"See Bermuda! A most picturesque and unique spot. Not one island, but over 150 islands perched within easy access off the East Coast. Natural tropic foliage with shaded paths winding through dense masses of color, the most beautiful exposition of colored tropical fish in their natural surroundings. Along the south shore are stretches of pink sand beaches and small hidden coves. An ocean of clear blue water invites you to come in".
Both in their mid-twenties, Vilma's parents Michael and Barbara lived in Bermuda in the late 1920's to early 1930's in order to work at the hotel resorts and on the great ocean liner ships that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Michael worked as a waiter and Barbara a waitress. They often journeyed between exotic locations in the Gulf of Mexico, The Florida Keys, The Caribbean and Bermuda. They had their own distinctive love story and were married in the city of Warwick, Bermuda in 1933.
Because of the economic booms and prosperity in the 1920's, a great number of people traveled for business and pleasure on ocean liners, which was one of the primary modes of transportation of the era. For wealthy travelers looking for fun in the sun, winter cruises to warmer climates became very popular, and they enjoyed retreats like Bermuda. The tanned skin that tourists would come home with even became a status symbol.
Businessmen who were meeting overseas clients, entertainers on tour, and tourists making leisure trips all travelled on ocean liners (in upper class berths of course). Often travelling with them (in lower class berths) were immigrants coming to the United States. A large ocean liner might have had a crew of 1,100 to service as many as 3,400 passengers. This scene always reminds me of the movie Titanic with Kate Winlset and Leonardo DeCaprio at the helm!
The impact of being born on a tropical island never left Vilma, who held a lifelong love for the ocean and was a splendid swimmer. Luckily her folks eventually moved the family to California! Any chance she would get, she would pack up and head to the local beaches. Long Beach and Huntington beaches along the Orange County California coast line became her hang out spots in the 1950’s. Imagine the scene as the surfing craze was just beginning. Popularized by all those surfing movies from the 1950’s starring Elvis, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and Gidget! We’ll get to explore that culture a little later down the road. But for now, I hope you've enjoyed the trip back to 1930’s Bermuda!