As have many other people in recent days, the members of the Adolph Gereau family would like to pay their respects to the memory of Ariel Melchior Sr. My grandfather and Ariel Melchior met each other about 85 years ago – first as a hardworking, odd-jobbing street urchin who lived back of town with his mother from Anguilla, and then again as a very diligent young printer's apprentice.
When the newspaper and print shop closed, Ariel turned to a number of relatives and town businessmen without success. He then made an approach to my grandfather. At the time many people were unemployed or living on casual labor, hand to mouth. More people were giving up and moving to the United States than were staying. My grandfather found in Ariel someone else who preferred staying and felt the islands might have a great future.
Rather than put up his own money and run the risk of bad feelings, my grandfather cosigned a loan for the equivalent of three weeks of his income. With this Ariel paid a Puerto Rican printer to publish a brochure that he sold to tourists. With the money he made he bought a used press in Puerto Rico. As the print shop and newspaper took off, the bank excused grandfather from the guarantee.
Most people would say that with the risk of the loan discharged they had completed their own personal obligation. Instead, Ariel never let a major project occur in our family without giving us moral support, advice or financial assistance. Grandfather also worked part-time for the newspaper. When I asked why each anniversary issue of the newspaper included a tribute to my grandfather, I was told that it saved him from moving to the States. He would probably have succeeded anywhere.
Thank you, Ariel; we will miss you.
I would also like to salute Izzy, while he is still alive, for what he meant to my grandfather.
and the Adolph Gereau Family
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ADOLPH GEREAU FAMILY PAYS TRIBUTE TO MELCHIOR
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