What if you live in England and you reunite with a sibling who lives in US on the occasion of a grand birthday shebang?
What would you say and do as you also see some of your friends and family who you have not seen in years? How loudly would you sing Happy Birthday before blowing out the candles and how would you feel when the gathering sang loudly and clapped?
Truth be told, David and William are twins and members of a known Bajan clan — a large extended family that have the common characteristic of sticking together. Recently, their birthday provided a reason for this family to get together at David’s home in Teaneck, New Jersey, for a Saturday afternoon barbecue.
Family and friends came from near and afar — England, Barbados, New York, Brooklyn, Maryland and New Jersey — and travelled by car, bus and plane. Indeed for some, the evening began (and later ended) when William, a small Foundation School ‘posse’ and a few others boarded a 4 p.m. bus at Port Authority in Manhattan that passed through the quiet Park Avenue neighbourhood. Needless to say the William-led stories were funny, about old times and growing up, church and school among others.
For the majority, the celebration was historic. It was the first time in about 40 years that so many of the Symmonds’ family — spelt with a “y” and not an “i” — were all together in the same place.
Needless to say, at some point in time, there was the inevitable chit chat with regard to Symmonds vs. Simmons, the contribution of Symmonds’ family to local banking, and education (Aunty Dame Patrica), and the current political situation in Barbados.
Among those at the family get together were Mary and Druard Symmonds, and Kerrie Symmonds, Member of Barbados’ Parliament, and Bajan family names as in “Guilers, Redmans and Eastmans.”