As I dig through old news clippings from the Flour Bluff Sun to research our local history, I am reminded of how much I loved that little paper. Marie Speer, owner and publisher, gave us something to anticipate every Friday. Whose picture would make the cover? What tidbit of Flour Bluff history would she include? Who made the all-star team? What community events were coming up? What new business opened in the Bluff? Who was born or married? Who died? What battle would surface in the letters to the editor? Not until Marie’s staff rolled each paper, bound it with a rubber band, and tossed it onto the lawn would these questions be answered. When we lost the Flour Bluff Sun, we not only lost the news of the day, we lost a print record of our community’s history. I am still in search of past editions of the Sun and of an earlier newspaper called The Flour Bluff Reporter, which was owned and published by Bill Smith.
Jeff Craft, owner and publisher of the Flour Bluff Messenger, tried to revive the old spirit of truly local news, but sadly he had to give it up. I am grateful for his efforts and for the opportunity to submit articles to it. I am especially grateful to have hard copies in hand. There is nothing like sipping a cup of coffee while reading a real hometown newspaper on real newsprint. This is always done with a pair of scissors nearby in case I need to clip something out of the paper, articles or pictures that I will post on the fridge, share with a friend or family member, or tuck away in a box or book for safekeeping. Maybe one day one of my great grandchildren will stumble across a news article I saved about his mom or dad or the community in which they lived. Yes, print newspapers are not a thing of the past; they are evidence of the past.
Once again, residents of Flour Bluff, Padre Island, NAS-CC, and parts of South Side will have the chance to keep a piece of history for future generations. Ron Henne, who owns and publishes The Saltwater Angler Magazine, and a few of his friends have taken on the task of creating a print newspaper for the folks in our community, one that merges the old with the new but highlights what matters to all of us. The first edition will be available December 1, 2017. I have done a little writing and editing for this new publication, too, and I pray it will make it because I really miss having a hometown newspaper.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Flour Bluff, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer a glimpse into the past and present of the little community of Flour Bluff. She wrote for The Flour Bluff Messenger, wrote and edited for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper that existed from December 2017 to April 2020, served as copy editor on three books, and continues to tutor students of all ages in the lively art of writing.