Jane Golden Reilly and Stephen Eastman at a Mountain Ear reunion dinner in 2006.
The Best Things in Life are Free
“Let’s Ear it for the Mountain Ear” were the first words printed in the first edition of a paper on Memorial Day 1976 for a newspaper that would win the hearts and minds of residents and visitors to the Mt Washington Valley for the next 30 years.
R. Stephen Eastman and Jane Golden combined forces and talents to create a new publication in 1976. “A welcoming paper” is how its new publishers/editors/
jacks-of-all-trades described their vision for the paper. Both Eastman and Golden had been involved in similar enterprises and brought a great deal of experience to their new posts.
Golden had been the editor of the Sunshine Times for a year and a half in 1976 and Eastman had been editor of the Irregular newspaper since 1974. Their partnership evolved from a series of coincidences or as they put it, “Simply being in the right place at the right time.” Eastman was in the process of resigning from the Irregular and the owners of the Sunshine Times (Reporter Press) decided to stop publishing the paper where Golden worked.
The two met, shook hands, and decided to put out a paper on their own. In the beginning, the Mountain Ear was only published weekly during the peak summer and winter seasons and bi-weekly the rest of the year.
Editorially, the strengths of both papers would be combined - a paper that would cover local news and events as well as informing residents and visitors of the culture and entertainment in the valley. “A paper that visitors and residents can equally call their own.”
Both Jane and Steve were familiar faces in the area. Steve came to the Valley after attending Plymouth State College and served as editor of the Franklin County Times in Wilton, Maine. Jane was a UMass graduate who had lived in the area since 1971 and had been active in community affairs, sports, and politics.
As far as their working partnership goes, Jane or “Mother Earth” as she was frequently called, said, “Steve’s a Cancer, I’m a Scorpio and as anyone can tell you, that means a good working relationship.”
Golden sold her interest in the Mountain Ear in April 1978 to relocate to New York City, where she met and married her husband shortly after arriving and now works as Executive Director of the Overseas Press Club Foundation.
Eastman and his wife Sarah sold the paper in 2005. Three months later, he was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away in April of 2008. His legacy continues on with all the writers and other staff who were proud to work for him and remember him fondly, and, of course, through the (almost) 30 years of quality writing about this valley, its history, and its people featured in the pages of the Mountain Ear.