07 February 2012


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 07 February 2012

"Don't tell a woman she's pretty; tell her there's no other woman like her, and all roads will open to you." Jules Renard

About fifteen years ago a friend, who'd just gone through a messy divorce, asked a handful of us at work--on a morning break--an interesting question. His query, "Guys, do you know what the difference is between a beautiful woman and a beautiful dog?"

Well, there's the obvious but his question was clearly deeper. His expression was not telling. He waited. And patiently waited a bit more. We thought a few moments, looked at each, and one finally said he wasn't sure where he was going with the question. Then came the answer. He said, "It's simple, a beautiful dog doesn't know it's beautiful."


I don't know about the others but I recall thinking, 'I dunno, I've seen some pretty uppity dogs in my day,' but didn't bother arguing the point because that wasn't the point. He merely needed to get something off his mind and did.

Without another word, he smiled, turned, and went back to his cube. And that was that. Maybe it was some insight as to what happened with his marriage--don't know, no one asked.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Commentary (http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2012/01/good-ghosts-of-abaco.html) titled 'Good Ghosts of Abaco.' The true story centered around an old-school boatbuilder of Abaco dinghies (and other boats) who lives on Man-O-War Cay and a pretty woman named Violet, from Hope Town on Elbow Cay (a 20 minutes motor boat ride between the two tiny cays--no known connection between the two people) but whereabouts today unknown, whose photograph has haunted me for nearly a decade.

Violet's photograph, taken sometime in the early 50s, I'm guessing, hangs on a west facing wall in a cozy corner in the dining room of the historic Hope Town Harbour Lodge. For the past eight years I've made it a point to dine at the lodge and to visit the walls of photographs of Hope Town (and cay) history and study the intriguing black and white of Violet.

When posting that Commentary I did not have a photograph of that photograph of Violet. And since, as I figured would happen, requests to see that photograph have continued to roll in. Dopey me. I don't know why but I'd never thought to take a photograph of her photograph--it just never occurred to me.

So my wife called on friends back on Elbow Cay for a favor--asking if they'd please drop by the lodge and take a photograph of a photograph for me. With only a brief description, they knew exactly which one. A photograph of Violet's photograph arrived Sunday--on my iPhone which I sent to my iPad to save as a jpg file and crop for presentation. Amazing considering there was a day not so long ago, long after the telephone was invented and commonplace, the cay relied on telegraph for communication.

Until recently, all I knew about Violet was that noted below her photograph--her name; she was born in 1923; and she married Carroll Russell.

Searching the Internet in hopes of stumbling on something about her, I found a website dedicated to Bahamas genealogy. Not finding anything about Violet, I sent the site's point of contact, Peter, a note asking for help. He replied promptly saying he'd get back to me in a day or so. True to his word, a day or so later he came back with a few tidbits.

Violet was the daughter of Louis Lowe and Doris Roberts. I know nothing about Louis and Doris but it'd be a safe bet Louis was a fisherman or a boatbuilder, and Doris a hard-working woman who had her hands full raising children on the tiny cay. Violet, Peter felt, was born in Hope Town. Cynthia--meaning moon goddess--was her middle name. Peter also discovered she had at least two younger siblings born in 1931 and 1933. There was no mention if Violet had older siblings nor the names or gender(s) of her known siblings. And most disappointing, there was nothing about the life she led. With her movie star looks, I still wonder.

Peter asked if I'd send along her photograph--I did, on Sunday, within an hour of receiving it. He came back with "Wow!" and asked if he could share it with others in the genealogy group. Of course. Maybe he, or someone, will be able to find more about this mysterious Bahamian woman. Maybe.

And so the wait continues--in hopes a reader, knowing something about Violet, will stumble on this Commentary and come forward. You never know. There's always a chance.

Case in point--a few weeks ago, out of the blue one morning, a Navy JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer sent me an email. It just so happened during the course of some routine legal review he came across the case of a young Marine who'd gotten himself into a heap of trouble--big trouble and paid an even bigger price for it. Curious as to how the young Marine had gotten to that point in life, he Googled his name. One of the top results of his search was a Commentary I'd written a couple of years ago about that very Marine. The JAG, thinking I'd be interested, sent me the update. It was not so good. But I was not surprised (since promotion to 1stLt and a few months of tarnish on the silver bars nothing has surprised me) though surely disappointed. Regardless, I'm glad I know.

So, the Internet has shrunk the world. You never know. You just never know. Standing by, Peter. Or anyone.

I suppose Renard was correct, there's no other woman like Violet. But she is pretty, is she not?  Most likely many a man, and some women and children, told her so--though motives differed.

And I wonder if Violet knew she was beautiful? And if she was as beautiful, or more so, inside? Her calm, confident expression, though only an instant in time, seems to suggest such. She comes across as warm--as inviting, at least to me.

Did you notice "love it" is an anagram of Violet?

  Violet b: 1923

Post Script

Might Violet be alive? Possibly. More to come--maybe. 

Author's Endnote

Thank you to the woman, like no other, who coordinated the photo of Violet's photo. And likewise to the woman who took the photo and sent it along. Appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A timeless beauty.