Friday, October 19, 2007

Winston

Besides my sisters little friend Isabelle who was from New Zealand, Winston was the first person I really knew who was from another country. He had skin the color of melted chocolate and a spirit that drew you to him.


Winston was a summer employee at the resort that my family vacationed at every summer. Every year during the 3rd week in July my family and lots of others met at our resort for "fun, food and frolic". The teenagers, me, Sean, Kelli, Ryan and sometimes Jen would seemingly rule the roost having the time of our lives.


Most of the staff remembered us from year to year, and always looked forward to the 3rd week in July. But Winston was new, and we quickly adopted him as our favorite. Everyday before dinner we would pile onto a pontoon boat and allow Winston to drive us around the river, all the while telling us stories in his fantastic West Indies accent. Sometimes, we had no idea what he was talking about, but we were mesmerized by the sound of his voice.


He fixed it so that he was in charge of all the teen activities that week-the hot tub parties, midnight movies in the pool and volleyball games that seemed to last forever. He danced with us and taught us new moves, told us jokes that we weren't supposed to hear, and made us feel like we were older than we really were.


When it came time to leave, we were more sad than usual. Knowing that Winston was on the exchange program, we knew that he most likely would never be able to come back and that we would never get to see him again. We hugged, said our goodbyes, and vowed to always remember him.


About a month later, my parents went back to the resort for the night. Being that the staff knew us, my parents had several conversations regarding our annual trip. Winston's name inevitably came up. My mother, I think, told their waiter how we all adored him, and how we felt cool because we were friends with someone from the West Indies. (She even brought up the fact that we all somehow overlooked his obtrusive BO simply because we craved the friendship of someone from a far away land.)


The waiter scoffed. I am told he visibly bent over and laughed. And then he told my parents that Winston was a fake.


I do not remember what his real name is, but I can tell you it was something as American as Michael or John. His accent was fake, his homeland was the United States, and he was a thief.


Our Winston was from Georgia and stole from the guests that summer. He took wallets and money and probably other valuable things that guests left unattended in their lazy vacation mindsets. Those things he took could be replaced, but that summer, he took something from us too. Winston (or Michael or John) took from us our unwavering trust in strangers-our willingness to believe things at face value and our confidence in our own judgement.


It may have only been a summer job for him, but for us, the resort was our place to reconnect with each other (we all lived in different states), to explore what it meant to be a teenager in love and to say we had friends from other places. And from that year on, we stuck closer to the American staff-the ones we knew from before.

15 comments:

Kat said...

Childhood memories. Don't you just love them? That sounded like a lot of fun. My parents and I always went to the same spot for vacationing.Well there wasn't much choice. We couldn't leave East Germany and it was only about the size of Tennessee. I somehow associate your story withDirty Dancing *lol*

Mags said...

Kat, it was very much like Dirty Dancing. In fact, we always thought of it that way too, especially because that movie was popular around the time we all met.

I find it interesting that you compared your home to TN. Mabye b/c I live in New England, but TN seems random! Still, it conveys the exact size, so...I guess I have no point! LOL...

Kat said...

Mags, I went through the trouble to find out what state it may be compared to size wise, my wild guess was Connecticut but that was way off :) I've never been to any of the "real" southern states and I admit my comparison with TN was pretty random hehe.

The story though is so funny. I can't believe you actually got to experience it. And right around the time that Dirty Dancing was popular too. So cool

Brian in Mpls said...

Preschool: Danger Stranger

katherine. said...

on the other hand...whoever Winston really was...it doesn't sound like he stole from you...and probably never intended for you to find out...he created an interesting vacation for you all.

as a parent it is really difficult when someone you and your kids admire does something horrifying...I bet learning the truth put a bit of a fright into your folks...

Melisa said...

Hi Mags,
I've been lurking for a couple of weeks and now I am "out"!

I also was thinking "Dirty Dancing" and Kellermans. Sounds like a great place. (Nobody puts Baby in the corner!)

I agree with Katherine. He created something for you that summer that you are still thinking about as an adult, and there was no harm to you at that time...still a great memory.

Melisa
rememberruby.blogspot.com

Danielle A. said...

Wow... it makes me feel better that I wasn't the only one who thought about Kellerman's.

And... Winston = Rude. We should find modern-day Winston and kick him in the shins. :P

C-Unit said...

How the hell do you remember Isabel's name? I forever tried to remember it and couldnt until you said that. I remember eating candy under her bed, but thats about it. And I miss those trips every year. I wish we could go back, but it will never be the same!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

There is always a Winston somewhere in the mix. Just has to be. It's a shame too. :(

Marilyn said...

When I heard Winston I immediately thought of that guy in the movie The Mexican... but I'm a little weird.

Mags said...

Brian: Isn't it Stranger Danger? You're cute enough to get away with it, but I was just wonderin'

Katherine: You know, my parents probably didn't care. This was when my dad was a raging alcoholic and my mom was just well, my mom. I think they thought it was funny.

Melisa: Welcome! Thank you for de-lurking!!!

Danielle: Ooo, ooo-do I get to pick who will be the modern day Winston? I have a few people I'd like to hurt!!! ;)

C-Unit: I have no idea. All I remember about her was 1. she was little 2. She sent you a postcard with some bison on it 3. She lived in the house that my Peter L moved into later.

Sandee: Yup, there always is...

Marilyn: You are weird, but I don't know what you are talking about! ;)

Linda said...

How sad that it turned out that Winston was a fake but he must have been a pretty good actor to have pulled that routine off like he did and have all of you convinced.

Sounds like wonderful summer memories, though. Somehow I am having no trouble seeing you in the end of the summer production number! If there was one, of course!

Rocketstar said...

nice little tale mags.

Bond said...

I really did not mean to make you feel betrayed, but being an italian with a real cool tan that summer ..I felt the West Indian thing would be cool..and I never stole a ting mon it were de oddur peoples dat took dem tings and blamed me mon

Amazing Gracie said...

Good one, Bond!
I'm sorry you feel betrayed by this guy. Wonder where he is now, if he's not been done in by someone he scammed. Or maybe he's scamming by internet now!
We never got to take family vacations since we owned a business that only closed Christmas Day! We managed to sneak off for a couple of days now and then, and that was during the school year because summers were our busiest times...