Last Friday, on my way to a radio station, I stopped by St. Agnes’ Church to pay my last respects to one of the last Bahamian gentlemen to pass on. Harold Munnings Sr. was part of my life from childhood. His daughter Carol was in my grade at school and we had been friends forever. I knew and loved the house in Danottage, and our visits there were always punctuated by the appearance of Mr. Munnings, whose presence was calming and gentle and made everyone feel welcomed and loved. If Carol and Harry had a reputation for looniness (and yes, Carol and Harry, you did), we loved them anyway. They were grounded in love and respect and the kind of broughtupcy that stemmed from Harold and Gweneth.
I start with a memory of Mr. Munnings because of Harry. I can’t say how much his personal memoir, Westward, affected me. Harry is only a year or two older than I am and he published that book before he was fifty — far too early, I thought, to be thinking that you have anything to remember worth sharing with the public. Until I read the book, that is. And then I realized that Harry was right. The times in which we grew up, the times in which we were raised, are ashes and dust today, and what’s more, they are times about which the majority of Bahamians know nothing. So yes, we members of the independence generation, those of us who were children who stood up on the field on July 9 1973 to watch flags fall and rise, we may well have an obligation to start writing. Who knows? Memoir may help us heal a little.
So I’ll start, here on this blog. This is going to be the messy part of memoir. It isn’t going to have any real order beyond that which springs to my mind on (I hope) a weekly basis. Maybe one day I’ll take a leaf out of Harry’s book and, well, put it in a book, but that will take organization and thought and art. In the meantime, a jumble.