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The Budgeter and the Budgeteer

I am one of the native Duluthians who have called this newspaper “The Budgeter” all my life. I know that it is spelled “Budgeteer” and learned in last Sunday’s (May 14) edition about the history of Mr. Palmer’s newspaper and its name change from “Budgeter” to “Budgeteer” when I was a year old. Somehow, the new pronunciation went right past me.

The Budgeteer has been around a long time. Before the internet, and before smartphones, the Budgeteer was the main news and information source for many people, especially those who didn’t have radios, televisions, or subscribe to the newspaper. Mr. Palmer was an innovative print media hero and the Budgeteer’s role in the growth and shaping of this region has been significant.

From the time I was old enough to bring the paper in from the front door, it seemed that everybody I knew read the Budgeteer’s news articles, editorial page, advertisements and want ads; everybody looked through the grocery coupons every week. People bought, sold and gave away furniture, clothing, firewood, cars, produce. I knew people who found jobs and work through the Budgeteer want ads. People who ordered their wedding invitations from the Budgeter office in West Duluth were treated like valued and respected neighbors and the importance of their visit was acknowledged as special, indeed.

As a child I marveled (we LeGarde kids, and our mother and dad, were always marveling at the great things in the world) at all this being available for free. My dad explained about stores and businesses who paid to advertise in the Budgeteer, that people might then buy things at those stores, and that was how they paid for the advertising and paid the people who worked for them. So, they paid and whether we bought anything or not we got to read the paper for free? What a deal!

Now, about the pronunciation of the name of this fine, free-for-everyone weekly newspaper: Not everyone says it the way I do (“Budgeter”), but respecting each other’s differences can go a long ways towards a peaceful world. My own mother-in-law, who moved to the West End (now Lincoln Park) in the mid-1960s was the first person I heard say “Budgeteer.” It sounded so foreign, so East End, but then she had been born and raised in Minneapolis and so was something of a big city girl, I supposed. Keeping that in mind, and after blinking a little the first few times she did that, I got used to her cosmopolitan ways of expressing herself.

Over time the somewhat high-toned (to me) “Budgeteeeeer” has crept into broader use. Where I work, at the University of Minnesota Duluth, almost everyone uses that pronunciation. I always say “Budgeter,” even at work. However, every once in awhile I will hear a West Ender/Lincoln Parker say “Budgeteeeeeer.” Perhaps this has been my mother-in-law’s influence from when she lived on West Third Street and 24th Avenue.

Times change, and news media adapts to, and often leads, those changes. Today, living in this age of nearly instant communication and information, we have access to news and advertising all the time that is so fast, and grows even as we read it. With changes in communication comes change in Duluth’s print media: the Budgeteer will become an all-advertising shopper and two weeklies, the Eastern Observer and the Western Weekly, will provide the local news and interest features.

It has been an honor to write for the Budgeteer (“Budgeter”) and I look forward to the new weekly local interest papers.

Here in Onigamiising, just for the fun of re-living my mother asking me to look out the front door to see if the Budgeteer had come yet, I will ask my grandson to go check the mailbox for the Western Weekly.

Linda LeGarde Grover's book, The Sky Watched: Poems of Ojibwe Lives, received the 29th annual Northern Minnesota Book Award for poetry on May 18.

Linda Legarde Grover

Monthly columnist Linda LeGarde Grover is a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, an award-winning writer and a member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.