William and Elsie McGregor (by Kathryn Correia Grossman)
My grandfather, William "Jock" McGregor arrived in Bermuda with the 2nd Argyle and Highlander Battalion from Scotland in 1927. In 1929, His battalion left Bermuda. Due to Jock’s meticulousness he was given orders to remain in Bermuda and was appointed to serve the Governor as his Driver at the age of 19. Jock embraced his duty of chauffeur driving the only car in Bermuda. He had to learn how to repair and service the car qualifying him as a mechanic.
William Jock McGregor imported the first private car into Bermuda. His wife Elsie Tagget McGregor created the first Taxi cab service with this car. She was the first cab driver and the first woman cab driver. Jock opened mechanic shops while his good friends the Ray Brother’s started to import cars. They remained close friends until they passed.
Alabama and Weatherbird - The Town Characters (by Kathryn Correia Grossman)
Notorious town characters such as "Alabama" in St. George is known by everyone. Another notorious Bermuda character was "Weatherbird" who was always clean, neat and drunk, lived on the steps of the docks on front street. Everyone knew Weatherbird. He was always pleasant and friendly to everyone for almost everyday of the year except for Easter Eve, Christmas Eve, and any other Holidays celebrated with a special feast.
On those evenings Weatherbird would intentionally start a public ruckus with someone calling the police. He was arrested and charged with being drunk and disorderly in public. He spent every Christmas and Easter in the police jail cell just to be served Christmas dinner and Easter dinner for many years. The police finally caught on to his act. They told him not to make a scene. They caught on to his little game and they would come and get him every year thereafter so he could get his Christmas Dinner. Everybody knew weatherbird as he was the town character for his whole life. He preferred that life.
Tommy Tucker (by Kathryn Correia Grossman)
Tommy Tucker from Mount Hill, a longshoreman who worked on the docks his whole life, pushed a bike, never rode it, wore ten layers of clothes every day of his life, had a dog named Skipper that went everywhere with him, bathed in the ocean off north shore every day of his life, rain or shine, he striped naked and bathed. He lived in a pump room of the house he built for his mother and sister to live in.
He never had a conversation with anyone. He spoke to everyone he passed by saying, "okay, all right, all right now, okay….." Everyone in the Island knows Tommy Tucker who never missed a day of work, wore all his clothes layered on and bathed daily in the sea with his little black and white terrier named Skipper.
Tommy Tucker - Another Story (by Jody Morris)
I grew up in Bermuda, living on the North Shore of Pembroke. Tommy Tucker lived on top of the hill from my home. In the 1970's, I would be waiting for my school bus to take me to the Navy Base. Tommy would come down the hill on his bicycle, brakes screeching, when he was still about 30 feet up the hill, he would let go of the brakes and zoom out into the street and stop right next to me. (How he never got hit by traffic I'll never know). He would say "excuse me sir, can you tell me the time?" I'd reply with "Good morning Tommy! It's 7:05." He would reply with "Thank You." and keep repeating it at a yell all the way down to Langton's Market. He would take his little terrier 'Skipper' out on the cliff next to my house and fling the dog into the ocean like a Frisbee. Then he would climb down to the shoreline and wait for the dog to swim back in. He loved that dog so much, that was his way of giving the dog a bath. As the dog got old, he started pushing his bike so that Skipper could keep up. Tommy had a heart of gold, he will be missed.
Nina Crane (by Kathryn Correia Grossman)
Nina Crane is a man who served in the army in the 2nd world war. He worked for Meyer’s Tugs in St. George's. He would have a few drinks and would put on his world war2 uniform and march from his home on Buckingham Lane to the square in St George almost every weekend. He’d do salutes and march as he did in the army. On days when there where re-enactment or veteran’s day when the regiment did a performance, Nina Crane joined in and marched right with them.
Then one day an inebriated Nina decided to take the Meyer’s tug boat Captained by Mack Burgess for a little ride. He hopped in the huge steel tug parked at the St George’s dock. He started up this massive tug boat and drove it right through the wooden planked bridge that joined Ordinance Island to the Square. The crash and sound of the breaking wooden planks as he plowed through with this mighty tug woke up people from their sleep. The sound could be heard by all of St. George’s.
Rev Keith Harman - Rector Devonshire Parish, 1940s (by Anne Polhill Walton)
Hi Raj, Keith Harman was my great uncle - my paternal grandmother's brother. Younger than her, I believe, and I know little about him.
What I have been told over the years is that he was a C-of-E Canon and at some stage married and later divorced an American concert pianist, whose name I don't know. He was connected to the leper colony in some way, whether it simply came within his parish or was the main reason for his appointment, I don't know.
I remember meeting him just the once when he came to the UK on leave - I think it would have been 1957/8-ish. He stayed with my grandmother (who lived in the same town as us, near Twickenham) and they came to tea. He brought me one of those plastic funnel things - when you click, a ping pong ball is launched and you have to catch it. I'm sure there's a better way of describing the toy, but you can still buy them and each of my four
sons has had one and now the grandchildren who have started to arrive. Whenever I see one, I think of Keith. I thought he was brilliant because he called me 'kiddo' all the time!
Whilst he was in the UK, there were a lot of parties at my grandparents' house - the Harmans of Keith's generation numbered quite a few. I think there were eleven and my grandmother was certainly the oldest girl, possibly oldest child. The boys had their own football team. During his hols, a Harman brother called Peace (born on the last day of WW-I, I think) died of a heart attack. That was my first experience of death. Peace's son
was a cricketer, played for Surrey and England.
I imagine Keith was back in the UK by the time my grandmother died (1977), but I was living in Montreal then and had just had my first son, so couldn't go to her funeral and possibly meet him again. I don't know when Keith died - just that he lived in a home for retired clergy at the time.
P.S: The fact that he was a talented photographer was interesting too – my cousin, Keith Thompson, who would have been Keith Harman’s great nephew, is an award-winning photographer in the UK.