Local history going the way of the dodo
This year has not been kind to some of the relics of Conception Bay North.
Several weeks ago, the Harbour Grace iconic ship, the S.S. Kyle, began to crumble.
A room above the 101-year-old vessel’s deck collapsed, leaving questions on what should happen to this piece of history.
Just last week, the former Bond Theatre on Water Street in Carbonear burned to the ground. No one was injured, but this incident weighed heavily on the minds of former moviegoers.
Stories of the Kyle and the theatre have been passed on over the years by family members and friends who were lucky enough to have experienced them in all the glory they once had.
Those who went to hunt seal on the Labrador aboard the large ship have told tales of hard work, friendship and what it meant to be a part of our fishery.
The ship may have drifted into the inlet of Harbour Grace in 1967, but the physical presence kept the stories alive as children rowed out, climbed aboard and toured it.
It is difficult now to freely walk about the ship, but Libby Earle, the daughter of its last captain, Guy Earle, swims in the ocean to touch the hull of the ship each year to keep its memory alive.
The theatre created memories for many who attended it until the late 1970s.
If you ask anyone from Carbonear over the age of 45, chances are they remember going to see a flick. Some others may also tell stories of a live performance from Hank Snow and other big names of the era.
Since the 350-seat theatre was the place to be when it was open, there are likely many untold stories that had been lost overtime.
But after the fire, parents and neighbours began to share the memories they made from attending. The unfortunate circumstance allowed some to reminisce about the past, and recall memories once forgotten.
There has been a movement in both towns, along with other places in the province, to save the historic sites, keep investing in them to keep the memories alive.
The government won’t invest, and a town council can only do so much within its budget. So how will these memories be preserved? Chances are they will continue to fade with each generation, along with cassette tapes, tube televisions and even paperback and hardcover books.
There are already those who had their own stories of the Kyle or the theatre that never had the chance to share them. And those stories are lost forever.
To keep our heritage and culture going, stories of meeting your future wife at the Bond or saving a fellow sailor from falling overboard on the Kyle must be shared.
If not, you will find the memories will no longer matter, since there will be no one left to pass them on.
— Melissa Jenkins is a reporter/photographer with The Compass newspaper in Carbonear. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org