(Aurora, Illinois, USA)
Our family started visiting Anguilla in 1981...
Mallihouana was just being built... no fancy villas and few tourists. In fact, we were identified and recognized around the island as the young American couple with two children, not to be confused with the older British couple or the family of Gumbs’ relatives from New Jersey.
We stayed in one of Maurice Connor's Easy Corner Cottages in Blowing Point. He had been our pilot from St. Martin and he also rented us a car.
The caretaker at Easy Corner Cottages went by the name "Jimmy Lime". Along with the key limes from his own tree, he would bring a bucket of “soldier” crabs for our children to crab race across our front porch. I don't really remember if "Jimmy Lime" was his given name or one we gave him, but he became one of our families' favorite-shared memories.
It was a happy time 29 years ago, spent in a beautiful location with wonderful people.
Last year we returned to Anguilla. Why so long between visits? Our family moved from New Jersey to the Chicago area where flights to Anguilla were more difficult and we found it simpler to get to St. John, USVI.
Anguilla, however, was always in our hearts.
We stayed in a bigger villa, Grand Outlook Castle, to accommodate grandchildren and daughter-in-law.
We spent most of our time relaxing on the gorgeous Anguilla beaches, snorkeling in crystal water and basically reveling in nature's beauty.
We also tried to revisit places and people we had seen 29 years ago.
Alas, "Jimmy Lime" is no longer alive but Maurice Conner is definitely still around. We dropped by Connor’s Rental and spoke at length to Dorothea, his wife, who cut her lunch break short for us and kindly indulged our reminiscences. We all laughed that the weekly rental in 1981 for our "villa" was $158.
As we traveled around the island we were offered friendly advice on everything from where to get the best Anguillian BBQ, find the best homegrown tomatoes or get to the best beach.
If it looked like we were having trouble finding a place, someone would stop us and ask if they could assist. Random acts of kindness seem to be common in Anguilla.
We reconnected with Timothy Hodge who had locked up The Anguilla Drug Store 29 years ago to take us to Little Bay, a beach we were unable to locate but were told was beautiful.
We had asked him about the beach and even though he was the only one tending the store, he enthusiastically volunteered to close it and show us how to get there.
The sight of Little Bay, its cliffs and beach was spectacular. Tim was right to be proud of this beach and his island. We had been so impressed by his desire to help visitors share his passion for that spot.
We learned that Timothy Hodge is now head of the Anguilla Social Security. When he heard that we were in The Drug Store last year, he joined us to talk and exchange e-mail addresses. Timothy’s passion for Little Bay and Anguilla has not changed.
Much has changed physically on Anguilla since our first trip.
However, the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and the friendliest, most genuine people have not.
We will be back next month. Hope the “soldier” crabs are ready!
Nori's Reply: Isn't that fun?... Eric wrote a wonderful story of his first trip to Anguilla, his subsequent Honeymoon trip, (without Mom), and then the entire family trip years later.
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