A YANKEE IN THE WEST INDIES

My 3 children, (and I) were quite young when my husband (at the time) ) decided to go on his first overseas job.

there was so much to do! Rent out the house, sell the car, get rid of clothes, toys, furniture, etc. Also…..get shots,get passports, PASSPORTS! I did not have sole custody of two of my children.

That worked out, I did it by writing to their father and I got the paperwork for the adoption by return mail. It is amazing what you can accomplish when under pressure and when you are excited about a new life venture ahead.

The adoption was finalized, the house was rented out, the car was sold, the injections were given, and my husband decided to go on ahead of us and start his job. So I was left with 3 children all under 8 years old, and it was my job to make final arrangements

American Pipe Co. was a great company, as I remember. I was sent 4 1st class tickets for Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, and we were soon off. The only thing I can remember about the flight is that the stewardess offered my young children wine with their dinners, after all, it was a first class flight. I, of course, declined, but drank some myself.

I can remember staying in the Trinidad Hilton, as guests of American Pipe co. for a time, until we were transported to the town of San Fernando, where we stayed in a hotel until we found a suitable house. The house we found, was on a form of stilts, and the rooms were grossly painted in bright colors, such as yellow, green and purple. Our landlords were of East Indian nationality, and their religion was Hindu. Apparently they were low casts, because when the Mrs. came to visit, she was accompanied by a low casts young girl who carried her purse and packages. It was certainly a new life for me !

We found a school for the children, but it was some distance away, so we had to hire a driver to take them and pick them up. Quite often, they were very late getting home and it did worry me. We eventually found out that the driver we had hired had TWO families, and the reason he often ran late was because he stopped to visit his (other) family.

I remember we were invited to a New Year’s Eve party by my husband’s native union leader. He also had two wives, and I was quite interested that the new, young wife took care of the children while the older wife danced with the husband.
This was also very strange to me….me, who is descended from a Mormon polygamist with several wives and many, many children.

Yes, then we were transferred to Port of Spain,  where we had a much nicer house, and schools were available for the children. We had a maid in San Fernando, named Agatha. I was quite fond of her and invited her to come and work for us in Port of Spain. I cannot remember the details, but it didn’t work out;  so.  after a time, we had to let her go. We had quite a time finding a good maid, but finally found Dorothy, who had 11 children, but she was afraid to go to the dentist. I remember I had an old sewing machine and was trying to learn to sew, and Dorothy happily took all my hopeless articles I tried to make. I often wonder what happened to Dorothy. I wrote to her for a time, but eventually lost track of her. I do remember she thought I looked like Doris Day.

There was a young Trinidadian teenager of East Indian descent, who my husband befriended while working on the pipeline. His name was Premnaut. and he visited our home quite often. For a time, we considered bringing him back to the U.S. with us, but eventually decided it was not a good idea. He was heartbroken, and I have always been sad about the outcome of his life, and I wonder if we made the right decision.

WHERE WERE YOU      NOVEMBER 22, 1963 ????

Where were you when you heard the news that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?  I was visiting friends who had a home down on the beach.  We could not believe it and  we were all devastated

Unlike the millions of American living in the U.S.A., we could not watch the news about the assisination,  but we have seen parts of it since we have been back.

CONCLUSION

My children and  remember (faintly,) our years in Trinidad with fondness.  There were some great times and we had some great friends.  I have to chuckle when I remember the accents my little girls came back with.  How I wish we had video cameras in those days!

Thank you for reading my post about living in Trinidad.  I have enjoyed writing it, and it brought back many happy memories.

Janice Gustafson

May 29, 2019

A YANKEE IN AUSTRALIA

 

Much of this post may be redundant and irrelevant, since my life in Australia occurred many years ago, (1968, 1969,1970, 1971).  My children are now adults, with children and grandchildren of their own.

But my life in Australia is still vivid in my memory, and I am confident that writing a post about it will make it remain even more vividly.

THE FLIGHT

My children and I  were joined in the flight by my good friend (deceased) Jean Morley and her boys, Tom and Troy.  The long layover in Honolulu was pleasant, and we spent it entertaining our children with sightseeing and shopping.

CANBERRA

The 7 of us  arrived in Canberra, exhausted, travel worn and jetlagged, to find that my husband, Bob, already had a long list of friends and a busy social life.  Why was I surprised?

That night, (the night of our arrival) Bob had a dinner planned at the hotel where he had been staying.  He had hired the chef from the hotel, Axel Nielsen, to be the office manager at the project.  Axel and his wife Jo, became very good friends.   I am now friends on Facebook with their son, Mark Nielsen, and we chat quite often.

I sort of “collapsed” during the dinner party and had to be taken go my room, due to exhaustion.

THE DINNER PARTY   and my gaffe

After the first week in Canberra, I was settled enough to plan a dinner party for our new friends, and our old friends, the Morley’s.

Our conversation during dinner turned to plans for attending the coming rodeo.  I made the statement that “I was going to the rodeo to ROOT for the cowboys.”  There were giggles and raised eyebrows all around the table, and I was informed that “root” was absolutely the  worst word that could be uttered in Australia.  It was compared to the “f” word in the US.  I was quite horrified and my  husband was not amused.  My first lesson in Aussie language.

By this time we were settled in Canberra and my children were settled in schools.

Canberra is (was) a beautiful city;  it is the capitol of Australia, and it is well-planned and well-managed.  As an example, when you buy a new home. you are furnished plants and shrubs by the government.

I am basically a confirmed conservative, but I will admit that the free schools, free medical and other socialistic offers, were rather nice.  But, I remain a conservative Republican.

Our life in Canberra consisted of social gatherings with our friends, some nightlife with dancing, picnics, trap shooting and horse races.

NAIVE RACEHORSE OWNERS

We were part owners of a horse, “Chips” or “Woodcut” was his racing name.  If I remember correctly, we leased him with 4 others.  He was a great horse and he won some races, but we found out the trainer was rather shady and we were naïve owners.  We had a good reason to have him lose his license, because he raced  him in Sydney under his own name.  but a lawsuit was expensive and the other owners declined to participate, so we let it go.

We still loved the horse races.  We were members of the racing club and attended often.  I always wore heels, a dress, and quite often, a hat.  Those were the glamorous days!!

One interesting note about the jockeys in Australia.  They are like movie  stars or rock stars in the U.S.  Everyone knows their names and most Australians seem to know their various “standings” in the records.

HAY THERE !

As we became settled in Australia, Dick Morley and Bob became very interested and quite proficient in trapshooting.

Arrangements were made for us to attend the Nationals in the outback town of Hay, and reservations were made for our families at a hotel.  The trip to Hay was long, but interesting.  We saw a few trees and quite a few kangaroos.

THE HOTEL

We were quite dismayed by the hotel. It was quite old and not very clean.  The bathrooms were down the hall.  We sat at the same tables for every meal and we were expected to use the same serviette “napkin” for all meals, no matter if it became soiled.  I believe it was “The Commercial Hotel”.

BUT the 5 children loved the hotel.  They could run through the halls with no problems and make all the noise they wanted.

THE PICNIC

         

At this time in our lives, we were heavily into playing bridge, and we spent many hours with the Morleys, playing bridge and smoking cigarettes.  Note:  I have not smoked for 40 years….just sayin’.

We spent our time at the lovely picnic playing bridge while sitting around a big empty spool,  The chlidren were playing peacefully and life was good.

THE COMPETITION AND THE CAR

Bob and Dick Morley were entered in the trapshoot for the winning of a new car.  They shot for what seemed like hours,  and Jean and I were constantly buyinb and bringing them more shells.  They eventually won the competition  and I cannot remember the year or the make of the car.   I do remember they sold it and split the money, and we all came out quite well.

SUMMARY

We spent 4 1/2 years in Australia.  We bought a home, started a rental business, became permanent residents, but homesickness for the USA prompted our return. The kids and I returned on a cruise ship (that is another story), and Bob and the dog came later.

We loved living in Australia and will forever cherish our memories of our time there.

.Thank you for reading my  post.

Janice Gustafson  , May 31, 2019.

MICHAEL FATALI, PHOTOGROPHER

I have known Michael Fatali for years.  We were, at one time, closely connected because I was in a long time relationship with his father, Vic Fatali.

I recall one incident when I was visiting at Michael’s beautiful home in Page, Arizona.  I woke up to music. it was Michael and his father playing and improvising on their guitars, and it was so haunting and beautiful.  I will never forget it.

Michael occasionally visited me at my cabin  in Willow Basin, Utah, (close to Moab).  He visited several times, and he always wore his camping gear and his  hiking boots, as he was always ready to hike the surrounding areas and choose spots for his spectacular photos.

I do remember that, at one time, Michael left a young man at my cabin, with a vague promise to return  for him shortly.   I cannot remember the young man’s name, and to tell the truth, I had forgotten all about him until I started composing this post.

He was a very nice young man, I believe he was a student of photography.  He liked to eat, and I enjoyed cooking for him.

But, as time went on, he and I began looking for him to get a way to get out of there.  AND…please be aware, because  I learned the hard way.  There is no way out of Moab, if you are going to Page, Arizona, which is where he wanted to go.

There is no train, there is no bus, it was too hot to hitch hike.The only way out we could find was for him to take a bus to Vegas, then take  a bus to Phoenix, then  from there, to try  to get to  Page.

I finally came up with a solution, (which is my habit.)  I called Michael Fatali and told him  I would drive the young man (nameless still), to Kayenta, Arizona and that we would meet him at Burger King.  Michael agreed, he showed up there, and that is what we did.

I  do not remember much about the  nameless young man, but I  do remember that he went out hiking in the beautiful  LaSal Mountains every day.  I remember he would be gone for hours, and that he wore very nice hiking boots.

 

 

Michael is a spectacular photographer, and I am lucky enough to have two of his posters, given to me and mounted, by his father.

I must tell all readers, that Michael Fatali now has a gallery in Park City, Utah.  I have not been there, but I am sure it is beautiful. I visited his galleries in Utah and Nevada, and they were very  tastefully decorated, yet so beautiful.  I sincerely hope that Michael and I  can renew our friendship some day.

I have not been  able to post a sample of Michael’s spectacular photos here, but they are available for viewing on Wikamedia, and also on Michael’s web site.

Thank you for reading my post.

Janice Kirk Gustafson

2/25/19

I have visited Michael’s galleries in Page, Arizona,  in Springddale Utah, (close to Zion National Park). and in Las Vegas, Nevada.  They were all artitiscally designed and decorated by Michael

Michael’s gallery is now in Park City, Utah.  I no longer have family in Salt Lake, but I am hoping to get to Park City to visit with Michael there.  I miss him.