In Search of Her Bajan Roots

My cousin Danielle’s late grandfather was born in Barbados and moved to the US at some point. He married Danielle’s grandmother and had 3 children, one of which is Danielle’s mom. Danielle’s aunt- Aunt Bev has been coming to Barbados to search for their family. We decided to take a break from eating and going to the beach and continue the search for her family.

We started our search with John Moore’s Bar. John Moore was Danielle’s grandfather’s name. It was super easy to find the bar online with a simple google search. We rode a taxi and it took 30 minutes to ride from Christ Church to St. James. Aunt Bev has been in search for the other part of the family, the Monks, for a while with no luck. So when we reached the bar we felt like we were one step closer to finding answers.

At the bar waiting for bartender

When we finally reached our destination the first thing saw were men playing dominoes in the back, but no one was in the front. We sat down and waited for the bartender. Then, we saw a man sleeping at a table. One of the men in the back woke him up and we found out he was the owner. We knew this wasn’t her grandfather, but hoped he could answer our questions. His name is Lamont and after he served other customers he answered our questions.

John Moore is at the top. The women are Lamont’s relatives and the middle is Lamont.

Lamont told us that John Moore was the previous owner and died in 1987. He told us that John Moore had two daughters and would often visit New York. Danielle’s grandfather had three kids who grew up in New Jersey. This John Moore had somethings in common with Danielle’s grandfather. Danielle’s grandfather was in the military and he was not always home. Also, Danielle has only seen a picture of him when she was really young and he died before she was born. So neither one of us knew what he looked like. Even though Lamont only mentioned two daughters and not a son, we were still really hopeful that there was a connection. There was a picture of him on the wall and Danielle sent it to her mom and aunt who would confirm or deny our suspicion.

Lamont didn’t talk much after our questions. Then, we met another older gentleman named Trevor who was a retired policeman. We found out that the bar was the hangout spot for those who were retired. The locals also said that it had the best rum punch. While Lamont didn’t have much to say, Trevor wouldn’t stop talking. He was really nice and eventually took us on a quick tour around St. James. Trevor told us that John Moore raised Lamont and gave the business to him. Trevor was the only one who told us a little bit more about the Moores (no pun intended) and that the Moore family live in Orange Hill. He told us a lot about everything.

Trevor and his Taxi in front of his house

Even though Trevor is retired, he has a taxi business and rents out his bottom floor to tourist. He insisted on giving us a ride and kept assuring us that we can trust him. I am not one to catch rides with strangers, but I felt safe with Danielle. He gave us a ride around the St. James area which has different shops and restaurants and colorful buildings. I saw the shore all through the small town. We finally arrived at his place. He wanted to give us a tour of the apartment and he wanted us to meet his daughter who is a teacher like me. She wasn’t home, but we met his wife. The apartment was nice and spacious with three rooms, two bathrooms, a washroom, a kitchen, and a living room.

After we left his place he dropped us off at Fishermans Pub and explained that we could catch the bus back to Oistins. Fisherman’s Pub had the main Bajan dishes you would find in most places; fried flying fish, fish cakes, macaroni pie, just to name a few. It is right on the shore and pretty easy to find. We ate near the window which had a beautiful view of the ocean. They served us a lot of food and we were so hungry that there was barely leftovers. It was here that Danielle finally received confirmation that the owner of John Moore was not her grandfather. We felt a little defeated, but happy that we went. It was time to head back to the other side of the island so we set out to search for the bus stop.

Even though we took a taxi there we decided to try the bus since it is significantly cheaper. The first guy gave us the wrong directions. We strolled straight in the wrong direction as if we knew where we were going. A hostess in another restaurant set us back on the right path. Our ten minute walk from the pub took us 30 minutes. We spent some of that time taking pictures. Once we got to the bus terminal we got confused.

There was a bus going to Bridgetown and Oistins. We thought that we were staying in Bridgetown. Everyone kept telling us to take the Oistins bus, but we almost got on Bridgetown after waiting for the Oistins bus for about 45 minutes. The bus was broke down and being repaired. We decided to try the Bridgetown bus, which was the second one to pull up since we got there. I asked the driver would it take us to our location, but he confirmed again that we needed Oistins. We waited another 20 minutes or so and the bus finally came, we were so close to getting a taxi. The bus ride from St. James back to Oistins was a 45 minute ride.

While still in St. James we passed fancy hotels, mansions, and high-end stores. This is clearly the nice side of the Island. Don’t get me wrong St. Lawrence Gap and the surrounding areas have nice food and nice beaches, but it is not as build up as St. James.

Our view from Fisherman’s Pub

After our long day, we still decided to meet my friend Kathryn at a bar called Mojos. I actually met Kathryn in Kuwait, but we talked about meeting up in Barbados. She was born here but grew up in Canada. An American and Canadian meeting in the middle east with Bajan roots (technically Danielle has the roots, but you get the picture). Crazy right? I’m glad we finally got to find out more information about John Moore’s Bar, even though he wasn’t Danielle’s grandfather. Who knows- maybe next time we will check out Orange Hill and actually find her Moore relatives. As one of my good Bajan friends always says  “you neva know”.


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