Monday, June 28, 2010

Greetings from paradise

Greetings from lovely Sugar City! Today I am posting this blog from the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Kitts: Sugar City or SKB as it is affectionately called. St. Kitts is the country of my birth and the setting of my novella, “From SKB with Love” in the Holiday Brides anthology. I have been able once again to walk the streets of this beautiful island, reconnect with friends and family, and even meet new people. And yes, the beaches and the food are to die for.

Though the primary purpose of my visit was to attend a wedding and participate in a family reunion, many other activities are occurring at this time of year in SKB. The St. Kitts music festival has just concluded, and I had the opportunity to see Kenny “Baby Face” Edmunds perform. Other activities that highlighted the delicious local cuisine and local talents were happening around this time. And yes I am having tremendous fun frolicking in the crystal clear calm waters of the Caribbean Sea.

From a business perspective, I have even been able to arrange for a local book store, NR Sales and Services, to carry my books.

It is a great but bittersweet … bittersweet because of the changes that I see. In the few short years since I last visited the island, tremendous development has occurred. New roads and housing developments that just a few years ago were sugar cane fields (Hence the moniker “Sugar City”) dot the landscape. Services have improved dramatically, and communications parallel the United States. Yet I find myself filled with nostalgia for what was.

Take for example my old neighborhood. When I arrived there, the dilapidation of the houses in that area that was once the premier suburb almost brought me to tears. Most of the original homeowners on my block that I knew while growing up had already passed away. Many of their children and grand children had migrated, leaving properties either abandoned, or in the hands of renters who did not treat the homes as the owners would.
Though I know that development is essential for tourism, the new major economy of the island, I still long for the unspoiled, under-developed St. Kitts where I grew up. I missed the people who shaped me. And I had to face the cold reality that you can’t go back. So now I’ve made up my mind to embrace the new (and improved?) St. Kitts, development and all.

I know this has nothing to do with writing or writing life, but what the heck, I’m on vacation.


Charles Gramlich said...

Very little of any natural space seems left unspoiled these days. I empathize with your experience.

KeVin K. said...

I'm a native of a rural, coastal Florida that now can only be found in early Travis McGee novels. I left the year Disney arrived; my parents and brother soon after.

When our kids were growing up and Valerie and I took them on the obligatory hajj to Walt Disney World every few years, my wife and children imposed an ironclad rule: Below Jax I was not allowed to say anything about how Florida had been different in the 60s.
The last time we went down -- 2002, I think -- I discovered whatever may remain of the pink cinder-block house on the lakeshore in which I grew up was hidden behind the huge stucco wall of a gated estate. My father's orange grove had become a development of shoulder-to-shoulder half-million-dollar "villas." (Though I suppose with the real estate crash, they're only point-four-million-dollar villas now.)

I love the Florida of my youth. I could not live in the Florida of today.

I understand your feelings. I hope you can remain connected to the spirit of your home even as its appearance changes.

Liane Spicer said...

Hello neighbour! I'll get to your island one day soon!

I know the nostalgia of which you speak - as a matter of fact I sometimes go on at length on my personal blog about the (to me) undesirable changes, aka 'development', here in Trinidad. It's a bit sad to realize that my future grandchildren will never see the Caribbean I knew growing up. I suppose every generation must feel this way; lately I've been paying attention to my mother's stories of the Trinidad she knew long before I was born - even those I've heard 100 times already. Maybe I'll be able to preserve some of it in my stories.