Western Bureau:Come Christmas Day, Sheila Hamilton will be celebrating her 79th birthday, and except for a brief period when she went off to boarding school, she has spent her entire life in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, the beloved south-coast haven she calls home.
Hamilton, who has five children and six grandchildren, fondly remembers her days walking barefoot to school as a child as there was only one car and mule- drawn carts or buggies as the means of transportation.
"I got my first pair of shoes at the age of 10 years old," recalled Hamilton.
In Treasure Beach, Hamilton said, more than six decades ago, there were only a few houses, all constructed out of thatch. However, she said the community spirit was very strong as settlements such as Rose Hill, Lennon Well, Sandy Bank, Calabash Bay and Frenchman would unite in doing projects.
AREA MORE DEVELOPED
"In terms of development, Treasure Beach has come a long way since the days when it was only thatched houses spaced out over this amazing space," Hamilton told Western Focus. "Today, we have so many hotels here and the population has grown."
Hamilton said the area had only two grocery shops, where, as kids, they would go to purchase penny and 'quattie' bun. She also noted that at the time, the beach was the place to be.
Back in those days, Hamilton said one man bought The Daily Gleaner and all the community would gather around him to hear what was happening.
The new developments that have now overtaken Treasure Beach did not come as a surprise to Hamilton as, according to her, the signs were evident from back in the 1940s when Earnest Dicker, a Canadian, came to the area and fell in love with the place and constructed a hotel.
"He loved the place so much that he called it his 'treasured beach' and that is how the place got its name," said Hamilton.
With Treasure Beach now experiencing significant growth, Hamilton believes that great things are on the horizon for the community. In fact, as things are now, her only disappointment is the many failed promises by successive political representatives to give the town better roads.