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From the Vanguard: Saying thanks and goodbye to Alain Meuse

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YARMOUTH, N.S. –  A friend to our newspaper died over the weekend.

Alain Meuse served as editor of the Yarmouth Vanguard from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. He was also a long-standing editor of a fisheries publication we used to produce called The Sou’Wester.

In more recent years you could chuckle about the golf escapades of he and his buddies – while reading information about events at the Yarmouth Links – in his Musings from the Yarmouth Links column. He often didn’t beat around the bush. “Two weeks out from July and I’d been wearing four layers of clothing on my gradually eroding torso. Yep, it was a rotten spring. What else can you say?” he wrote in one column.

His obituary refers to him as Allen, but in the newspaper he always went by Alain – the same way my dad spells his name, which is how we knew him.

Alain Meuse writing for the Yarmouth Vanguard back in the 1970s, when he also edited the newspaper.

Alain’s newspaper days go back to when our industry did things by typeset and cut and paste and photographs came to life in black and white darkrooms. He, like another former Yarmouth Vanguard editor Fred A. Hatfield, put out newspapers, and reported on stories, decades ago when things were harder – there was no email, no Facebook, no Twitter. No cellphones, no Smart Phones. There were typewriters instead of laptops. Clunky page negatives that made their way to loud, rumbling presses.

It’s hard for us in our newsroom to believe that both Fred (who died in October 2015) and Alain are gone. As the saying goes, they taught many of us the ropes.

Fast forward to the present age of computers. In the early days when Alain started sending in his columns to us by email he’d always follow up with a phone call to check to see if we had received what he had sent. Sometimes we had, other times he’d have to try again. He was still meandering his way through technology and wasn’t afraid to admit that sometimes it got the better of him.

Those of us who knew Alain learned early on that it was probably best not to attend an event with him where laughing would be considered inappropriate. That’s because you were hard-pressed to get through any conversation with Alain without laughing.

It’s just the way it was.

I will always remember the way Alain always used to greet me whenever I walked into a room where he was, or a meeting that both he and I would be covering.

“Hey kiddo,” he’d always say. It always seemed fitting as it felt like it was one newspaper generation passing the torch onto the next one – well, maybe not completely passing the torch, but rather sharing it. When I took over as editor of the Sou’Wester after Alain retired from that position, I felt like I had big rubber boots to fill. He was an authority on fishing and he had the respect of the fishermen. I could only hope some of that would rub off on me.

Alain never stopped writing. His obituary refers to him as having written articles for the Navigator fisheries publication up until the week he died.

He was 75 when he passed away on Aug. 5.

In recent years, whenever Alain did email or call, he’d always ask how we were doing in the newsroom and how newspaper life in general was treating us. He’d also comment on how much things had changed over the years. He never got to see the latest change as our newspaper hits the newsstands on Aug. 9, having reverted back to a broadsheet, with its larger, longer pages like we used to produce back in the day. That’s a shame. It would have been nice to hear his thoughts.

Even though he was long retired from our offices at 2 Second St., it always felt like Alain was still part of the Vanguard. And so we say thanks to Alain for all of his contributions to the newspaper industry in our region.

We’ll miss him.

 

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