Heather Whalen Senior Community and Cultural Affairs Officer brought along two "significant seniors" in our community, Joy Wilson-Tucker Co-Founder of Bermuda Heritage Museum and a former employee for Public Works, which is now referred to, as Works and Engineering George Leon Burt.  Heather held a trip down memory lane conversation with them recounting life growing up in old Bermuda.

 

They first talked about a typical Sunday afternoon; George remembered that in the mornings they would attend Sunday school and then church. When they returned home, they would have dinner then attend Regiment band concerts which took place every fortnight. Joy adding that every Easter Sunday, they would go to Sunday school then to Salvation Army church.  After the services, they would meet up with relatives and would march around to St. John'sChurch to give donations.  Sundays was also the day they waxed the furniture and floors, which she and her siblings found entertaining, and then cover them in newspaper to keep them clean.

            There were always chores to do, collecting and chopping wood to heat the copper in which the clothes would be boiled.  The clothes were wrung out by hand or some people had a wringer which had two big rollers and a big handle to turn them. The clothes would then be hung out on the line to dry. Cactus from the pond was used to whiten clothes, and to starch clothes; they would drain the water from boiled rice and then dip the clothes in it.

            Cooking was done in a chimney, which was built next to a brick oven and of course the traditional meals that were cooked were peas and rice, cabbage and rice, and gingerbread and prunes. George told of Fish Hash & Hellfire Stew, known as "Gumbo" in New Orleans and Joy added that  on special occasion's they had rice pudding which was made with white rice with cream and sugar.

            They both related with great excitement playtime as children.  Box carts were built from Sunlight soap boxes with baby carriage wheels., which in those days were the large cycle wheels. George said that they felt that they owned Barker's Hill, it was not paved like it is today and they would race down the hill so fast that they ended up at ChristChurch, Devonshire.  As a variation they would also hook their goats up to the carts.  Joy remembered that the Sunlight boxes were also used as night tables and furniture and that feed bags were used for bedding and that they made bottle dolls from mineral bottles and palm leaves from the nearby pond braiding the leaves for hair.  George added that the bottle tops from the mineral bottles were used tom play jacks.

            There was a lot of self sufficiency in those days almost everyone owned their own livestock, chickens, turkeys, goats and pigs were common, however, unlike today, there were no horses or cows on the island. Most families also had herb gardens and grew parsley, thyme and cassava, lemon grass and mint were also grown for medicinal purposes.  Joy was taught to use Rhubarb, Tansy and Gin for stomach pain, and George said that the Tansy with brown sugar or Poppy was used for colds.  Of course George had to add that dandy lion flowers were put under girls chins to see how pretty they looked. He also remembered that there were no such things as thermos bottles to keep things hot or cold instead they used mayonnaise bottles wrapped in layers of brown paper.

 

In closing Heather reminded us that we should continue to promote and demonstrate the values expressed here today, as guidepost for our living.

            May is Heritage Month and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is hosting a variety of events which will take place this month including the annual Heritage Day parade which will take place on May 26.  The public is encouraged to attend as many functions as possible to get an in depth look at the history and traditions of old Bermuda life.  More information on the events this month is available at the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs at 292 1681 or 292 9447.