Chapter XIV. In C,onclusion - Man-O
I, the writer, have tried to sharewith you, the reader,the story of my beloved
Man-O-War.All of my life has been lived here in the Settlement. The longest time I
have spent away from my island is three weeksand that was only within the last ten
years. In 1968 Mary and I went to England to visit the land from which my people
came over two centuries ago. It was also the country to which my first loyalty was
given and it too is an island.
How many people have written, sung, and talked about getting away from the
hustle and bustle of life in the city. To find a quiet spot in the country or an island
in the sea is part of all of our dreams.To me it has been a reality. I used to sing
about it as a student in our Man-O-Warschool, and we still do.
If I had a hundredgoldenpounds
I would leavethe great City's roar
And I'd buy a little country house
With a shining streamat my door
In the country-sideI would settledown
Far from all the din of the buw town
And a happy life I'd lead there
And a happy life I'd lead.
The fife of our first islanderswas a hard one.The daily tasksdone or left undone
meant survival or starvation. Fish were caught to eat at the next meal and the
left-oversif there were any were saltedto preservethem for our future needs.The
beacheswere combed for planks,spern, amberglis,rope, and rubber.
Coral hillsides were cleared for farming. Trees were cut down and sawed into
planks for boats and boards for our homes. Palm fronds were cut for roof
thatching. Fresh water only came as rain; so pits were dug into the coral rock bed
for cisterns and in our cemetery on the northeasternshore for our loved ones'
Now rnany come to our island for relaxation, for a short changefrom the usual
routine of life at home on the mainlands,and a few have come to stay with us.
I watch our visitors walk along the Sea Road and The Queen's Highway
stopping to see the ship builders, sail-makers,craw fishermen, carpenters, shell
Mon-O-Ilar: My IslandHome
crafters,shop keepersand the boat skippersat their work. I think they
look becauseof the craftnanship.It isn't how many nailswe put in an
how well theyareput in.
Papahad a saying,one which I'm sureis a familiarone: "Whatever
it verywell.As a boy I wasdoing
doingis worth doingwell." I remember
but anxiousto get to the next excitingadventure,
sunkennail headsin a dinghywith little care,hopingto be off andaway.
came by, saw my sloppy job, and started me over by sayingthe statement
havebeenpart of our islandheritage,oneof
we are very proud. It could be seenin the early years in the lines of a
sculler'soar, the carvedhandle of a kitchen pot, or a rocking chair for the
Craftsmanship is still a by-word today as we build our homes and houses
Americans and others who come to rent or to stav with us. The skill
shipyard managersand workers is evidencedin the boats which come to
haulingand repairs,the Albury ferriesbuilt herein our shipways,the di
Our visitorsfrom afar and evenour neighborson the otherislandshave
tts many things,maybe too many. We now haveand enjoy a better
living. We do feel that there are certain things we have cherishedover the
maylose,As a teacher,
childrenat 9:00 a.m.inmy
room,I amsuretheywatcheda lateT.V. showthenightbefore.
WhenUncle Normanlooked for the meat grinder as a boy his only obs
were natural ones.Today with golf carts, motor bikes, big and little b
trucks,andjeeps,one hasto be alert so asnot to be hit by a wheeledvehi
have no policemanto direct traffic or to representhigher authority on our
We have always been able to settle our disputesinternally. I hope we can
to do so.
We want touriststo visit us. I would be foolish if I wasnot appreciativeof
benefitsour islandeconomyhashad from tourism.We want them to feel part
our life and at home on our island.But I and my family,immediateand i
wide, have a love for Man-O-Waringrainedin us and I guesswe are protective
shores,trees,homes,churches,harbours,schooland way of life.
My great, great, great, geat, great grandfather and grandmother wel
people to a shallow but protected harbour and a few thatched roof homes.
or fishermen.The farewas
fish cooked over an open fire, bread baked in an outdoor oven, soldier crabs,
beef and maybe turtles' eggs.
UncleWill welcomedthe first Americans,SkipperRobinsonandTed Zickes,
Man-O-lVarover forty years ago and he continued to welcome many more over
years. Uncle Will's spirit of helpfulness,his senseof fair play and unselfish
pervadedeverypart of our way of life throughthe middleof this century.Nat
countlessother islanders,men, women, and children contributed to
Man-O-Warthe island we know and love today. I was excited when I first began
write this book. Perhapsin someway I could catchthe spirit of my islandhome,
and my family's island and their family's so that others might learn of it.
This book is a written history but most of its sourcematerialwasoral. It is as
MammaNellie told her children,who told their children,andsoon down.Overthe
past few yearsas I havebeenwriting aboutour islandI havelearnedsomuchfrom
I hope too I haveconveyedto you my appreciationof my heritageandmaybe
you will wish to tell your childrenso that they can tell their childrenabout this
islandjust to the northeastof Abacoin the Bahamas.