Tim Grobaty signs books and makes conversation at an appearance on Sept. 14 at the Beverly O'Neil Theater.
Tim Grobaty signs books and makes conversation at an appearance on Sept. 14 at the Beverly O’Neil Theater.

Story and photo by Joseph Herrera/Staff writer/@josephherrera91

Delighted to make an appearance LBCC alumnus and Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist Tim Grobaty was the spotlight for the launch of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s Book Club discussing his latest book, “I’m dying here: A life in paper,” Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the Beverly O’Neill Theater.

About 150 people lined up around 5:30 p.m., holding copies written by the Long Beach native, with expectation of receiving a book signing. As the lights dimmed, Garcia welcomed Grobaty to the stage with question filled index cards. Most of the responses from Grobaty were humorous and insightful.

Grobaty, a graduate of Wilson High school, attended LBCC from 1973 to 1976, where he wrote for the Viking student newspaper. He applied at the Press-Telegram with a few credits short of graduation.

He was hired as a copyboy, used for odd jobs such as switching out ink ribbons on old typewriters, taking out the garbage and picking up the editor’s wife at the airport. He received a small compensation and ate unfinished meals thrown away from reporters. With persistence, he moved to write as a reporter, covering anything from breaking news to city events. He elevated his goal of being a writer when he was assigned to column writer for the Press-Telegram..

Garcia said, “I’ve been reading Tim Grobaty as a columnist in the Press-Telegram for as long as I’ve been in Long Beach. I’ve been in the city for little over 20 years and Tims always been part of Long Beach.”

The book intertwines an assortment of columns printed in the Press-Telegram, story inspirations and a brief commentary on the transition between printed news and the use of the Internet. It also includes a humorous column detailing Grobaty’s stay at run down motel along the desolated strip of Pacific Coast Highway. Grobaty said, “Where someone most likely will get killed”.

Grobaty hasn’t forgot about his Viking roots. A box containing copies of the book  arrived at the Viking newsroom. Journalism students expressed their gratitude to the newsroom veteran filling out a large thank-you card.

Deborah Salazar, staff writer, said, “I haven’t read it quite yet, but I am excited to. I think it’s amazing he hasn’t forgot where he came from.”

When asked how does it feel a part of Long Beach history, Grobaty said, “Its a great feeling. I feel like I’ve become a part of the city’s lore.”