Harla Eve

Harla Eve calls it a career

Mirror staffer spent 40 years at the newspaper, doing pretty well everything.

Some say it takes a lifetime to reach a humble level of wisdom – like Yoda or Spock. In her 40-year stint at the Sooke News Mirror, however, Harla Eve has accumulated more wisdom, and stories, than both combined.

After all, there’s a good reason why, if ever in doubt about anything Sooke-related, we often turned to her for advice or info.

But like all oracles, there’s a humble beginning; a start to their journey of knowledge. And dark humour.

Born in Comox, Eve came to Sooke when she was 10 years old after her family moved here from East Sooke.

After raising a family, she started looking around for a job, something that wouldn’t detract her from her duties towards her still-young kids, but still give her independence from the household.

The answer to that came in January of 1975 when a really good friend of hers recommended her to work at the Mirror.

For Eve though, who initially wanted to be a teacher, it just fit the bill.

“I loved what I was doing. It was three days a week, still had time to do all the cooking, cleaning, reading and mommy stuff, I was quite contented,” she said.

Then, bit by bit, her job began to evolve into several tiers of responsibilities and daily duties.

“After I began wrapping the papers then I was driving them to the post office. Following that, I was looking after sending out subscription renewals,” Eve said. “In time, I got to have a lot of responsibility there, which was something I always enjoyed having.”

She recalls working for Bud Pauls, the one-man band who was once the Mirror’s owner, editor, publisher and sales rep. At this point her duties formed into doing layout, and even some ad sales – though she says she wasn’t a big fan of the ad stuff.

Then the years passed, with the job changing again, along with the helm.

“When John Arnett bought the paper, he gave me a more behind the desk, out in the public type thing, and I got to enjoy interacting with a lot more people,” she said, adding that being in the public front lines was a bit intimidating at first, especially when it came to answering the phone.

But like all her thousand- and-a-half workload list, Eve adapted, even when all the computerized stuff had moved in to replace the paper billing side of the business. This was one of the first of many chapters of that computer mumbo jumbo she had to figure out.

“I never thought I could figure it out, but I did,” she said. “I had great help from a few folks here in Sooke with that, because I didn’t know much about computers at the time.”

Even when she least expected it, she was still learning something new about these pesky computers, 40 years on.

Since Eve began at the Mirror, there have been four owners, before Black Press, and three publishers with BP alone. She says she can’t even remember how many faces of editors and reporters she’s seen over the years.

And, like being the face of any office, it comes with its ups and downs; dealing with the nice people who walk in, the friendly ones, the lunas and the downright strange.

She recalls one time when a man walked in demanding a story to be written about his tragically-dead son, who had been killed in a car accident by drunken driver.

In Eve’s case, this was just pure bad timing overall, as this was shortly after she had also lost her son.

“The guy came into the office, he was trying to sue the other guy who was driving the car, both were drunk. He was ranting and raving, and he kept insisting to do a story on him,” she said. “I didn’t know how to handle it, I was never an editorial person, and I had just lost my own son too, so it was a pretty tough situation.”

She said it had gotten to such a point that Steve Arnett, the Mirror’s production/layout man at the time, came barrelling in to take the distressed man out of the office and calmed him down – just by simply telling him that he was yelling at someone suffering from a similar loss.

And just like Eve, the Mirror had seen its ups and downs over the years. For as many times staff rushed to her aid, she’s been the “mother” for many others who’ve lived and worked in that office. Someone who’d just be there and listen.

She recalled the moment the Mirror had downright closed its doors, after Bud Pauls, the man behind the helm at the time, had just about enough.

“Donna James, our reporter, was going to work one morning, and there were big signs on the window and the door of the Mirror office reading closed,” she said.  “She went in, phoned us and she said, ‘get down here, something’s going on with Bud.”

After coming down and removing the signs, Eve said this was a case of someone just who was just overworked, and needed some helping hands.

Eve recalled many more stories, after all, you see and experience a fair bit in 40 years, enough to not only fill a book, but a library. Even now, she looks back at those times with a mix of pride, joy, and a bit of sadness.

Not that she mulls through this stuff too much – after all, she likes to keep busy. She said she wants to get involved in community stuff like Meals on Wheels, or volunteer at the ball park concession stand.

Beyond that, she’s got plans for to go south for the winter, be in the sunshine.

Harla Eve will always be a part of the Sooke News Mirror, and remains to be an inspiring Sookie to this day.

news@sookenewsmirror.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

Turned over truck impedes traffic in Langford

Truck at the side of Millstream Road near Western Speedway

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read