| NEWSLETTER May 2010
The lunch/fashion show at the Yacht Club on 22nd April last was a grand event. A large thanks to Clarice Granger and Joan Clarke for the organization and to Beryl Strachan (pictured left) and her team including our BHS Volunteers for the modelling and to Donna Knowles and staff of Yacht Club for an excellent meal and service. Thanks also to Lorraine Lightbourn (announcing) and Dr Gail Saunders, June Maura and Dr Vernell Allen for door and raffle prizes.
And thanks to all who supported the venture. Including the raffle the profit so far is $2381.
Our June talk: Thursday 24th June at 6pm – Alpheus Finlayson – From Vancouver to Athens: 50 years of Track and Field
Annual General Meeting held 29th April
Officers of the Society elected for the year 2010 - 2011
* The Management Committee includes the Officers and Trustees as well as those named.
Reminder: All membership fees are now due for the year 2010 to 2011. Thanks to those members who have renewed.
I am honoured to serve for another year
Jim Lawlor, President.
I have had wonderful responses to my newsletters and many have said that they bring back nostalgic memories. The two recent ones on the silk cotton trees and the Palm Trees on Victoria Avenue brought out the memories of long ago.
I have used some excerpts from an e mail I received from Rosalie Symonette living in the USA now:
I certainly walked, rode bikes, or even drove a car, from Bay St. to Shirley Street, on Victoria Avenue...many times. It was definitely my route when I worked at the Stop-N-Shop, to and from home. Victoria Avenue was a pretty street, with those Palm trees. I remember people who lived there.
I think the Esfaskis family lived on Victoria Avenue. I also think that from Victoria Avenue, you turn onto Dowdswell Street (Middle Road) as we sometimes called it, going east... Union St., which was later re-named something else (Elizabeth Avenue), was also a through street, but always seemed a little bit longer to me. Effie Eldon/James and family lived there once.
Trying to remember the through Streets from Bay to Shirley: First one (started at Hawkins Hill and went to Bay St., Name(?), then Christie St. where Redith/Naomi Malone and fam. lived, then Deveaugh St., remember that well. In fact, at one time, Percy/Violet and family lived in a house on the corner of Deveaugh and Shirley Sts., next Victoria Avenue, Union St., Charlotte St., Frederick Street.
On Charlotte Street there stands a school, Old Q.C.
Old Papa Dyer wrote that song. I can see him now playing the piano (mouth open, drooling) while we sang that in School....
Some of you might remember that I was known for riding my bike, everywhere. I have always liked to GO, anywhere that I could (still wish I could). I also remember our School magazine THE MAGPIE. Wish I had saved some copies... In one issue they were writing about favourite pastimes: My favourite pastime was listed as: Riding to the Four Winds. Last time I was in Nassau, I went with Anthony to deliver something to someone (name I can't remember). He said: I remember you, you were all over the place on a bicycle. I said: That's me. Joke: when I got my first bike, very young, I came home from school, ready to go riding, to find that brother Sid, got home before me and had already gone off on it. No comment! I was not happy.
One of my favourite memories from Q.C. was, in Form VI, last two years, a drama teacher, Mrs. MacBeth, helped us to put on an Operetta (Starflower) and several plays. Right up my alley!! The school hall was not big enough, so we used the big hall at the Kirk Church. Those were my fun days from school.
Only got one prize - English Language. I was interested in the fun things. I never even got to be a Prefect at school - the team of male and female students, who manned the entrances from Charlotte St., etc. to report latecomers, whose names were then reported to the head office. Think maybe Anthony and Godfrey got to do that. I remember Emma and her helper, who used to bring in the big baskets of Guava tarts, and cheese tarts, and other goodies, for us to buy at lunch time? I loved those Guava tarts! Also do you remember the janitor? Tallest black fellow I had ever seen - with a little hat on the top of his head!!.
I remember Percy in Form VI. Old Papa Dyer was teaching a Geography lesson, and was talking about time zones, over the world. Mentioning one, he said "And what time is it, Percival" Percy looked at his watch and told him the time at that moment (not the Geog. question) - we laughed. Percy was sitting on edge, ready to take off when the bell rang. I reminded him of that once - he said: Yes I needed to get out of there and get to my job at Eleuthera Ltd.
In fact: my first job after Q.C. was with E.D. Sassoon Banking Company, which was built on Shirley Street, between Union St. and Victoria Avenue. Sir Victor Sasoon's private home, which was a part of the scope of the property, faced onto Victoria Avenue. I actually looked this up, on the Net the other day and did some reading on it. Guess what happened on my first day on that job!!! It was my first job after Q.C., when I showed up for work the first Mon. in January, three fellows and one girl, from my graduating class at Q.C. showed up also - neither of us knew that the others had applied to work there. Several of the staff were from Scotland or England.....so we had tea every morning and afternoon.
The IODE I remember. Seems that they had a canteen, on Bay Street, where they might have had refreshments, etc. for the servicemen during the war. Anyway, Nassau was overrun with sevicemen from all over the world. We had the Royal Air Force, Americans, Canadians, and some others. We got to know some of them, who showed up at our church.
Many of the young girls married and ended up in England or other countries. Of course they were invited into homes for meals, etc
Thanks for the pictures. I think that Victoria is still sitting there in the square. "Auntie Vickie" the old black people used to call her.
Don't have time to get into this now, but do you remember when the Duke of Windsor and his wife Wallis Simpson arrived in Nassau - when he abdicated and became our governor? I remember the day he arrived.....You have never seen crowds like that in your life!!! I think everybody who could walk was in Rawson Square! They were climbing up into the trees and onto everything in site. My mother was pushing Sid and myself, trying to get us to see them. Of course they arrived by boat at Rawson Square and walked over to a position there at the square with the house of assembly.
I have lots of stories from the past....actually from when I was age 5, and we lived on beautiful Cable Beach, the property that in later years was owned by Sir Harry Oakes. My Dad was caretaker, and we lived on that property in the summertime, every year.
Well, I must get back to what is necessary, tonight, down here in Homestead Fla. I love it, but who would ever have thought that I would end up down here, alone, with no family around!!
Thanks Rosalie for those nostalgic memories.
Nostalgic Memories (cont'd)
Dear Jim -
From Joan Lightbourn
This excerpt from your latest newsletter refers to Emma, the employee who used to sell guava tarts from my great-grandfather John Henry Bethel, Jr's bakery on Marlborough St., where the Pirate Museum is now. He was also the Port Officer at the time. Bethel's Bakery was later run by his 4 maiden daughters (my great aunts): Marion was the one who stayed behind to run the bakery; Laura and Florrie (Florence) were teachers at QC; and Eunice worked at the Royal Bank on Bay St. The three ladies who worked outside the bakery would mix cake batters, bread dough, and pastry before leaving for work. All QC students of that era fondly remember Laura, Florrie, and Emma and the guava tarts. I wish I had the recipe!
From Dr Vernell Allen
I found the nostalgia fascinating and it brought back memories of my high school days at the "old" Government High School which was then located at Nassau Court across fromthe Britsh Colonial Hotel . Our family home in the early years was near Wulff Road, a stone's throw from St. Barnabas Anglican Church and I rode a bicycle from home to GHS, returned home at approx. 2pm to change into sports clothes and then rode to either Clifford Park for softball or the Priory for basketball. I was a lousy player at both softball and basketball and would love to blame it on my bicycle rides except that many of the better players also rode bicycles to homes in the east near St.Matthews or walked from Dowdeswell Street as mentioned re Lady Turnquestand Lady Isaacs
On the plus side the daily cycling kept me so trim that when I left the Bahamas to enter medical school my weight was approx 110lbs with a height of 5ft 6.....Oh how I yearn......!!
And Skeebo was certain that Juliette (Walker) Barnwell daughter of Dr C R Walker gave a presentation to the Duchess...and i have word back that Juliette gave a poem and has a photo she would like to share with us when her computer comes back to life.
I went back to my research and found a description of the welcome of the Duke of Windsor
Tribune 24th August 1940 – Duke gives timely advice..Stresses importance of hardy pursuits…Cheered by Thousands of citizens…estimated at 20,000 at Clifford Park given a rousing welcome.
For an hour before the time fixed for the demonstration the main thoroughfares leading to the park were congested with marching “troops”, scouts, friendly societies bearing colourful banners, motor vehicles, horse drawn cabs, bicycles and pedestrians. All life seemed to be converging on one spot, and while this huge crowd made an imposing spectacle along the hillsides and hanging over the battlements of Fort Charlotte…huge crowd could be accommodated at this popular and historic rendezvous with plenty room to spare.
Taking part - Guard of Honour composed of: Bahamas Police Force under Major Lancaster, MC MBE,
Home Defence Force under Lt. Robert Brice, Board of Education & Catholic Free Schools.
Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Friendly Societies.
On the platform: senior officials and leaders of the political, social and commercial thought of the Colony. …
interesting feature: the entire arrangements of the demonstration were in the hands of the working people and their representatives sponsored by the Central Committee of the South and associated bodies from the East…..The presiding genius was Dr C R Walker, Mr Charles Rhodriquez, President of the Labour Union.
On arrival at the park the Duke and Duchess were received by a committee comprising of Dr C R Walker, Milo Butler, L W Young, S C McPherson and Rev. W V Eneas.
As the Duke and Duchess approached the dais 12 tiny flower girls under the direction of Lilian Archer of the Lydia Club threw flowers in their path..Phillipa Bethell, Voneta Butler, Grace Wilson, Dianah Johnson, Inez Johnson, Audrey Wilson, Sylvia Rhodriquez, Cypriana Bethell, Edna Logan, Dolores Cambridge, Yvonne North and Caroline Williams.
After HRH had inspected Guard of Honour a number of songs were sung by the Community Choir under the direction of Bert Cambridge.
Included in the programme was: Blessings on the Duke of Windsor (words & music by Timothy Gibson)
Bahamian sons and daughters (words & music by Dr C R Walker)
My Native Land (words & music by S O Johnson)
On behalf of the organizers E R Bain read a speech welcoming the Duke and Duchess and committing the people to work for the public good and the Empire for the betterment of mankind..”It is our hope that the natural charm of these islands and the affection of the people will contribute toward making your stay here long, enjoyable and happy.”
The Duke thanked him and the Committee…and said that he would not forget the Out Islands and “he would pay them a round of calls” …advocated other channels of development..and promised sympathetic interest and support on new ventures to enhance the prosperity of the islands.
Duke and Duchess to occupy Sigrist Mansion while Government House is being renovated.
Beggars and Minstrels in Nassau but not in Bermuda..Common labourer in Bermuda earns 12/- per with Nassau = 4/- per day.
Thanks again to Robert Dorsett for these links from Sir Orville Turnquest's talk in February.