In quest of dreams

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.

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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.

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8 Comments

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8 Responses to In quest of dreams

  1. Thanks for sharing the memories, and the present as well. Lovely, lovely photos. XO

  2. Jon

    Patti Scialfa – “You Can’t Go Back”

    Now I used to have the kind of luck
    that went from bad to worse
    a gypsy on the waterfront
    she told me I was cursed
    she said no one’s young forever
    well I just laughed
    I turned to leave around the corner
    and the years went past
    now I’m looking for a piece of myself
    on the same streets that I once knew but..
    you can’t go back, hey hey, you can’t go back.

    Good luck in your search!
    Jon N.

  3. And another thing: one of the joys of reading your blog is looking at the header pictures. My two favorites are of you and Marce at LaPrima (Marce is so beautiful) and the one of you early on where Marce is laughing and there is the sea in the background. It is so good to see your faces, even if they are only virtual. I miss you.

  4. Carole L Esley

    Thanks for that beautifully written trip to find those places from your past…. what you found was beautifully captured but it wasn’t what you remembered and sought. Great reminder of how time intervenes ~ paints new pictures ~ in turn reminding us to be fully present.

  5. I really enjoy the comments and the photos from the blog and look for something every day.
    I know what it is like trying to find places you remember from a by gone year. I lived in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada before my parents and the family moved to Australia in 1960. I was in Halifax on business when I was working for Canadian Defense in 2007 and thought that I would look up the school and the home I lived in. Could not find either one not even the street which I could not remember the name of but thought that I knew the way there.

    Hope you have better luck looking tomorrow or in the days ahead for those lost places that reside in you memory.

  6. Love the pics and the sentiment expressed, being haunted by memories that are tantalizing, but just out of reach. Thanks for bringing it back to all your readers. I suspect we may all be a little bit envious of you for having been a romantic troubadour in the not so Virgin Islands in the “good old days.”

  7. Milt Davis, Jr.

    Hi Jack… I can relate. St.T just isn’t the same. I grew up there… Just around the corner from the green and white house… Garden /street… where Silver Streak Taxi operated from. I sang at the Admiral’s Dinghy with “Blue Law” (1971 – ’72). We would leave “The Dinghy” and go to the “Gate” for breakfast.

    • Hi Milt, great to hear from you, I was beginning to think that I had dreamt the whole thing! We were down there at approximately the same time so you must remember my favorite bar, the Carousel. I couldn’t even find the Gate! Ah but they were grand times.
      Thanks again,
      Jack

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