Remembering Christmas Past…

The Christmas season is filled with many sights, smells and sounds that evoke magical memories of Christmas past.  As we celebrate this first Christmas with Dad watching from above, I reflect on a few of those memories represented by the pictures below.  Dad, an out island boy with a humble upbringing, clearly demonstrated to us at Christmas time that it was more blessed to give than to receive…a reflection of his heavenly Father who gave us the perfect gift of salvation.  O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

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Dad, Mom, Paula and Paul
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Left to right…
Back row – Paul, Leroy, Paula
Middle row – Mama, Dad, Mom
Front row – Jonathan, Evan
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Christmas banquet at a Bahamian hotel
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Christmas suits were a tradition (Evan)
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Bicycles! always a favorite
Jonathan and Evan (left to right)
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Gifts came from family and friends in
Spanish Wells
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Celebrating with nieces
Jonathan, Chantal, Evan, Sophia (left to right)
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Always a treat to have Mama stop by! (poinsettias were amazing too)
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Family portrait time
(Left to right)
Back row – Paul, Sherry, Evan, Jonathan, Chantal, Paula, Leroy
Front row – Sophia, Jason, Dad, Mom, Jessica
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A special couple
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Dinner with the extended family
Clockwise – Mom, Leroy, Paula, Shirley & Don Phillips, Betty & Walter Higgs, Dad
Christmas 2012 - our last one with Dad.  He was ready to see his heavenly Father.
Christmas 2012 with some of the grandchildren – our last Christmas with Dad.
(Left to right)
Back row – Rhys, Griffin, Bronwyn, Dylan
Front row – Wes, Dad, Mom, Gwyneth

Line fishing

Fishing on Green Turtle in the 1930’s was not considered just a sport…it was considered survival.  002Living off the land and sea was how my dad and his ancestors subsisted on that rustic island for generations.  No state of the art rod and reels, lures, or electronic fish finders.  A simple hand line with a sinker and hook, perhaps crafted by his Aunt May (littlehousebytheferry.com), was the extent of his fishing gear.

There are many stories to tell of my boyhood days on the island of Green Turtle Cay.  One is them is catching a large bonefish.  At a young age, about ten or twelve, I prepared my fishing tackle and headed for the seashore.  The area I chose was about a mile away from my home.  With the flood tide, the bonefish would come in, feeding close to the shore. 

Bonefish1After tossing the line out into the water, I waited for about thirty minutes, eagerly awaiting for a strike. I felt something attacking the bait.  With great excitement, I suddenly struck back.  The fight was on.  The fish was tugging away.  After several minutes, I was able to pull it close to the shore and then upon the rocks.    It weighed about ten pounds…a very large fish for a young boy.  It was a dream come true!

Journals of John W. Lowe

023Dad never lost his love for fishing.  On Friday afternoons, he would close down the store that he managed and head out fishing with his buddies.  By the time I was born, Dad always had a small boat, preferably a Boston Whaler, if Mom had a say.

As a family, we logged countless hours of summertime fun…fishing, snorkeling, shelling and island hopping.  After fishing for hours at several specially marked fishing shoals, Dad would anchor off a deserted island or cay to relax and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  Mom would find the right spot on the island under a shaded tree for lunch while Dad would take the haul of the day to clean on the rocks.

Not surprisingly, our fishing tackle still consisted of hand lines.010

The Beginning

GTCChartA favorite place to visit is the quaint town of New Plymouth on the southern tip of Green Turtle Cay, Abaco in the Bahamas.  This close-knit island community is full of historical significance.  Many residents trace their ancestral roots to Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War.  On this cay, approximately three miles long and half-mile wide, my dad John Wesley Lowe was born.

Dad fostered my passion for family history.  His boyhood stories of life on Green Turtle Cay captivated my attention.  Life was unpretentious but entertaining during the 1930’s and 1940’s.  There were no automobiles, no electricity, and certainly no technology.  Dad’s father Howard Lowe died at the age of 29.  A young widowed mother struggled to provide for her son.  The community pitched in to help.  Dad remained grateful to those that encouraged him.  In his journal, Dad noted…

The seventh day of June 1925 was a special day for my parents, Howard & Bessie Lowe.  It was a joyous occasion for them to have a baby boy added to the family.  A name was chosen from each of my grandfathers, John (Lowe)and Wesley (Curry).  It was on a small island located in the northern part of the Bahamas known as Green Turtle Cay chosen by my fore-parents to raise their families for more than two hundred years.

Beside its beauty, there were many good features of the island.  The sandy beaches and beautiful harbours made it convenient for the fisherman to store their boats.  Because of the abundance of seafood, they were able to feed their families.  Fish, lobster and conch were plentiful.  Occasionally, we would have turtle meat for dinner.  With the help of hunting dogs, the men on the island would often catch wild pigs.  It was quite a treat to have pork for a change!

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Earliest photo of Dad John Wesley Lowe
 
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John Wesley Lowe