Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Interview: Suzette Bough James of 6B Fisher Street

6B Fisher Street, home of Suzette Bough James in Christiansted, St. Croix

Her house actually feels like it's more on King Cross Street, but she said that because they seemed to mark the houses based on where the front door opens to, hers is marked as 6B Fisher St. I thought that was interesting. Suzette or Suzie as she is most preferably called comes from a large and well established Christiansted town family, the Boughs. She is a retired art teacher who was born and raised in Free Gut, or Hillside as the neighborhood is most commonly called by the generation who experienced its heyday in the 1940's-60's. Every time I interview someone from this generation I yearn to have lived in that time. It sounds like a magical era, where everyone knew each other, and loved each other and looked out for one another. A time where although people lived with far less materially, they seemed to have a lot more joy, more sense of community and more dedication to family. She describes the town as beautiful, well cared for and full of life.

Suzette Bough James, resident of Free Gut, Christiansted

When I asked her about the earliest memory of her house she told me a moving story about the day her mother died. She said she was five years old and she remembers walking into the house for the first time without her mother in it. She commented on the way the jalousie windows (wooden louvered windows) were open and that later neighbors had come by to comfort her.

Although the windows have changed, they are now glass louvered windows and covered with iron grill work to keep out the burglars (she's had a few over the last decade), the view has not changed. We stood there imagining this class of Freed Blacks looking at the same view of the ocean and wondering what they thought, what they felt. We both agreed that their view must have reflected back to them a sense of freedom and tranquility.

View from "Hillside" at the home of Suzette Bough James


  1. Very interesting!

    Suzette is right, and it was just like you described, "not much materially, but a sense of community, dedication to family"....in other words a happy childhood!

  2. Absolutely; I was there from 71 to 79 and loved C'sted and the east end. They used to say west was best (F'sted) but that's a matter of opinion. STX has definately Lost her Innocence!