Christmas Eve Day And Back To The Tropics...With Such Sweet Memories Of 1983
It's Sunday, Christmas Eve Day, and I just found out that the rest of my family is going for a nine day stay to St. Maarten, which is in the eastern caribbean. I spent a wonderful ten days there on our company's trip in 1983. Back into my memories, if you wish to go.......
We took a group of customers, furniture store owners who sold our bedding and wanted to go on a ten day getaway. Most were returning customers who'd gone on other company trips and who realized that a good time with the best food and lodging was guaranteed for all. A large group of around 65 people jetted out of Boston non-stop to St. Maarten. I took a different route. SSSHHHH, I always try to. I planned it so that I could join my parents down in St. Croix, one of three US Virgin islands, a week before we were due to arrive in St. Maarten. My parents had a wonderful house on that island, an island never far from my heart, from 1974 until Hurricane Hugo in that awful Autumn 1989 blew the house down. Literally....but that's another story written in an earlier post. St. Croix is 81 miles east of the eastern tip of Puerto Rico and 40 miles south of its more famous USVI, St. Thomas, and roughly a 45 minute flight east and north on a small plane to St. Maarten.
I was tanned and looking every bit an islander by the time our small plane touched down at the airport, on a runway that starts right at the beach as even the big jets virtually skim the tops of the ocean's waves. Beautiful.
The highlight of my 10 days there, other than the unbelievable beaches, one a nude beach (no-i didn't go, but my sis-in-law wanted to) and delicious food was meeting two young ladies who I remained friends with for many years, one to this very day! The hotel next to ours was a Sheraton, not a huge tall building but a series of beautiful "on the beach" dwellings surrounding a wonderful casino. I love blackjack-these were the days before Texas Hold-em. After a great dinner I headed to the casino for the first time (it was only our second night there) and took a tour of the tables, deciding to join one that only had two people playing the cards. Two beautiful ladies...I'm no dummy! We all said hi, and they asked me where I was from. I'll never for the rest of my life forget the look on their faces when I said Connecticut--their jaws dropped, their eyes opened wide, all that stuff. And I knew we were all about the same age, and it turns out that Joanne was 21 and Cindy, my friend to this day, was 24. And they were both nurses from the New Haven CT. area. Wow! From that night on, we were a threesome (not that kind of threesome), gambling, sunning, dinnering, and when it came to alone time Cindy always knew when to make herself scarce. For I was smitten with Joanne, angel face with vibrant eyes and chestnut hair. An angel on earth, I thought. Before they departed for the mainland, I promised I would take them both to see Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. Bruce was rumored to be working on an album due out in the early summer of '84, and I knew he would tour. That album turned out to be BORN IN THE USA, and we all know how big that was. It made him a world-wide American entertainer. And Billy Joel was touring every year, and about to meet Christie Brinkley. And I also knew that concert tickets were an easy thing for me, and I mean GREAT seats, no more than seven rows back. You see, a good friend was, and still is, one of the leading promoters here in Connecticut. The St. Maarten trip was in November of 1983, and darned if the three of us didn't go to see Billy Joel in New Haven, where Jo and Cindy were nurses at the time. We sat right next to Christie in the fourth row. And Cindy turned out to be just as big a Bruce fan as I, and we saw him in Hartford in September '84 and Providence in January '85 on his magnificent Born in the USA tour, a tour that lasted more than a year. I'll never forget her shining green eyes, making my greens look almost dull.
And now it's 2006. December 24th, in fact. I just opened up Cindy and her husband Roby's Christmas card, and the memories came flooding back. And they're doing well! I lost touch with Joanne in 1990 or sometime near that.
But just writing what was supposed to be a short post has filled me with the smiling warm fuzzies. I hope my brother and sister-in-law and my niece and two nephews have a wonderful time on that so beautiful island. You see, I have many memories that dot the St. Maarten landscape. memories that will live in my heart until my last breath. One is scripted on a small buoy just 20 feet from the beach, a place where Jo and I "anchored" our raft, enjoying the water-reflected sun, and we actually signed that little white buoy. I forgot what we wrote, but I'd bet my life that whatever it was, it reflected in words how happy we were.
Merry Christmas everyone. I'm so glad you read this little piece of such a happy time for me, in the autumn of 1983. A good time. And now, in 2006, I have you, my readers. And happy times are back. Cyn reads my blog once in a while....and she still looks great! Enjoy the holiday, and I'll be back tomorrow. I hope I brought you smiles. I'd love to hear your comments, too. And I wish I had told my nephew to find that little buoy, just outside the swimming area, recognizable instantly by me. I wonder.........is it still there? I'd like to think so. And if a floatable piece of white plastic tethered to the sandy ocean bottom could talk, well, my world would be a better place. But me complaining? No way.
Be well...love every one of you....I do!!