Image of Almirante Hospital, thanks to slideshare.
I’d been at work at the dairy ranch getting things ready for the routine of morning milking by hand of about fifteen noisy cows. As was usual with them they had bellowed since first light for attention to their full utters. I immediately noticed that when I appeared in the cow stable to milk them they instinctively knew and quieted down. Suddenly the boss lady called me away from my duties to come up to to the big house and when I got there she became very talkative while I remained quiet. Continue reading
Image is of the Mechanics Lodge posing for a group picture with their families. About 1912 at Isla Colon. Just as in Colon and Panama City the Lodges made up a very important part of the life of the West Indian Panamanian society. Image thanks to Sr. José Price.
These were the times of the Panamanian presidency of Ernesto de la Guardia, Jr., while we remained in Baseline, today known as the area of Changuinola in Bocas del Toro Province. However, today I would probably not recognize that same Changinola River area I got to know the first day I ventured up there to seek work back in 1956. But, it was an area that my co-workers and I would get to know as home and we shared many adventures together as plantation laborers just as my West Indian forefathers had done years before. At this point in my life, now with a new baby and a wife in tow, I was ready to depart from this tainted land for me, swearing that I would never go back. Nevertheless, I started meeting new friends. Continue reading
After the incident with my neighbor, I was left feeling vulnerable and somewhat shaken and I began planning to leave the area with my wife and baby. Disillusioned now with my entire experience I started devising how I would leave as this trip to Bocas, ever since I had taken Pug to live with me in Baseline, had turned out to be a pack of trouble for me after all. I had been working hard since the first week we got to Bocas under the hot sun, torrential rains and I felt I had recovered my health and strength so it seemed the time was right. Continue reading
I soon gained the advantage over my attacker for I had proven to myself to be stronger than he was. While doing the tug of war with him I now saw real fear in his eyes. His posture had changed from a charging gladiator trying to kill me, to one who was holding on to a weapon he couldn’t control and now he knew not what to expect. He had lost control over his own weapon and so I faked moving him around at my own will, moving him towards the stairway, the same stairway he had come down to kill me. Things happened fast as I moved him around as one who played with a toy doll. Continue reading
During this time that I had some money stashed away in my pocket, that I had been keeping for our upkeep for another couple of weeks. I had considered using it for leaving Bocas to return to Colon and, from there, getting lost somewhere in Panama City. On second thought, however, I thought it better to wait until the newborn baby was older before forcing us to travel.
I also decided not to spend any more money on purchasing things to make us a home since I foresaw that Pug and I would each one go our separate ways. The fact was that I did not see in her a readiness to grow up and I was still angry about how things had turned out between us. I lived in constant uncertainty as to what other commitments she had made with people that would force me to be in front of the Corregidor again. Continue reading
The policeman and I walked along in silence until we got back to my room, picked up the money I had so carefully saved away for weeks and left again for the long walk back to the Corregiduria. During the walk the young Westindian policeman asked, “Are you the same Juni from San Miguel in Panama?” “Yes!” I exclaimed dryly, annoyed by all the walking I had to do that day. “I didn’t recognize you at first…” he confessed and I held my breath. “But then I recognized you right away!”
After that revelation we walked back to the Corregiduria to find the functionary in the middle of hearing the neighbor’s accounts of me and my wife causing a living hell in the neighborhood. Continue reading