Writing for a newspaper — having your words and name appear in print — provides a special kind of thrill not easily matched. I made my first attempt to write for a newspaper at age 12 when a movie (long forgotten) about the newspaper business inspired me and my best friend, Hughes, to start our own. We called it The Mainliner after the area in which we lived outside of Philadelphia.

It lasted exactly one night and a half-page of laboriously written copy typed on a shiny black Underwood typewriter. Despite our short-lived careers, I clearly remember the snap-crack sound of the keys banging against the red and black ribbon, the smack of the keys against the paper and the bell dinging brightly at the end of each line. It was a magical sound. And it planted the rhythm and allure of writing in my soul.

Ten years later I was the tennis professional at the West Chop Club, having just finished my sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania, and was asked if I were interested in writing the weekly West Chop column for the Vineyard Gazette. I eagerly said, “Yes,” and so began 54 years of off-and-on writing for, at that time, the Island’s only newspaper.

Back then, the column consisted mainly of who and when summer visitors arrived at the Chop — “Mr. and Mrs. X have arrived from their home in Westfield, CT, with their twin daughters Susan and Beverly. Both girls are juniors at Yale and look forward to getting on the tennis courts.”

Those kinds of details are not so prevalent today as it’s not a good idea to say that you have left your mainland home empty for three weeks.

One of my tennis pupils was an earnest, but shy, red-headed girl named Murray Nelson. I always announced her arrival on court by saying, ”And here’s MUR-ray NELLLL-son!” which always made her smile and helped build her enthusiasm for coming to the afternoon clinics.

She and her mother were staying in a house down the private dirt road on the Chop. In the woods in the back was a small shed with a desk and chair that Murray’s mother said I could use as a writing shack. There I set up my Smith-Corona, arranged my books in a small, portable bookshelf and typed up my columns while continuing to ply away at writing poetry in which I was minoring at Penn. It fulfilled perfectly my romantic vision of the solitary writer sitting in his forested retreat and putting down on paper words that will actually be read by someone other than himself.

The best part of writing the column was going to the Gazette offices in Edgartown. There I handed my copy into the managing editor Phyllis Meras, going by the office of legendary editor Henry Beetle Hough who I could see sitting at his desk writing or editing copy. On the way out I would stop by the presses and watch the miracle of the newspaper coming into being.

Back then linotype machines were still being used. I would stand behind the linotype operator and watch him type beneath a monstrous Rube Goldberg machine that towered over him. As he typed I could hear the clicking of gears and whirring of wheels as a lead ingot that hung from a heavy metal hook like a large salami haltingly descend into a meat-grinder-like funnel where I could hear the cutting, chinking creation of each individual letter that was then slid into a frame to create a line of type. I couldn’t get enough of that mysterious process.

My first job out of college that didn’t involve a racket sport was at the weekly Suburban and Wayne Times in Wayne, Pa, circulation 12,000. I still remember the managing editor, a heavyset man with a dark mustache and a name straight out of Dickens. He wasn’t a Fezziwig, though, he was a Butterwick.

My first assignment from Bob Butterwick was to interview people coming out of the A&P market and ask if they approved of President Gerald Ford’s recent pardoning of the disgraced Richard Nixon. I used a Polaroid camera to take head shots which later appeared on the newspaper’s front page along with my first-ever professional story and byline. I took one look at that front page and was hooked on print for life.

And a life in print it was with a decades-long career writing and editing for golf and tennis magazines. Later, when I moved to the Vineyard full time I settled into a real estate career. But the need for connection through the printed word remains for me stronger than ever. And the writing that I am doing now, in pieces like this one — telling my stories, not someone else’s —fills me with a satisfaction that is hard to describe.

The only thing that matches that feeling is when someone mentions they have enjoyed one of my columns. Connection made. Thrill delivered. Now repeat.

David Lott owns Vineyard Open House Real Estate. He lives in Vineyard Haven.