Category Archives: Calidonia

Earning the Rite of Passage

Images: top; bottom: La Prensa

The act of joining the colorful marching bands of that year of 1952 gave a kid like me access to the needed elements to shine in my world of darkness. This would forever remain “my moment” regardless of whatever else happened in my life. Continue reading

My Life Paraded in Front of Me

El Cruce Building just before it was demolished in June 2009; in my youth it was all one-room rentals for Westindian families

San Ramon Building at the entrance of “M” Street.

The parade route had not left the Calidonia/Wachipali district as fast as we all anticipated, as the marching pace slowed down to a halt. As we stood there marking time we noticed how official functionaries were suddenly ahead of us. It seemed as though it had been planned that way, so that the large contingent of the National Police and Firemen or “red shirts” we all called the Bomberos, was now at rest in the midst of us school children on precisely this point on the parade route.  Continue reading

A Time-Honored Parade Route

Image is property of our friends at LatinOL forums. Lucky Strike Building in Panama circa 1949.


The parade started in the street in front of the National Treasury winding up two blocks on what is Avenida Peru today. A left turn and we were on the familiar Avenida Central marching down the section known as Perejil. Before I knew it we were marching by my old primary school of Pedro J. Sosa in the neighborhood that had become so familiar to me, San Miguel, with Magnolia Building at its center.  This is the neighborhood where I had started my adolescent life in the renowned National Institute. Continue reading

The Reid Clan on Display

The National Institute of Panama would have another Westindian Panamanian, another son of the Silver People from Calidonia, to display in the upcoming November patriotic festivities. For the adolescent that all the neighbors referred to as Juni, this would be a special event in which to collect the due admiration I thought I deserved. Continue reading

The Girl from Argentina

Evita Perón postage stamp; one of many versions.

Children at the Children's City

Although today I’m at a loss to remember the name of the girl I corresponded with in Argentina, I will forever remember her fondly for being the first to introduce me to the personality and the image of the spectacular First Lady of Argentina, Doña Evita Perón. Continue reading

The El Polvorín Disaster

Last Honors to James Thompson, native of Jamaica,
who survived the El Polvorín Disaster. The photo displayed
on September 28, 1930, shows his funeral bier which
is mounted on his Fire Department’s fire engine.

Middle and bottom photos are frantic scenes of
a blaze on “N” Street being responded to by the
efficient and prompt Panama City Fire Department in 1930.

From the moment the Westindians made Panama their home every little boy of normal curiosity wanted to grow up to be a Bombero. Everyday conversations from the very beginnings of their Panama experience as well as the lyrics to their music were dotted with the mighty exploits of the legendary Bomberos– the brave firefighters of Panama City and Colon. These men also came to be affectionately known as the Camisas Rojas, from their distinguishing red shirts. Continue reading