The memories and photos in this section were very generously contributed by Judy Newell.   Judy, a Canadian who's father was the manager of Royal Bank of Canada and who also served as British Vice-Consul during the war years, lived in Maracaibo until 1947. Her family continued to live in Caracas from 1948 to 1954. Thus the period of time covered was an interesting one, and one which is getting increasingly more difficult to find information about as time continues its inexorable march forward.

Not only has Judy contributed photos, but she also included a series of 43 prints, complete as originally published (in, I believe, the early 1940's), entitled “Rincones Coloniales y Tipos Populares Venezolanos” by artist Sanchez Felipe.  I consider these to be a precious find, a gem, a true Venezuelan treasure in each depiction of the beautiful scenery that's so typical of Venezuela that many of us remember so well.

All of us owe Judy a debt of gratitude for entrusting me with her irreplaceable photos & prints so that they could be digitized, allowing us to share her story, her photos, and her magnificent prints here.


 

 

Time and tide have done little to diminish my memories of Venezuela, the country I called 'home' for eighteen years of my life. My father, Murray W. Newell, was a “bluenose” from Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. His forebears were United Empire Loyalists who relocated to that maritime province from Massachusetts in the 1770's He chose a banking career as a means to travel and see parts of the world where his ancestors had dropped anchor in the windjammer days before steam replaced sails and power was generated by wind and ocean currents.

His banking posts took him to Georgetown, British Guiana, where he met and married Rona Sadler in 1919. After sojourns in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, he was transferred to Maracaibo around 1925. My brother, Peter, and I were welcomed into the Newell family as adoptees in 1938. 1 was four and Peter was just a year old. My earliest memories are those of living in El Milagro at “Vista de Lago” on the waterfront. From there we moved to “Los Robles” in Las Delicias, and finally, to 246 Bella Vista, which I have been able to pin-point on Doug Becker's map of Maracaibo. Our house faced La Hoyada and the Iglesia Las Mercedes.

I was not a VOB although the “brat” sobriquet undoubtedly applied. My Dad was the manager of the Royal Bank of Canada, and from 1940 until 1945 he also served as British Vice-Consul. When I first contacted Oster Bayne and provided some brief family history, he got out his birth certificate and discovered that it had been signed by my father. The vice-consul post was a non-remunerative one in his case and was my father's means of contributing to the war effort. He never spoke of the duties it entailed and from comments from my mother,

this would have been a breach in any case due to constraints dictated by the British Official Secrets Act. I do recall that he was frequently called away at odd hours to meet a courier at the airport or to report to the Consulate to decipher incoming cables.
 

We were acutely aware of the European conflict in those years. So many of us had relatives in the UK and occupied countries. Our imaginations were undoubtedly fueled by movies and the March of Time newsreels viewed at the Lago outdoor movie site. We played a lot of war games and imagined enemy spies lurking behind every bush. I took it very personally when the Lady Hawkins ship was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat in 1942. My first ocean voyage was on the Lady Hawkins in 1938 when Mother, Peter and I sailed from Halifax to Barbados where I met my brand-new father and maternal grandparents for the first time. I was only four but have vivid memories of that trip and the kindnesses bestowed upon us by the captain and crew.

My mother was very involved in the AWRO - the Allied War Relief Organization. The mothers from all of the oil camps worked tirelessly to contribute handmade goods for the many raffles and bazaars that were held to raise funds for overseas relief agencies. Our Venezuelan friends were significant contributors to that cause ... Savoy chocolates, Alfa ice cream, La Botica Nueva, Comercial Belloso, and countless others. I have a cookbook that was compiled by the Ladies of the Lago in 1941, the proceeds of which went to the Red Cross. Apart from the delicious recipes, it is a documentary in a sense as it lists the names of the contributors and their state or country of origin. I am going to send the book to Oster for copying. Among my treasures are many letters from abroad acknowledging receipt of the funds we raised ... from Bernardo Homes, the Netherlands Red Cross branch in London, Priestley Nurseries (whose chairman was J.B. Priestley, noted British novelist and playwright) ... the envelopes still bear the “opened and examined by..” censor's seals. One note from the Reverend S. Kaye-Parry of Maracaibo reads “Thank you, Judy and Peter Newell, for the sum of Bs. 172, your birthday party present for poor children who have lost their mummies and daddies and have no home.” In lieu of presents we had asked our guests to bring monetary contributions ... I'm quite certain this was our parent's idea and not a noble gesture that arose out of any inborn sense of altruism ... we loved real presents as much as the next fellow.

Of course it wasn't all war games. Life was never boring, and then, as now, there were never enough hours in the day to pursue new explorations and adventures. There were visits to the small zoo in Los Haticos. Carnival was always exciting and a great time for people-watching as we were entertained by the antics of costumed “viejos” in our neigborhood. During Semana Santa we headed for the hills ... to La Mesa, La Puerta, Boconó, Valera, Timotes. We always took food colouring along with us to tint our Andean Easter eggs. Local customs were eye-openers for us, such as the burning of a Judas effigy on the day before Easter Sunday. We visited 'trapiches' where raw sugar cane extract was converted into blocks of 'panela', unrefined brown sugar that was a food staple in all Andean households. Coffee beans grew wild along the roadways and gardens bloomed with flowers that would not have survived the heat of Maracaibo.

We were constantly collecting specimens of flora and fauna for “Show and Tell” at school, or to add to our menagerie at home. We had two donkeys, Nellie and Nelson, two ardillas, Pancho y Panchita, a parrot named José Carioca, a Boston bull terrier who answered to “Jip” and a turpial . Our yard was a haven for wild birds , attracted by mangoes and tamarinds, and various and sundry fruits and veggies from our Victory Garden. Iguanas established territorial rights in the top branches of our lechosa tree. Creepy crawlies generally fell under the nomenclature of “bichitos”, and we collected those as well. Nowadays when I bird-watch for scarlet tanagers on their northward spring migration along Florida's Gulf Coast, I like to imagine that they had just wintered in Venezuela.

The Bella Vista School curriculum did not extend beyond grade eight in those days, and in 1947, after a Nova Scotian summer vacation, I was enrolled at Edgehill School for Girls in Windsor, N.S. In 1948 my father was transferred to Caracas, and so ended those idyllic Maracaibo days. I went on to complete 4 yrs at boarding school, a year at Dalhousie University, and then 3 yrs. of nurses' training at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, graduating in 1956. My father was obliged to take early retirement due to illness, and in 1954, my parents moved from Caracas to Sarasota, FL. It was not a total severance from old connections and acquaintances as several Mene Grande and Creole friends were already here to welcome them. I joined them in Sarasota after graduation, was married later that year, and that union blessed me with a son, Robert, and a daughter, Andrea. Following dissolution of my marriage, I resumed my maiden name. My nursing career covered a span of 33 years, ending with retirement in 1996.

1 came upon this EBV site sometime last year quite by chance. I was doing a search for info on the PanAm clipper and found Doug Becker's photo of the plane at its mooring site not far from our home. A click here and there and I landed on this Bella Vista School site. I revisited it a few weeks ago, and was amazed at how much it had expanded. On reading an entry by Oster Bayne, I instantly recognized my father's face amongst a group of Starboat skippers on the dock at the Maracaibo Yacht Club. This inspired me to go ahead and sign the guest book and drop a line to Oster. His sister Diana and I were classmates from kindergarten through the 7th grade, and we had had no contact with one another since 1947. Franny McCammon San Miguel was another dear friend from those days and it has given me much pleasure to renew a connection with her and with Diana.

My search for school photos has yielded only three which I will try to post here. I also have a packet of etchings or pen-and-ink sketches done by Sanchez Felipe, a very talented artist. The portfolio is entitled Rincones Coloniales y Tipos Populares Venezolanos. The pictures depict several Maracaibo waterfront scenes, Goajira Indians in their distinctive muu-muu-like dresses, and many street scenes of the Andean towns and hamlets that we visited when our dads got time off for local leave ... La Mesa de Esnujaque, Boconó, Merida, Valencia to name a few. They are yellowed with age but I think they can be enhanced with some of the software now available and hopefully some of them will prove to be suitable for viewing on this EBV site.

It is evident from the huge response to this EBV site that the Venezuelan scene had a major positive impact on our lives. I think we can be proud as well by the contributions our parents made in the development of that country's resources and the enduring friendships that were forged in that “best of times”. I get “warm fuzzies” whenever I reflect upon the generosity of our Venezuelan friends who repeatedly demonstrated their goodness and hospitality with the phrase “mi casa es tu casa”.

 

 

 
Mrs. Rona Newell with Judy (age 6) & Peter (age 3) - 1940 passport photo.
Judy & Peter sitting astride Nellie at 246 Bella Vista - 1942.
Judy & Peter - 1943

Judy's graduation photo from Nursing School, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada - 1956.

Judy with actor Lloyd Bridges, of Sea Hunt fame, and fellow nurse; time & date unknown.
Judy in 1983.
Judy as Quality Assesment nurse at Sarasota Memorial Hospital - 1995.

 

 

 

ESCUELA BELLA VISTA
 
Maracaibo Brownies, circa 1944 (click to enlarge for names).
4th Grade, circa 1944 (click to enlarge for names).
6th Grade, 1945-1946 (click to enlarge for names).

 

 

 

TRAVELS WITHIN VENEZUELA
Maracaibo
Lago de Maracaibo
Downtown Maracaibo, Royal Bank of Canada building on the left, next to the cable office - date unknown.
Maracaibo, date unknown.
Typical Maracaibo scene - date unknown.
Christmas Greetings From Hinde and family”.
La Puerta
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
La Puerta, 1947.
Other Areas
“In this little valley to the left after reaching La Mesa de Esnujaque, one can easily make out the banana trees.”
View of Boconó.
“Do you remember? A cross represents a reminder 'to be careful' as an accident took place here.”
“La Mesa de Esnujaque - Parade of the Judas. In the evening, he was burnt.”
Banana Hacienda
Trapiche, near Timotes.

 

(To view these images as a Photo Album, click here. High-speed connection recommended - 4.33 Mb.)

Cover
The artist, Sanchez Felipe - 1942
“Santa Rosa - Maracaibo”
“Goleta - Lago de Maracaibo”
“Muelles - Maracaibo”
“Santa Rosa - Maracaibo”
“Antigua Universidad - Maracaibo”
 
“India Goagira”
“India Goagira”
 
 
“Casa de Celis - Valencia”
 
“Matapalo”
 
“Rincon de Mercado - Ejido”
“Universidad - Merida”
“Casa Colonial - Coro”
“Calle Cantaura y Iglesia de Candelaria”
“Casa Colonial - Valencia”
“Mérida”
“Merida”
“Yglesia - Cocorete”
“Goleta - Puerto Cabello”
“Calle Colonial Puerto Cabello”
“Calle de Langeros - Puerto Cabello”
“Mérida”
“Casa Tipica - Merida”
“Saman de Güere”
“Mesa de Esnujaque    Edo. Trujillo”
“El Valle   Caracas”
“Cúpulas - Barquisimeto”
“Alrededores de Caracas”
 
“Monte de Piedad - Caracas”
“Mercado - Egido”
“Baruta”
“Plaza del Carmen - La Guaira”
“Mujer de los Andes”
“Tipo de la Cordillera”
“Tipo Popular - Caracas”
“Mercado - Caracas”

 

 

Perez Jimenez standing in front of The Royal Bank of Canada circa 1952-1953. The occasion was the grand opening of the new Caracas bank branch in the Edifício Zingg.  Judy's father, Murray W. Newell, is to the left of PJ in this view.

 

 

 

“Skipper of the Dreamboat”
February 28, 1955
 

(Please click image above to access this TIME MAGAZINE article submitted by Judy.)