A few years back, while visiting the Albert Lowe Museum in Green Turtle Cay, I shot pictures of some of the many photographs that line the museum walls. No special reason. I just love old photos from the cay.
Later, while editing the photos I’d taken, I came across the picture below. One face in particular — the girl in the back row, second from left — caught my eye. She looked a lot like childhood photos of my mother and I wondered if she might be a relative. One of my mom’s aunts, perhaps, or maybe even my grandmother. I asked around and emailed the image to various family members. Nobody could identify her.
“You know,” said our contractor, William Lowe. “If this were my house, I’d move it back on the property and add a porch at the front.” And just like that, the scope of our restoration project broadened significantly.
Tom and I had already planned to build a modest porch in the six feet or so between the house and the road. What we hadn’t planned on was the law that says we can’t build within five feet of the property line.
Front of Fish Hooks
There’s lots of space behind the house, though. The property is more than twice as deep as it is wide. Not only would moving the house allow for a decent-sized front porch with an unobstructed view of Settlement Creek, it would also give us more elevation — a huge plus during hurricane flooding.
Next to Fish Hooks, my favourite part of Green Turtle Cay is Gillam Bay. It’s where, as children, my grandmother and her sisters gathered Panama shells and hunted for buried treasure. It’s where, on summer vacations, I picked tart sea grapes, swam in the warm, shallow water and picnicked under the palms. It’s where, years later, Tom and I were married, surrounded by friends and family and serenaded by a Junkanoo parade.
There’s something restorative about walking this beach — seeing the sunrise over Pelican Cay, feeling the noon sun on my head, breathing the salt breeze or watching a late-afternoon thunderstorm gather on the horizon.
Tom and I now have something we’ve wanted for years – my ancestral home in Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas. It’s a small cottage on the New Plymouth waterfront, located next to (where else?) the ferry dock.
This property has been in my family for nearly 100 years. Prior to September 1932, my great-grandparents Herman and May Curry and their three daughters lived in a large, two-story home on the property. It had four bedrooms, including two upstairs, each with large dormer windows.
Below the house was a stand-up cellar where Pa Herman cleaned fish. And, as was customary at the time, to protect against fire and provide relief from the heat, the dining room and kitchen were situated in a separate structure behind the main house.
Herman and May Curry’s house (far left) prior to 1932 (Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum)