There are few people more qualified to keep Cayman history alive than Olive Miller.
She first came to the Cayman Islands way back in 1946 and her new book, Cayman Rhyme Time, presents a plethora of traditional songs, information, colourful pictures and history to another new generation.
Miss Olive, 90, says that it’s important that some of this material was committed to print.
“The first half of the book is a series of verses to nursery rhyme tunes, all about Cayman, the birds, the trees and shrubs,” she says. “There is a poem called My Cayman Picture Book, which is a tour of the island and there’s one called This is Cayman, all about Cayman itself. There is also a poem on the Sister Islands.
“The second half, Miscellany, is a collection of hymns, songs, alphabets which I thought would be lost if not published and preserved,” says Miss Olive. One thing that it might assist in is the identification of the nature around us, she adds, with people tending to call every flower a rose or every shrub a hibiscus, for example.
“One I like is The Pests, a humorous one with cute illustrations by Jayna Gilman and I could never have done this without those plus Charles Gilman’s graphic skills.” There’s also a section about helping others; service clubs, pink ladies, NCVO, The Pines, Cayman HospiceCare – all of which have a history worth recording, says the author and Justice of the Peace.
And although Miss Olive has seen many changes in the Cayman Islands, there are some things which remain the same.
“The Caymanian people themselves are friendly as they always were; they do not always have the opportunity to show it these days as they did in the past. When I came here there were so few people, everybody knew everybody and almost everybody was a relation.
“It was a very friendly, caring place. Prosperity has brought good things but as with all good things, bad things come as well. When I came here you didn’t talk about crime at all – I don’t think they knew what the word meant. The prison was just one little block house occupied one night or two here and there by drunks. Mind, it is much easier now; in my book there is a then and now about contrasting the old times and new times. From scrubbing boards to washing machines is a century away,” Miss Olive says.
Cayman Rhyme Time is available at all book stores or by contacting the author, Olive Miller on 949-2429.