Your community paper turns 139

Dick and Eunice Bowerman of South Baymouth pour over their Expositor on a Wednesday afternoon.

For Dick and Eunice Bowerman, Wednesday is ‘Expositor day’

SOUTH BAYMOUTH—It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work that you do, especially when that appreciation arrives in the form of a delicious home-baked cake for the staff of Northern Ontario’s oldest  newspaper.

Dick Bowerman recently stopped by the Little Current office of The Expositor to deliver a delectable ‘blueberry boy bait’ cake carefully crafted following the exacting specifications of his wife Eunice’s very own recipe. “It’s just a little token of appreciation,” he said. Seems he and his wife Eunice are avid readers of The Expositor.

Dick and Eunice Bowerman are noted for their inseparable ways, when Dick shows up Eunice is usually not very far behind, or vice versa, and it’s been that way for most of the 59 years of their marriage, but Dick was flying solo when he came through The Expositor doors bearing the couple’s present. Eunice herself had an appointment at the hospital.

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As for the cake her husband dropped off, “Dick baked the cake,” said Eunice. “He has been doing a lot of baking lately.”

Asked how long she has been reading the newspaper, Eunice responds “all of my life, and that is a long time.” Just never you mind exactly how long that is.

“We know what day of the week it is,” said Eunice, referencing Wednesday, the day the paper normally arrives in their mailbox. She said that she and her husband read the paper “pretty much from front to back.”

Dick claims to be a bit more selective in his reading. “It’s mostly just the stories that interest me, especially the real estate ads and the obituaries. I check the obituaries to make sure I am not in them,” he laughs.

One day Dick got a bit of a shock when he spotted a death notice for a Richard Bowerman. “It was another Richard Bowerman,” laughs Eunice. Anyone meeting the couple quickly comes to realize that laughter makes up a big part of their lives.

Dick makes reading the paper something of a game. “I used to work for the department of Agriculture,” he said, “so I really got around the Island quite a bit. I look at the photographs in the real estate ads and try to figure out where the house is.”

Dick explains that the paper also helps the couple keep in touch with the many people they both know across Manitoulin. “I was born in South Baymouth, but we moved to Tehkummah shortly after,” he said, going on to explain that his wife Eunice was born in Tehkummah.

“My mother was a teacher and I would go to Manitowaning with her,” he said. When his mother later began teaching in Little Current, he went there with her as well. “I got to know all of the students in Little Current,” he said. Eunice, meanwhile, was going to school in Mindemoya, so she became friends with a lot of the children in that school.

The couple ran Happy Acres Resort just outside South Baymouth for many years where they met people from all across the world.

These days the couple regularly attend church in Manitowaning.

“So we have a lot of friends all across the Island,” said Dick, “the paper helps us keep track of everyone.”

“Back in the old days, nobody really left the Island,” noted Dick. “Everybody stayed in those days.”

Dick and Eunice said that they found The Expositor to be “so much different than other newspapers. They have the whole Island covered.”

“We really enjoyed the story at Christmas about the Amish people on Manitoulin,” said Eunice. “It was nice to read about them, they are really nice people.”

The couple met Mahlor and Ruth Streicher, an Amish couple referenced in the story, when the Bowerman’s were out for a walk.

“I saw this horse and buggy coming up the road after leaving the Shell station,” recalled Dick. “I stopped them and asked what kind of gas they got. They answered ‘Oh, Supreme of course.” From that moment on the couples became fast friends.

“They have such wonderful senses of humour,” said Eunice. “They were over one day and Mahlor spotted a photograph of a horse and buggy that we had given my mother on the wall. He went up to take a closer look and said ‘oh, that’s grandpa!’ You might not think it because of the way they dress (the Amish tend to wear sombre clothing as a bulwark against falling into overweening pride), but they have a great sense of humour.”

Dick noted that he has found that there are a lot of people who may seem to be stand-offish or distant, but when you take the effort to reach out you can find a new friend. “I find a lot of Native people can be like that,” he said. “Once you start up a conversation with them you find out they aren’t like that at all.”

Bridges between communities and communication is something The Expositor has always strived to build, so being recognized for our efforts by folks like Dick and Eunice Bowerman is even more gratifying than a slice of the blueberry boy bait cake Dick baked. “I think it works pretty good for girls too,” laughed Eunice.

You will get no argument from us.

The first edition of The Expositor hit newsstands on May 24, 1879 and the paper has strived since that day to bring “all the news that’s fit to print” ever since. To Dick and Eunice and all of our other readers and advertisers near and far on the occasion of the first edition of our 140th year of production, thank you for your ongoing loyalty and we will strive to continue to “cover the Island like the dew” and bring you all of the local news that keeps you coming back to these pages.