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Seniors Tell of Days Long Gone

Seniors Tell of Days Long Gone

Delila O’Connor showed the students how to use a towel folded on top of her head to carry wood. Removing the wood, she then balanced a bowl.Students from Gifft Hill and Guy Benjamin schools were amazed to learn Thursday from seniors about life on St. John many decades ago in a presentation called St. John Long Time.

“I never knew they had a hard life. We have it so easy,” Ayana Coleman-Dixon, 12, said.

About three-dozen students heard tales from seniors who attend programs at the George Simmons Terrace senior center in Adrian. They gathered in Coral Bay at one of the food stands that sit along Route 107.

Alvis Christian organized the event to celebrate Black History Month.

“Communication between young and old is one of the areas that is lacking. We can’t let our culture slip away from us,” he said.

The students were surprised to discover that, years ago, St. John residents made what they needed from what they had around.

“We didn’t have stores,” senior Eugenie Dalmida said.

Displaying a ball and bat, she told the students that the ball was made from paper wrapped around a few rocks and tied with a string. The bat was a piece of tree cut off the right length for hitting the ball.

“And the bases were made of cardboard,” Christian added.

Henry Powell was a one-man museum. He came equipped with about a dozen different items to show the students. He had pieces of charcoal to go in coal pots, the coal pots, a small kerosene stove, and much more.

“This is an old-fashioned fishing rod,” Powell said, displaying a handmade version of the familiar object.

Powell also talked about the “blue” used to whiten clothes when they were washed.

Theresa Worrell came equipped with a carrot to demonstrate how to use her handmade grater.

“You take a nail and make the holes,” she said.

Delila O’Connor showed the students how to use a towel folded on top of her head to carry wood. Removing the wood, she balanced a bowl.

Milton Samuel spoke about those long-ago days before cars, when people traveled on horses and donkeys.

Seniors also displayed an old-time iron called a goose, and told the students how they used up scraps of fabric to quilt and make decorative pillow covers.

Several students said they enjoyed the presentation very much. Sheniqua Davis, 17, said she liked the stories because they let her know what was going on back when.

“I like the old people’s stories,” Kanika Liburd added.


  1. Great Pic of Delila…great story! Our elders are such a rich resource for all of us…love that we are tapping into these wonderful and precious people- as we have so much to learn from them.


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