Magical Moments of Long-Ago Jamaica
by G. Yvonne Graham
(Boynton Beach, Florida, USA)
I remember with nostalgia my growing up years in Jamaica. No housework chores! My bicycle took me everywhere I needed to go! I mean everywhere, as during WW11 no gas so no auto transport.
No matter, teens had lots of fun! Parties, picnics, movies in comfortable air-conditioned Carib Theater.(A/C being a rarity then). Those super ice cream sundaes at Kinkead's Drugstore.
Beach outings to Cablehut, and Lime Cay. Occasionally special trips to the Island's North Coast to enjoy the famed white sand beaches there, to gaze with awe at that wonderful waterfall, maybe even to climb it!
All those enjoyable evenings at the Glass Bucket Club where an orchestra played on Fridays and Saturdays Big Band music for our dancing pleasure. Other evenings there was the jukebox, glittering and glowing, all-flashing colored lights, pounding out the much-loved rhythms of the likes of Glen Miller, Dorsey Brothers, Harry James, Benny Goodman etc.
I remember Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts at the scenic Hope Botanical Gardens, everyone all dressed up, as we listened to rousing marches played by the Jamaica Military Band.
I especially remember twenty-first birthday parties. These were very special occasions and celebrated in style, mostly held at the birthday person's home. Dress code, evening gowns for ladies, tuxedos for men. Furniture would be cleared from the wood-floored drawing rooms (living room) and often there would be a three-piece "live" band playing for dancing. Instead of sandwiches and beef patties as in ordinary parties, there would be an elaborate buffet, a full bar, and a magnificent birthday cake which would be cut halfway through the proceedings. There would be speeches in praise of and congratulating the birthday person. Rather like a wedding, which were similar in that dress codes for evening weddings called for gowns and tuxedos. Also as in birthday parties, wedding receptions were held in private homes, usually the bride's parents' home.
These and other such memories of Jamaica will surely live on always in the minds of many, who, once upon a time, called it "home."