About Road Trips
If everything old is eventually new again, it is truly a sense of back to the future with the rebirth and archival of these articles. The Road Trip pieces were not written as full scale area narratives, and should not be seen as such.
They were simply, what I called, “Portraits in Time,” painted by area residents. It is those residents and their stories that brought these pieces to life.
While I served as the writer, the work was not completed without the support of area advertisers and a staff that  formatted and delivered them to the doorsteps of Arkansas residents. In 2000-2001, we had a sales force that worked hard to promote these pieces and they meet with success. For that, we were grateful.
When these articles published, they were always accompanied by the picture of a map and a star, generated by one of our graphic artists. It made for a familiar sight, in a newspaper section that readers loved. To what extent the audience keep up with our adventures, we were not certain. We had only the occasional letter of thanks.
It was a pleasure to highlight the individuals in each piece. I extend my thanks to Jeff and Betsy, who have worked so hard to archive their stories, and to area radio and outside media for their support. Mostly, though, to Estel Jeffries, who served as the director of my news section. Amidst an influx of editors, he made this project a reality.
The articles were not only published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, but were later considered for use in a pilot television program. Because time was quite limited, the project was put on hold. Later, the articles were considered for publication in a grant initiative with the Arkansas Historical Society.
It is only now, that they have finally found a more permanent home, in conjunction with the USGENWEB project. They are listed here for the sake of those interviewed, that their stories may be heard.
When I think of these articles, I’m reminded most of a John Mellencamp tune, Cherrybomb.
“That's when a sport was a sport. And groovin' was groovin'.
And dancin' meant everything. We were young and we were improvin.'”
I like to think that we certainly were.
While writing this series of articles, I received report of a memo from the main editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, which was cc’d to Walter Hussman, the publisher.

It referenced my work on one particular story—a girl who had overcome adversity.

In not so many words, the memo stated—while there might be more talented writers or significant news pieces, no one seems to generate as much interest.

That interest was the result of so many amazing residents and their often heartwarming and humorous reflections. To all of them, I extend a very warm thank you.
About Tracy Crain
Tracy L. Crain was born while her parents were vacationing in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She remained there for 10 days, before her parents brought her home to the Little Rock Air Force Base, where they resided (Jacksonville). Although she has moved away a few times, she has always returned and lives in Little Rock today.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), she’s earned a bachelor's degree in English and Journalism (Writing Track), as well as a master's degree in Journalism, (Online Technology).
While pursuing her master’s degree, Crain worked for Dr. Lee Colwell, former director of the FBI. From there, she completed post graduate work in the Ph.D. doctoral program at Memphis State in Psychology and Research, receiving distinction teaching nursing majors.

She has worked in a variety of capacities, often holding two to three positions at one time. Most notably, as a half-time writing instructor appointment at UALR and an adjunct professor position at a number of universities.

Her first article was published by Magie Enterprises (Stephens Media Group) and ran in five publications throughout Pulaski and Lonoke Counties. As she worked on her journalism career, she also worked for Signal Media20as a radio copywriter/board operator.

Upon graduation, Crain went to work in advertising and began a relationship with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, where she served as a writer and photographer for more than eight and a half years. She continues to serve as a freelance writer for newspapers in Arkansas and Oklahoma in addition to working full-time for an advertising agency, where she has won two awards for radio copywriting with the help of an exceptional marketing team.

Crain has been recognized as a delta writer, winning distinction in poetry at events such as the Arkansas State Delta Blues Symposium in Jonesboro and writing professors from Harvard. A distinguished graduate of UALR and a scholarship award recipient of Memphis State, she started her career in the press room of a small=2 0town newspaper. That career was further expanded and enhanced by radio in the greater Little Rock area.

She has one son, Trey, who was born in Little Rock. In her free time, she serves as a volunteer with area little league baseball teams.

These articles have been edited and republished for the sole use of the USGENWEB project. No portion or representation of the works, the interviews contained within them, or the content presented may be utilized in any capacity without the written consent of the author, Tracy Crain.