Wha’s Happ’nin’

Nearly 40 people attended Ophelia Powell Torres talk about breast cancer at the Elaine I. Sprauve Library last week. St. John Tradewinds News Photo Courtesy of Carol McGuiness

Old Friends Stay the Same

by Sis Frank

We could spend every hour of the day complaining about noise, heavy traffic, crime and over-development — but without sounding like Pollyanna, may I suggest that if we look around and count our blessings, you will find that this still is “Love City” with many old friends left to share memories of the good old days on St. John.

It’s only been 26 years since Nick and Andro Childs and I decided to join the back line of the Art School and their front boundary line with a stone wall. Their son, Danny, is now 40 years old and has two children. Just yesterday we discussed the wall again!

Gilbert Sprauve’s recently-published book, “Soundings Over Cultural Shoals” is a delight! So that’s what the famous East End dock was for — of course, it was never built. Gilbert is an actor of reknown — I can see him in the tall grass at Gallows Point as he played a leading role in “Roshoman.”

Ruth, Cindy and Esther Jurgen are still singing at the Lutheran Church — they have been my neighbors for over 40 years — I can hear them practicing with their mother as little children. Their father, Emile, and Steddie Frett played their guitars while Mello Thomas added his sax or pan. (That’s where son Wesley began to play).

Just last Sunday, Mark Shekelton sat in with the Jazz Islanders on drums. He hadn’t picked up his sticks in over a year. He said he was nervous, but the Beach Bar audience cheered him on.

Oswin “Zeke” Sewer and June Barlas talked about Miss Malvine’s “The Inn” (now St. John Inn) and “The Out” (now Mongoose Junction). June managed both establishments — a lot of fun, no major crime.

Our main worries were centered around the Saturday night fish frys — Pimpy’s Jealous Sounds, Eddie and the Movements and Steel Unlimited I played, great food, beer by the barrel, dancing ‘til dawn at the Pond Mouth where car ferries now come and go.

As Madeline Sewer confesses, “Every time I pass an ice chest, my right arm freezes!” After pulling out a hundred bottles of beer, yours would too!

We cared about each other in those early days, and I believe that we still do. The sudden growth has been overwhelming, but if we volunteer and try to maintain the true St. Johnian respect for each other, “Love City” will continue to be very special.

Administrator Leona Smith and her volunteers are doing a commendable job in straightening out problems in traffic flow, clean streets, stores and yards. Contact Leona if you wish to help.

Gourmet Store Opens
After months of construction, this very attractive shop has opened! Everything is new and appetizing! Congratulations to Starfish!
Depressing Basketball Court

That big pile of equipment in the corner, the graffiti, the high grass, the uneven court with no drain-off — doesn’t DPNR care about the children? Please will someone take care of this mess!

Stay, Lawrence, Stay
You’ll have more fun here — you’ll get your tan back — who cares about a new house and a Mercedes convertible! I’m talking about Lawrence Distefano of Grapevine Salon fame — the one with the gorgeous shirts and spiky hair. How can he leave us again! You’ll freeze in Baton Rouge!

Thanks to Ophelia for Her Lecture
Head librarian Carol McGuin-ness welcomed a large audience to Ophelia Powell Torres’ informative talk about breast cancer at the Sprauve Library last week. It certainly is not a pleasant topic, but thanks to Ophelia’s personal experience, no one hesitated to ask questions.

Ophelia will continue her campaign to educate Virgin Islanders on health maintenance, wellness and the prevention of disease. WGOD radio station will feature Ophelia on Mondays, 9 to 10 a.m. — if you wish to make a contribution to this much-needed project, kindly send it to Hands On Care LLC, 6501 Red Hook Plaza, Suite 201, St. Thomas, V.I. 00802. Thank you, Ophelia, for sharing your professional knowledge with us.

Veronica Oliver Has Left Us
For several years, Veronica maintained a shop in the Sprauve family building in Cruz Bay. Every Sunday she sang in the Nazareth Lutheran Church choir. I cannot remember a time when she wasn’t dressed in the latest fashion. I join with her friends and family in expressing sincerest sympathy!