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The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

Pinning Me Down

This week, if you fine readers would indulge me, I thought I’d highlight each of the categories on my personal Pinterest page, in an effort to help all of you get to know me a little better.

BROLLIOLOGY

I am a firm believer that umbrellas need not be saved up for a rainy day!

GRABATOLOGY

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” – Oscar Wilde

OFFICE FURNITURE

Your office should be your home away from home: Furnish accordingly.

ORGANIZATION

A well-ordered room begets a well-ordered mind.

HOME DÉCOR

I love a home decked out in pure, unadulterated white (although sometimes that and little brothers don’t mix).

CLEANING

Clean every day like it’s your last.

VINYL

Even broken records are music to my ears.

ART

To this day, no one holds a candle to the old masters.

MARMADUKE

If you need more than one panel, you’re doing it wrong.

ORNITHOLOGY

For me, there’s naught more calming than a bird on the wing.

CALLIGRAPHY

You can tell a lot about a man from his penmanship.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 17, 2014

Millennials in Neverland

Right around the time that most of the so-called millennials were partying like it was 1999, psychologist Jeffrey Arnett coined the term “emerging adulthood,” which, appropriately enough, would come to describe the epidemic of protracted adolescence that is quickly becoming the most defining trait of my generation. In the eyes of the world, the generation of people born after 1980 seem either unwilling or unable to grow up. Some people blame it on the overinvolvement of so-called “helicopter parents” who hover around their children so ubiquitously that they never learn how to deal with adversity themselves. On the other hand, many reactionaries are ready to diagnose our entire generation with narcissistic personality disorder. As with most important issues, I believe the whole thing is a lot more nuanced than that.

In a lot of ways, the youngest members of the Kensington Chronicle family are prototypical millennials. And in a few cases, it’s not even an exaggeration to call it a family, since, to the extent that we are employed at all, myself, my brother, Michael, and my sister, Wendy, all work at a newspaper which just happens to be owned by our dear father. You might think it’s a pretty cushy setup, being poster children for nepotism at our dad’s small business. And you’d be right, up to a point. But it doesn’t do much to impress upon us the importance of responsibility and financial independence. I talk a good game, but KensingtonChronicle.com – at least so far – is like the red-headed stepchild of the print publishing division. And I’m not saying that all of what my siblings and I do for the Chronicle is incredibly work intensive, but when you boil it down to dollars and cents, our salaries don’t amount to much more than a pittance, certainly nothing even remotely approaching a living wage. Wendy, Michael and I are all in our mid-to-late 20s, and the only way that we can afford a place of our own is because we’re splitting it three ways. And this isn’t because our father is a penny-pinching miser, either: it’s because there’s simply not enough money to go around.

I think this is a good example, in miniature, of our generation’s seeming inability to grow up. Secondary school is now a requirement for any young person who wants to be competitive in the shrinking job marketplace, a hurdle which was not present even a generation ago. The good news is, this makes us the most educated cohort of young Americans in our country’s history. But on the flip side, with our schooling now extending into our 20s at least, the onus of crushing financial-aid debt that many college students find themselves under at the outset of their post-college careers, and a recession-culture job market that underpays and undervalues their more-than-qualified workforce, is it any wonder that my generation appears to be floundering? That it takes us years to start families, not only because we can barely afford to take care of ourselves, but also because the rat-race to stay above the poverty line is so all-encompassing that it renders us ill-equipped, from the a time-management and emotional-growth standpoint, to even know how to carry on healthy romantic relationships?

In Neverland, it is particularly difficult to cast off the chains of childhood, due in no small part to the fact that magic is, in one form or another, part and parcel to our everyday lives. In fairy society, youth is famously a prerequisite for holding any position of power – a fact which our fairy friend Tinker Bell very vocally laments (though I dare not print her age, lest I see my own “emerging adulthood” cut tragically short). And Peter Pan, our cartoonist at the Chronicle… Okay, it’s possible he actually does have narcissistic personality disorder. But it’s equally possible that young people are simply narcissists as a matter of course, and that as our generation is forced to hold tight to the reins of perpetual adolescence, so, too, do we cling to that particular excess of youth. But fear not, people of Earth: we are not, in the final analysis, a generation of lost boys and girls. Your millennials are, in fact, growing up; It’s just that growing up isn’t what it used to be.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 12, 2014

Crow Calls

Hello, my dears! Welcome to the first installment of Crow Calls, Neverland’s very own gossip and town life column! Just don’t call it a rag… I wouldn’t wear a rag and I certainly wouldn’t write for one! Yes, dears, I have eyes and ears everywhere in this little town of ours, and believe me: There’s always something to talk about.

Let’s start with me. After all, I am fabulous. I shan’t tell you much, my dears, and especially not my name, (otherwise no one would ever tell me their secrets) but what I will tell you is this: Neverland seems like an awfully good place for a bit of crowing, and I know you’ll all share some juicy tidbits with dear old CC. I will give you a hint, though, I do spend a lot of my time at Cam’s Teapot and in the Jolly Roger Soda Shop. Both are favorite haunts of mine. (And how could a crow resist a real-live crow’s nest?)

Speaking of, has anyone been hearing the buzz over at Cam’s Teapot? Apparently this charming tea shop turns into a boozy hotspot at night. It’s a must-stop for all those Neverlandians in the know and those who want to be. I’ve been trying to get Mr. John Darling to partake with me, but he seems to be in the wind. Last I heard he had a bleach bottle in one hand and a wet wipe in the other.

And what did I overhear there just the other night? The owner of the tea shop himself invited a certain Miss Ella Jane Evans to dinner at his house… is a romance budding between the packets of Earl Grey and Fairy-Dusted Red Rose? I certainly hope so!

But then there was that weirdo conversation between Emmett and Ella about what Ella should wear on her date with Cam. Why is E.P. giving E.J.E advice on what to wear? And how does he know her wardrobe so intimately? Questions, questions.

Of course, there’s quite a bit of intrigue in the Potts family, from what I’ve heard. Cameron and brother Emmett don’t seem to always get along, nor do the brothers with their father. Then of course, there’s Emmett’s suspiciously quiet fiancé… I’ll have to keep my eye on that family. They might prove to be very interesting.

In other news, did anyone go to the Mermaid Lagoon concert the other night? Oh, who am I kidding? Everyone was there! And if you weren’t, well you missed the hottest ticket in town. I kicked up my heels to their fabulous set and got soaking wet (why did no one tell me to bring a rainslicker!) but guitarist Ansem Muirin winked and threw me his guitar pick after the show. What a cutie!

I spied with my little eye town charmer, Peter Pan, out with good friends The Darlings and that mysterious international fashionista, Lily Bagha. She does seem to sweep into town ever so dramatically, doesn’t she? They certainly looked to be having a good time… A certain W. Darling seemed to be a bit miffed though. But I really can’t blame her, the poor dear, having to be the DD for that squirrely group.

That’s all for now, dearies! I must gather whispers and put my ear to the ground once more… and to the doorknobs… and to cracks in the walls…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Crow Calls twitter
Crow Calls is the Kensington Chronicle’s stunningly fabulous Gossip/Town Life Columnist.

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Posted in Guest Columnists
Posted on June 2, 2014

A Trip to Persuasion

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 25, 2014

Bleu’s Place Must Be Clean

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 18, 2014

Mermaid Lagoon

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 16, 2014

J.M. Barrie Founder’s Day

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 9, 2014

Star Wars Day

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 4, 2014

The Neverwinter Soldier

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on April 30, 2014

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