Proud to have played a small part in Packet history
I joined the Packet in September 1996. When I think about my time there, it’s perpetually autumn, with Clarenville and Shoal Harbour cloaked in burning golds and reds against navy blue skies and the choppy white waves of
Every town, cove, tickle, bight, sound and harbour I covered in Placentia, Trinity and Bonavista bays over the next two years stole my heart. And the people, some of the kindest and most interesting I’ve met, freely shared their stories with me, happy or sad, for better or worse.
One thing always struck me about this part of the island: behind every postcard vista and warm welcome was something of a hard edge. I think it came from living lives built on relentlessly uncertain industries in harsh conditions and landscapes – rock-hard, back-breaking, ice-cold work.
That feeling was etched into every field and cliff and bay, always reminding you that a person could be content here, but only if they were tough enough; a wonderful, inviting place that suffered no fools.
The Packet was like that too, the embodiment of your friendly community newspaper brimming with heartwarming stories about neighbours and friends, their achievements and endeavours, wins and losses.
But make no mistake – the Packet was then, and remains now, a toughminded newspaper, brave and unflinching when necessary, fair and balanced always.
I learned a lot there about resilience, courage and fairness, and I learned it the hard way from Barbara Dean-Simmons, Kathy Gosse, Anne Barker, Roz Smith, Ruby Boone and Bonnie Goodyear.
When I think of what it took for us to get the Packet into readers’ homes – from newsgathering to writing to literally delivering bundled newspapers to stores and carriers – I still wonder how we managed it, humour intact and fuelled by tea, Co-op store bread and truly terrible puns.
But we did it gladly, week after week, as “Packeteers” have been doing for 50 years now. I’m proud to have played a small part in that history.