Erica Smith: War stories and typewriters

This story originally appeared on RealTime/STL.

Erica Smith
Erica Smith
Getting to know your curator in chief.

What was your first job? Pulling weeds and hoeing rows in soybean test plots. Seed companies sponsor field days to show off corn and soybean varieties. Those corn and soybean plots look even better after high school kids have gone through (on what always seems to coincide with the hottest days of summer) and pulled all of the weeds first.

You might be surprised to know I broke my fourth-grade school’s sit-and-reach record.

I knew I wanted to be a journalist the first time I saw the presses run. I was at a small central Missouri daily paper, and it was loud and chaotic and amazing. There’s still a lot of magic to seeing news presses run.

My most interesting assignment was a World War II battle in Northwest Indiana. My journalism career started in design, and on this particular Sunday, the A1 centerpiece story (which is usually a big, planned-in-advance story) was a live, local WWII re-enactment. I have a thing for history (and military history), so I attended the re-enactment, asked a few questions and, on the way to work, stopped at the library to learn everything I could about the specific battle that was re-enacted. (Not everything was on the Internet back then.) The photos were fantastic, the research paid off, and the design was award-winning. (Really.)

I can’t stand it when tape is left behind on doors, walls or windows after a flier has been removed. Also: People who clip their fingernails at work.

For my birthday, nobody ever gets me typewriters. Not yet, at least. (I love old typewriters. The oldest in my collection: An 1896 Smith Premier.)

Random disclosures: The only time I’ve voted a straight ticket was during a high school student council election. I’m most likely to donate to organizations, events and projects that support journalism or cats. Pepsi beats Coke. I’m a Royals fan.