January 29, 2008

I scanned Mother's photos of the Richmond Pen and put them up on Flickr. They are the last four photos in the Jamaica album - three of the Pen and one of Mom, Noel, and Rowley lying on the lawn there.

Mom said five complete families lived in that house simultaneously - her grandparents and several of her aunts and uncles, with spouses and children! She tells of the fun it was, growing up with all the cousins to play with, of an aunt who was not normal and who was kept in private rooms, and of her Grandpa, Simon Soutar, sitting in his office on the top floor - it was the only room - and looking through his spyglass towards Kingston harbor when one of his ships was due.

Here's what she wrote about living there (the "family" consisted of Simon, Jessie, and 10 children):

"The family at first lived at Temple Hall, in the mountains of St. Andrew, a 1200 acre estate about 25 miles from Kgn. When the children became of school age, he bought Richmond Pen, 100 acres about 5 miles from Kingston , near the little village of Half-Way-Tree . On this estate was the foundations of the farm house, two-feet thick stone walls enclosing a cobbled floor. The interior was divided into several compartments with [?????] doors and windows - all surrounded by a cobbled walk-way edged by thick stone arches. Upon this foundation Grandpa built, pagoda-like, 3 storeys containing 10 bedrooms, large dining room, drawing room & another room he called the front piazza. This opened on to the veranda which encircled this first storey.
"I spend the first 20 years of my life in this house, which I will try to describe.
"When I was about 8 yrs Grandpa died. He had been for his early morning walk around the estate apparently, felt ill, and lay down under one of the trees. The dog that accompanied him ran barking back & forth. My brother, Noel, followed the dog to Grandpa. He passed on peacefully, his hat over his face. He had no religious affiliation & is buried in the cemetery of St. Andrew Parish Church at Half Way Tree."

For a class she took, mom wrote an account of weathering a hurricane at the Pen.

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