Senator Theovald Moorehead’s Letter Brings Back Memories
I shall always remember “Mooie” with great respect and admiration — his letter written to the Daily News on May 5, 1958, brought back so many memories to me. I have always felt that Mr. Laurance Rockefeller’s representatives did not reflect the true intention of land acquisition for the National Park. I recall how I was treated by an assistant who casually looked over the Lavender Hill property that I managed, without any proper introduction or real reason for walking all over the property. He then did the same at Gallows Point. I don’t call that showing respect for St. John landowners.
I have a vivid memory of hearing on the San Juan radio news broadcast that there was a possibility of condemning land on St. John for the creation of the Park. I rushed up to our administrator, then Mr. George Simmons, to give him the news. Sabra Erickson, a devoted St. Johnian resident was equally upset and started her campaign against this action by handing out bumper stickers, “No Condemnation Without Representation.” Senator Moorehead was joined by another devoted resident, Ethel McCully, on a trip to Washington. The rest is history — this bizarre idea was stopped.
We, who had the need of telephones for our businesses, had radio telephones (and that includes Caneel Bay) so all of these happenings were heard on St. Thomas and St. John as we discussed the progress reports on the air.
We all know that news travels fast on an island, and before you knew it, subscribers chimed in with their own cryptic comments. Really rather funny as I look back over those days — I guess that’s the original coconut telegraph (after the drums).
“Mooie” mentioned the dilemma over our need for telephones. There were five extensions on the one line to St. John including Caneel Bay, the administrator’s office, the clinic, the fire station and the phone on the telegraph pole at the Cruz Bay dock. One day I saw the dock phone hanging by its wire — all I could think of was that some frustrated caller got so mad that he finally did what we all wanted to do — just tear it off the pole.
As the years progressed, the Park grew in stature, with many superintendents coming and going. I, personally, am thankful for Mr. Rocke-feller’s foresight and for Senator Julius E. Sprauve’s understanding the need for preserving the beauty of St. John. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but just imagine how many more trucks and cars there would be if every beach had a hotel and the hillsides were covered with houses. Not exactly my idea of paradise.
Jazz Islanders Are the Greatest
The Beach Bar really rocked on Sunday night with Michael Dunston belting out Christmas songs and standards along with other top musicians who sat in. What a great way to charge your batteries — and the beat goes on 4 to 7:30 p.m. every Sunday at Wharfside’s Beach Bar.
Mauri and Travis Visit Old Friends
We all have friends who go away for a while and when they return, we pick right up where we left off. That’s so true of Mauri Elbel, staff writer for St. John Tradewinds. She and her husband, Travis, were here for a few days before returning to Texas to prepare for the big move to Australia in February. I’ll always remember their Trunk Bay wedding at sunset a few years ago.
They miss St. John with the same passion that so many of us have when we go back to the “real world,” but educational opportunities will call them away for a while. In spite of the change of pace here, they, too, feel that St. John is a magical island with so many vibrant and caring individuals who contribute their time and talent to the whole community. My best wishes and love go with them.
Sprauve School Gala Celebrates 10 Years of Fundraising
January 13, 2007, at Caneel Bay Resort is the date for a night that promises to be the best gala ever. Principal Mario Francis and his hard-working committee have everything under control, and Caneel Bay’s staff is prepared to present a wonderful evening for this annual benefit for the children at Julius E. Sprauve School.
Congratulations to Our Own Tennis Devotees
St. Thomas’ West Side Tennis Club honored Pat Harley and Gilbert Sprauve at their third annual awards banquet last week. We add our congratulations to our friends who have done so much to encourage our young people to enjoy the game.