I read the unfortunate story of the Frederiksted family who returned to the states after twelve years. It is disheartening to know such experiences can happen. Recently, I met a merchant in Michigan who said she would never return to St. Thomas because of how rudely she was treated by other merchants when she was visiting the island. I told her that I rarely hear that and am so sorry for her experience.
I have lived here eight years and have been coming here for 27 years. Our church, All Saints, has been a real family to us, and we are two of the few whites who belong. Father Brooks, Dean of the Cathedral, is from the Dominican Republic, and we consider him family. He even surprised us and flew at his own expense to marry us at Grace Episcopal Church in Utica, NY, two years ago. Charles Stephens, Maintenance Supervisor/Assistant Property Manager at Mahogany Run Condo Association, is a West Indian who couldn't be more honest, hardworking, knowledgeable and good to us if he tried. He is a real friend.
I could go on and on with the wonderful people we treasure from the islands.
Yes, we have experienced "attitude" and inefficiency – especially with Innovative, WAPA, Ft. Milner Branch of Banco Popular, postal service – but a few weeks back in the states reminds us that there is plenty of that from whites in the states, too. Unfortunately, I have to return to the island in order to renew my driver's license this month before my birthday because motor vehicles said it absolutely couldn't be done more than a month early – how absurd, so I'm not happy to cut short our time in the states for that reason.
But on balance, knowing there are good and bad people of all races, we would find it hard to tear ourselves away from the islands. I hope "no choice" will find peace in the states.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org.