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Courtesy of Special Collections

Classifieds by Ed Hopkins

Ed Hopkins is a former Retriever General Manager, Business Manager, Receptionist and Cartoonist. Class of ’96.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite from the many stories of my days at The Retriever. So many happened off the pages, like the sabotage of our production computers by a disgruntled former general manager. Some were infamous, like the plagiarism of a Tony Kornheiser column by one of our more devious writers. Some were triumphal, like the state law criminalizing theft of free newspapers in response to a mass confiscation of our own beloved fish-wrapper. But the best story written by me and printed in the paper happened during my stint as general manager.

As the fall of 1994 was winding down, one Linda Wolf came in to place a classified ad. Her daughter Jennifer had been in a serious auto accident at Wilkens and Hilltop. She’d survived thanks in part to the first aid rendered by a UMBC student named Ryan. The family had been unable to locate Ryan and hoped a Retriever ad would do the trick. The 10-line ad would have put a cool $2.50 into our coffers, but I suggested a front-page story instead.

I interviewed the daughter to get all the details she remembered from the encounter. We couldn’t arrange a photo, so we ran a shot of the damaged car provided by the mother. When the story ran, on Dec. 13, 1994, one of our sharper readers decided to tease her classmate, named Ryan Miller, by suggesting the article was about him.

And of course, it was. So the Wolfs got to thank their hero and I got to write a happy follow up for the Feb. 21st issue. I can still remember pleading and cajoling Ryan to allow his photo to be taken for the story. He finally consented, but, in true Retriever fashion, the photographer flaked and we had to re-run the smashed car pic. Nevertheless, it was a great memory. And Jennifer and Ryan — they’re now married. (Not to each other, mind you, but that’s still nice for them, right?)