When I was 14, we moved to Bermuda. My father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and this was the best posting we'd ever gotten. We were all very excited. We packed up only the stuff we really needed and put everything ielse nto storage. And I said goodbye to my best friend Cathy. For those of you who have read Whale Song, you'll recognize this scenario.
I was sad to leave behind my best friend but so excited to go to another country--and one so tropical. I remember that the trip was long. It seemed to take forever. I think we went by car, train and plane. Then we stepped off the plane. And were hit in the face with a wall of heat and humidty. In seconds we were drenched in sweat. It was July or August. Canadians should know better than to travel somewhere hot during summertime. Then again, we didn't have a choice.
We lived in a pale yellow house (the biggest house near the water) with 2 floors and no basement. The house was divided into 3 apartments; ours was the biggest section. I was so surprised that the houses were all so...pretty. All painted pastel shades with white roofs. Our house was right on a bay and we had a boat dock. My brother Derek and I used to go swimming off the dock. We loved it. Swimming in the bay while boats went past us. We had small bananas growing in out yard and the most beautiful flowers--hibiscus and oleander.
Bermuda had its own legends or traditions. One was that if you walked through a moongate (an oval fixture that many people had in their yards), you would always return to Bermuda. I walked through one once when I was a teen. I've been back twice. Once for my honeymoon and once for my 20th high school reunion. The first time I took my husband (obviously) and the second time I took my daughter.
I want to go back. I always want to go back. There has always been something about Bermuda that I have always loved. It got into my skin and into my heart...it was the closest place that I could have called HOME back then. We moved around so much.
Schooling in Bermuda was very different from what I was used to. I went to Bermuda High School for Girls. They've done away with the "for Girls" part now and have opened it up to any child. But when I went, there were only girls...and uniforms. I have always said that I had my best education there. The school was strict; we had O'Level exams in my last year, so I had to take my studies seriously. The last year I was there I won an English award and an art award. I remember this because I wasn't allowed to keep my trophy for a year like other winners, because we were moving back to Canada.
Bermuda is beautiful. The beaches are various shades of coral and pink. The sand is like satin. My brother Jason was born in Bermuda. He was born with coppery red curls and cherub cheeks. He used to eat the sand. I wish Jason could have gone back to Bermuda at least once before he died. We always had such fun there. I was 14 when Jason was born and I often told people that baby Jason was mine.
Bermuda is another world -- that is actually a song by The Bermuda Strollers. I have always remembered that song. And it is so true . Bermuda was a safe haven for my family. We shared so many happy times. We did all the tourist things the first few months. Then we laughed at all the "tourists" who were visiting, because by then we were Bermudians in our hearts.
One day I will visit again. I have to. I have one dream there that I have never fulfilled. My brother Derek and I used to play in the Southhampton Princess Hotel. We would ride the elevators while I talked to tourists in a British accent. Oi was bloody good at that, you know. We snuck into the hotel's swimming pool by pretending we were guests. That's where I met Frankie Avalon's kids. He asked me to watch them because there wasn't a lifeguard on duty. Of course, I didn't realize until afterward who he was. My dream was to stay at the Southhampton Princess as a guest--a real one! :) One day...
I love Bermuda. Bermuda loved me. I grew more in that 3 years than in 5 years prior. I am still connected..my heart and soul. And one day I'll return. And I'll think of my past, of school, of the fun times and of my brother Jason. Bermuda is another world. You should check it out sometime. If you ever get a chance to visit Bermuda, be sure to visit the Crystal Caves and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
http://www.bermuda.com/ (I remember when the fellow started this website years ago...it is so much more now!)