Tag: Green Turtle Cay

Attic Archaeology

Recently, I spent a morning exploring the attic at Fish Hooks. Though my expedition revealed little of material worth, it uncovered many items that, in terms of family history, are priceless.

The attic (site of our future master bedroom)

The attic (site of our future master bedroom)

I found at least four bed frames (reminders that this cozy cottage once housed a family of five), and a dining table and several other small tables that I’m told were hand-made by Pa Herman and my grandfather, Lionel Albury.

While I don’t know the origin of the wooden dining chairs I discovered, I do recall them from my childhood visits, and old photos show they’ve been in the family for nearly 70 years.

There’s a suitcase stuffed with sheets, towels and curtains, and though most are yellowed and crumbling, I’m hoping a few pieces may be salvageable.

Beneath a mismatched assortment of plates, cups and glasses, I came across a lovely (and seemingly complete) set of vintage Grindley English china.

China Set

I found a weathered old cutting board and rusty scales, likely used by Pa Herman to clean and weigh the fish he sold. And the collection of tools I discovered – saws, a hammer, a pick axe, a wood plane – were no doubt used to build this house.

Pa Herman's scales

Pa Herman’s scales

Among my favourite finds were a battered, dog-eared children’s “West Indian Reader,” twenty-five years’ worth of electric bill receipts dating back to the 1950s, and what I imagine was Ma May’s version of a junk drawer – a soup tureen filled with the miscellany of life: a single marble, half a dozen rusty keys, light bulbs, loose buttons, bobby pins, a red plastic toy rabbit and (no surprise) tiny weights and fish hooks.

West Indian Reader

West Indian Reader

Decades' worth of electric receipts.

Decades’ worth of electric receipts.

I couldn’t help but smile at the dozens of greeting cards sent to Pa Herman and Ma May by their children and, later, their grandchildren. Such simple and universal items, but sweet reminders of those who lived in and loved this house before us.

Greeting cards from the 1940s and 1950s.

Greeting cards from the 1940s and 1950s.

Many of my attic discoveries are worn, rusted or beyond use. These, we’ll restore and display or donate to the Albert Lowe Museum.

Happily, other items, like the bed frames and Pa Herman’s tables, can definitely be reused. There’s a set of gorgeous mahogany bedposts that I hope we can incorporate into a four-poster bed, and a wooden settee which, with some spiffy new cushions, will fit perfectly in Fish Hooks’ tiny living room. Once repaired, those ancient wood dining chairs will find new life in our kitchen, and the galvanized buckets in which we kids used to bathe before the house had running water might make pretty planters or perhaps ice buckets.

But the slop buckets we used rather than trekking to the outhouse in the middle of the night? Those I can gladly live without.

Related Posts:

We’ve Hooked the Small One

Fish Hooks Update – The Inspection

And Then There Were These

Stitches in Time

Not long before she passed away, my grandmother, Lurey Albury, gave me this photograph. I recognized her in the picture, of course, and her sister, Virginia, but as time went on, I grew more curious about the group and the other ladies in it.

Green Turtle Cay Knitting Class circa 1940

Once again, my generous and trusty sources came through. Shirley Roberts, Floyd Lowe, Joy Lowe Jossi and Joy’s sister-in-law, Betty Lowe, helped identify all the faces (including my grandmother’s youngest sister, Belle, whom I’d never have recognized.) Betty – who’s actually in the photo – provided details about the group.

Resurrecting Ma May’s Garden

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Several members of my extended family are enthusiastic and successful gardeners. Me? I’m no expert on growing things but I love flowers, particularly tropical varieties, and I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with photographing them.

Marion Mayfield “May” Curry

Turns out we may all have inherited our interest in gardens and gardening from my great-grandmother. According to my cousin, Alton Lowe, Ma May had a passion for growing things, and her garden was one of the most beautiful on Green Turtle Cay. Any time you passed, Alton says, you’d see her outside, tending her plants.

Along with roses and carnations, Ma May grew fragrant gardenias, several types of jasmine, pomegranates and grapes. She even introduced shrimp flowers to the island.

That she was able to keep such a lush garden surprised me, given how rocky the yard is at Fish Hooks. But apparently the hard ground was no match for my great-grandmother. She simply cut holes in the rock and filled them with soil.

Fish Hooks Update – The Inspection

“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

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.

We've Hooked the Small One

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.

The Curry House (far left) Pre-1932

Herman and May Curry’s house (far left) prior to 1932
(Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum)

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