I could feel the sweat dripping off of my shoulder blades, landing at the small of my back, soaking into my T-shirt. Like Marce, I’ve been on my own quest. Unlike Marce I don’t have to sit in a room full of books and lists, endlessly starring at microfilm with lists of names and birth dates. However, my quest demands that I wander the hills of St. Thomas in search of my past.
Forty years ago I lived and worked in Charlotte Amalie and I expected things would be different, but I can’t find anything even though I’m haunted by the feeling that I’m so close, like maybe just around the next bend. That kind of thinking has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion in the past and it looks like my insatiable curiosity has done it again.
It’s a hot one all right. Mid eighties but the trade-winds are light today and that makes all the difference.
I took photos when the reality of our contract was nearing an end and we’d have to leave, but what became of them I’ll never know. I really thought that I’d never make it back here. There were four locations that I wanted to see once again, all with obvious physical landmarks.
-The Village Gate with second story entrance, huge old tree growing up through the roof and large masonry spiral staircase around it. One of the oldest buildings in Charlotte Amalie with a wrought iron gate opening up onto Main st. They wouldn’t tear that down would they?
-Admiral’s Dinghy at the base of the tramway to the top of the mountain. They moved the Tramway!
-The patio on top of the mountain. The new Tramway doesn’t even go to the top.
-The Carousel Bar at the harbor’s edge in town, built on a real carousel, all 29 flavors of frozen daiquiris gone without a trace.
Every morning I’d wake up, well afternoon, I was a musician after all, and start up the hill I knew as Mafali Hill and past Villa Santana on the way up the single lane which would get so steep that it would turn into stairs. I found that but no Village Gate, but like most quests I’ve found some amazing sights wandering these hills.
This, dear Escapees, leaves me wandering the mountains of St. Thomas in a quest for a faded old photo dream I once had a long time ago.