The Passing of Miss Ethel Levy

Whorish woman

The silence between Pug and me spoke for itself that day.  She had searched my face diligently as we walked on that lonely country road, going home with the baby boy. Then we both stopped for her to shift the baby boy to her other. Suddenly I said, “Since you don’t want to have anything to do with me anymore, tell me, how am I going to get money to make it back to Colon?” She took her time and then insisted, “My family don’t want me to have anything to do with you Juni, but the Chinaman has promised me some money. Furthermore, he even knows about you going to be a teacher soon, and all that.”

“Look, it has not been a joyride for me being with you either, you know!” I said, rather irritated with her. “I know, I know but please don’t mess up my thing!” she pleaded earnestly. After that last revelation from her she tried to inch up close to me as we kept walking on that road. I just continued walking for I knew how whoring could be the issue we would part company over. Pondering our agreement to separate I said, “If that is the way you want this thing to go, I agree to a ‘separation!’ But you also have to promise that you will stay away from me as I have promised likewise. You get it?”

I couldn’t have said things in a more stern voice as my disdain for her swelled up in my chest.  From that moment on we walked in utter silence, with me walking up much further ahead of her as if I was trying to get away from her in disgust. Then, as usual, my mind wandered away to the encounter with the young whores from Panama I had met not too long before this unfortunate conversation between Pug and me. In a fit of complete irritation, I suddenly said, “See if I give a damn about you!” We both knew it wasn’t true. I still cared. That very night I disappeared from Pug’s side and headed for my pet spot on the beach and soon was fast asleep, lulled by the peaceful sound of the waves. I slept all night long.

The following day I decided to pay Miss Bea, my newly found friend over in the bush, a visit. Only this time I would take the baby boy with me as she had asked. An elderly bachelor lady, she was the picture of a real grandmother and she longed to have a baby and some young people in her life again back in the isolated corner of Bocas where she had had her house built. “Why don’t you bring him to meet me?” she had had said during my long days working in her yard. So, I prepared the baby to take him over that day while his mother jealously followed us to the meeting with Bea. This visit would end up bringing us together for some “happy times” with the old lady.

When we got back in town we were told that Pug’s grandmother Mrs.  Ethel Levy had parted from this life in her home in Colon. Miss Levy, in fact, had been a much loved person to me and to all her neighbors in the building in which she had lived and raised Pug as a funny Chinese kid- black Westindian under the yellow skin. Pug had been raised by her grandparents, a black Westindian couple as black as I was and all of Mrs Levy’s neighbors had seen her grow up.

They had also witnessed how we, as a couple, had grown up together into manhood and womanhood. Pug had been the one who really engineered us being a couple – Juni and Pug- and from there the growth of our relationship, including the birth of our child. Miss Levy had treated me as part of the family. I was as touched by losing her that day as the rest of her family.

This story continues.

2 responses to “The Passing of Miss Ethel Levy

  1. My grandmother’s name was Ethel Helen levy , she went to Panama in the early 1940s or earlier.I need information on how to get to your archive to find my family .name is Norma masters .a jamaican, Canadian please if you have any information. Tks

    • Norma,
      We are always glad to hear from our readers in Canada, they are becoming a very loyal following. We can look for traces of your grandmother´s name in some of the private files that we have painstakingly gathered. Panama has been a notoriously difficult place to get public records but it can be done, especially the records of our West Indian forefathers. We have done it. Otherwise you are talking about a genealogical search which would require some more information from you, i.e. other adults that you knew or knew her while you were growing up, even if not family.

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