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

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read