Antidote to boredom
Bay Roberts native writes history of town
Every Saturday, Mike Flynn used to drop by David Russell’s printing plant on Water Street, Bay Roberts, and pick up eight or 10 editions of “ The Guardian,” the newspaper Russell edited from 1909 to 1949.
At home, Flynn would mine them for historical oddities, which he would publish in his weekly column in The Compass.
The weekly exercise revived a childhood dream.
“ When I was growing up, I heard about John Guy in Cupids and Bob Bartlett in Brigus,” Flynn says. Surely the historic town of Bay Roberts also has a history, he figures. “ I wanted people to know what went on in this town,” he adds.
Making a living
He had to make a living, so he set aside his research, entered Memorial University, earned two degrees and taught school for 32 years.
In 2006, a year after he retired and living in St. John’s, he faced the odious prospect of being bored for the rest of his life.
“ The boredom was so intense, you looked forward to the day you put your garbage out,” he says with a chuckle.
Then he remembered all the socalled “stuff ” he had gathered about Bay Roberts, beginning in the early 1980s.
Research vs. writing
Flynn’s patently aware of the major difference between research and writing.
“ When you start a book, you don’t know what you’re doing. Nothing correlates. You’re gathering for future reference,” he explains.
Availing himself of the research facilities in the capital city, he eventually crafted a manuscript.
Last week’s release of “Historic Bay Roberts: Not Your Typical Small Town” by Flanker Press marks the realization of Flynn’s childhood obsession.
He received news of the appearance of his book with a mixture of relief, deflation and nervousness.
“ What’s the encore?” he asks rhetorically. “ How many people are going to criticize me?”
Reasons for growth
Thirty years of research gives Flynn the right to express his personal convictions about the Town of Bay Roberts.
He attributes its growth to a “sense of independence and strong, entrepreneurial spirit.”
He adds that when the Water Street businesses closed, to be replaced by malls, the “ people adapted, becoming part of the new economy.”
And, he says, the town’s going to continue to grow because “commerce follows people.”
Flynn’s book was scheduled to be officially launched at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre on July 28.