Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Miss Agnes

When my grandparents, Erva and Paul Boulon, began building a summer home at Trunk Bay on St. John in 1929-30 they required help.

This first building constructed at Trunk Bay, was on the beach. It's where the family lived while the main house was  being built just up the hill.

This picture shows the almost completed main house. The "roof" of the front building, with the two windows and door, had a roof added and it became the Upper Porch. I have no idea who the people are on the beach, a woman and a little girl. The woman could well be Agnes....
One of the people they hired was Agnes Sewer. It was probably Miss Agnes who taught Grammy about acquiring local food and cooking what was available. She became a member of the family, an invaluable person who not only helped Grammy take care of four rowdy children, but who also cooked delicious meals. For if there is one thing Miss Agnes knew how to do, it was cook.

My mother, having three younger brothers, was quite a tomboy. Miss Agnes was concerned about Mom running wild and felt there was need for some feminine influences.

As luck, or the Universe would have it, just over hill at Peter Bay was the perfect candidate. A year older than Mom, Ethlyn Hall had grace and intelligence. Miss Agnes made sure the two girls met and the friendship they form lasted a life time. I'll share a bit about Ethlyn next Monday.

By the time my sister Erva and I came along, Miss Agnes was an elderly lady living in a small house right on the road just outside Cruz Bay near The Pond. She had high check bones, as if there might have been a trace of Native American blood. She seemed ancient to me. More astonishing was that her mother, Miss Missy, lived across the street!
This picture, taken in 1999, is of my mother and Miss Agnes's younger brother , Roy Sewer.  You can see the same cheek bones in him.
Miss Agnes spent her days sitting in a chair in the doorway watching for people as they passed by. If she was there, you had to stop and pay your respects. Greetings and the latest news were exchanged, then, no matter how much you might insist it wasn't necessary, Miss Agnes would shuffle into her kitchen and return with a small brown paper bag containing something to eat. It might be a hard boiled egg, a johnny cake, some cheese and crackers, or a piece of coconut candy. It might be a sandwich. You never knew what you had until you opened the bag. With a hug and kiss, she sent you on your way.

If you were lucky, her mother Miss Missy would NOT be sitting on her porch because if she was you had to go see her too, which wasn't bad, except that she always insisted on "kissing you up," which wasn't bad except that she was quite toothless and her kisses were quite wet.

Some years back as Mom and I sat together reminiscing she said, "I miss Agnes as much as I miss my mother."

Well, if the Universe will have it, I'd like to think that Grammy, Mom, Ethlyn and Miss Agnes are all together in some fabulous kitchen cooking up a feast for the angels.


  1. "I'd like to think that Grammy, Mom, Ethlyn and Miss Agnes are all together in some fabulous kitchen cooking up a feast for the angels."

    This! I have a feeling my mom has also connected with them, sharing good food and stories.

  2. I love that everyone (the ladies that it) is referred to as Miss. It's so sweet and reminds me of an era long past.

  3. I'm sure food in involved! Couldn't handle the toothless, wet kisses though.

  4. Bish, I think it's beyond awesome that you have these pictures, plus all the entertaining stories you've shared about the USVI. Are you writing a memoir or stories that capture these colourful characters and places you share every week?

  5. The angels will be in for a treat. What a lovely story, Bish. Good friends, good food, beautiful setting. You were so lucky to have all of this in your young life.

  6. Absolutely priceless. Truly needed this today, as yesterday was a ' low point' oft life in the VI. Only ace to go is up. Great pics.

  7. I love reading about your experiences on St. John. Miss Agnes sounds like she was quite amazing. I love how she'd give visitors a paper bag with a treat! All of these people would be great characters in a book. Have you written a story about them yet? I'll look forward to learning about Ethlyn next month. Oh, and funny about Miss Missy "kissing you up" with her sloppy, toothless kisses! LOL!

  8. Lovely, touching story. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love your stories! Oh, yeah, I've told you that before. But I love your stories!

  10. What a beautiful post! Miss Agnes sounds like a special woman who touched the hearts of those who knew her and those that heard stories of her. This sounds like it could be the background for a book. :)


  11. Sounds wonderful. I'm sure you miss all of them every day.

  12. Miss Agnes sounds wonderful. Everyone needs a Miss Agnes in their life!

  13. You made Miss Agnes come alive in this blog post, Bish. What a nice tribute. She sounds like such a special lady. I bet she is cooking up a feast for the angels.

  14. Miss Agnes sounds like a wonderful woman. This is a beautiful post. It reminds me of people who had an influence on me and my parents long ago.

  15. wonderful memories of what sounds like an amazing lady :)

  16. Interesting family history. Let me know if you want to do a guest post on my memoir blog.

    Tossing It Out


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!