THE TIRED CLICHE about all good things coming to an end has unfortunately become reality, as a 20-year weekly feature in The News ended its publication cycle recently. Joyce Swan, upon the occasion of her 70th birthday, called in mid-May to say that she had decided to end her "incredibly rich experience" with her column and had just written the final one for May 22 publication.
Nothing we said could deter Joyce from her decision, and so her delightful letters from the country are now part of News history. She has agreed, however, to do occasional pieces in the future. We know her readers always will be receptive.
The Westfield resident brought to the pages of this metropolitan newspaper a special touch that is most difficult to find today. She painted so well the rural vignettes, giving us the pleasure of experiencing through her eyes a lifestyle urbanites don't often see.
"I have come out with a reservoir of friends of gardening, herbs, history, restoration, crafts, small towns, writing, farming and many other interests," Joyce wrote in her final column, summing up the topics that dominated so many of her columns.
The column, she wrote, "has been husband, lover, child, neighbor, teacher, critic, friend." To those of us who looked forward to her Monday efforts through the years, Joyce indeed has been a friend, a word artist of unusual talent and dedication to the rural life.
The Monday slot on the comic page occupied so long and so well by Joyce Swan will be filled with the Mike Royko column. Royko's work appears three times weekly in the Sunrise Edition, and those who have requested to see his work in the afternoon editions now will be able to read his always-interesting efforts on Mondays.
'Bloom County' ends Aug. 6
In a surprise move that stunned the newspaper industry, Berke Breathed, who draws the highly popular "Bloom County" comic strip, announced recently that he will discontinue doing the daily and Sunday strip, effective Aug. 6.
"Bloom County" has appeared in the Sunrise Edition of The News since the morning edition was started in 1982, and we also have published it in our Sunday color comics.
At the peak of its popularity, "Bloom County" appears in about 800 daily and college newspapers and is one of the most successful cartoon strips in the country. Breathed, who promises to introduce a new Sunday-only strip in September, gave as his reason for terminating "Bloom County":
"A good comic strip is no more eternal than a ripe melon. The ugly truth is that in most cases comics age less gracefully than their creators. 'Bloom County' is retiring before the stretch marks show."
Replacing "Bloom County" in the Sunrise Edition will be "Curtis," a relatively new cartoon strip that has been catching on well throughout the country.
Weather report addition
A new graphic element will make its appearance this week in the Weather Report, which appears seven days a week in The News on Page A2. It will give readers an opportunity to see the extended weather outlook in a four-segmented graphic containing the forecast and the predicted highs and lows for the four days.
Extended outlooks are certainly not as accurate as 48-hour forecasts, but they are important considerations in planning by many people. The new element in the Weather Report will supplement, not supplant, existing material. Tighter editing of several elements will clear the needed space.