My understanding from the former owners is that they loaned out the sole remaining copy of the first Gabber – then called Gulfport Gabber – and never got it back. No disrespect to Ken Reichart’s of-the-moment filing habits, but when Barry and I purchased The Gabber two years ago, one of the first things we did was go searching for that first Gabber. When I say we, I mean we brought 52 boxes (one for each year) to my parents’ house in Clearwater, where my mom did the heavy lifting. The former owners – and presumably the two owners before them – tossed a copy each week into a banker box, but after years of people rifling through them looking for an article from two years ago (even though the internet’s been around a minute, articles didn’t appear online until roughly 10 years ago), they were in complete disarray.
Enter my mom, who, bless her almost manic organizing skills, sorted each year by date and bundled them together with string, noting which issues she couldn’t find. What once overflowed out of 52 boxes now fits into an orderly 21.
Alas, there was no first Gabber – or any Gulfport Gabbers from 1968 or the first few month of 1969 at all. Concerning, but since I knew the library has bound copies of every year through 2007, I didn’t get too upset.
What did upset me was when, a few months ago, I wanted to place my hands on one of those first Gabbers, the spot on the shelf where it should have been was empty. Dave Mather, one of the best things to happen to the library, searched the library top to bottom, but he and his staff couldn’t find the book of Gabbers.
Unless someone out there has that book, which includes our first issue in 1968, our community has lost a historic document.
And so now we turn to you, our readers, to help us. The small book with a brown/beige cover, embossed with our name on the spine, has to be somewhere. I don’t know how it left the library – it’s not a book one can check out – and I don’t care. Those issues are a vital part of Gulfport’s history, and they exist nowhere else other than that book.
If you can return that book, either to the library or to The Gabber, we have a cash reward for you. You can drop the book at the library, or bring it to The Gabber during business hours and we’ll bring it to the library. If you have it and can’t get it to either place, call us and we’ll come get it.
Thank you for your help.