuing their decades-long legacies as respected voices in Hudson and Marlborough.
“I’m not ready to retire,” Rimkus said in a recent phone conversation.
Rimkus chronicles decades of life in Hudson
Rimkus hasn’t always lived in Hudson. But, for decades, she’s helped write the first draft of its history through her column, “Keynotes.” She considers herself “a townie.”
Indeed, Rimkus was first hired in 1945 by what was then the Hudson News Enterprise. She was a junior in high school at that time and recalls writing and editing copy while also making up pages for the paper’s large, on-site four-page press.
By 1950, Rimkus was serving as an editor, helping steer her paper’s coverage of the town she loved.
“I never had any schooling,” Rimkus explained of her journalism background. “It was on the job training.”
Rimkus left Hudson in 1955 with her husband, Vic Rimkus. Having joined the Marine Corps, Vic served as a second lieutenant, training recruits and playing football at Parris Island, South Carolina.
A year later, the couple traveled back north, this time settling in Berlin, New Hampshire as Vic served as a teacher-coach at St. Patrick’s High School in town. He then coached football for one year at Hopkinton High School before returning to Hudson for a job as a social studies teacher and head football coach in 1958.
Rimkus wrote for the Worcester Telegram before returning to what had been rebranded as the News Enterprise in 1963. While at the Telegram, Rimkus said she remembers having her copy picked up by a truck that drove by her house to then deliver the copy to the paper itself, she said.
That’s when she first wrote “Keynotes.”
Wenzel serves Marlborough as community reporter
Across town lines, in Marlborough, Mary Wenzel kicked off her column in the 1970s.
She was hired with the instruction to develop a column similar to Rimkus’ “Keynotes.”
Taking the direction to heart, Wenzel recalls counting the words in her paragraphs and stories to understand Rimkus’ format and style.
“I consider her my inspiration,” Wenzel said.
Developing her own style and voice independent of Rimkus and Keynotes, Wenzel’s “Sampler” has run for well over 40 years.
The interval has changed, operating at various times as a weekly column, a bi-weekly column and as a daily column before reverting to a weekly format.
For years, all that work happened in downtown Marlborough within the Marlborough Enterprise’s office in the city.
Both Wenzel and Rimkus now work at home, however, continuing their reporting with the help of community connections who regularly provide story tips and publicity requests for their events and initiatives.
Rimkus, Wenzel to launch columns this month
The Hudson Sun and Marlborough Enterprise announced in late June that they would cease publication.
Though the papers had shrunk immensely since their heyday, that news prompted an immediate outpouring of sadness from community members who thanked Rimkus and Wenzel and remarked on what they feared would be the loss of their columns.
“Today is the last issue of the Hudson Sun, established in 1902, a survivor of several corporate deals and consolidations, until now,” Rimkus wrote in what was her final column for the paper.
Late last month, those final issues hit doorsteps and newsstands.
Later this month, though, Rimkus and Wenzel’s familiar voices will be back in print, appearing on an alternating, biweekly schedule in the pages of the Community Advocate.
The names of their columns will change. But the presses won’t stop on the stories they tell.
Rosemary Rimkus’ email is [email protected].
Mary Wenzel’s email is [email protected].