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FEAT U R E

Feb/Mar 2017

www. EleutheraNews . com

An Eleutheran Profile:

Mrs. Merionette Hall By sherelle wallace

Introduction: “Experience in your life makes a difference in your life,” quips Mrs. Merionette Dorothy Sands-Hall; more affectionately known as Ms. Net. And this seventy-two year old has certainly had a lot of experience in her life, which has been colorfully creative yet tarnished by illness. Today Ms. Net maintains a mantra that she simply does what she needs to do and allows God to be her guide. And she thanks her husband of nearly fifty-one years, Mr. Kenneth Franklyn Hall, for being by her side along her journey. They both look forward to celebrating this milestone with their seven children, twenty-four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren on April 15th of this year. Ms. Net was born, raised, and still resides in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. She is one of eight children

born to her parents, who have since passed on. Her father died when Ms. Net was twenty-six, and her mother when she was fifty-six. In the years prior to her mother’s death, when blindness would overshadow her mother’s life, Merionette made it her mission to care for her mother; considering all that was done by this parent to care for her children. Early Days: Merionette’s earliest memories were going to Rock Sound Primary School at the age of five. She shared this about her childhood: “I remember at an early age going to the Methodist Sunday school and church every Sunday. I remember being dressed neatly. Hair well groomed. Ribbon in my hair. There were three Sunday schools going on at once. The first at one o’clock and the other two at three o’clock. When Sunday school let out at four, the Sunday school children got together and went for a Sunday afternoon stroll. I went as far as the shipyard while others went as far as the Rock Sound Club. The boys and girls walked together with no interference at all. What a nice walk we had together! When we came back we all went our different ways. When I got older I had to do chores

around the home. I had to help to take care of the smaller children. Before going to school I had to go for wood to cook with. I also had to go to the mill and grind corn. I had to crack the corn in the morning before school and fine (process in a machine) it later in the afternoon. I had to scrub my grandmother’s wooden floor with turbot skin until it was yellow (the fish skin had been left on the rooftop to dry and harden). If it was not cleaned good I had to do it over. I had to grate cassava and potatoes to make bread. I had to squeeze them in order to get the starch out of it, and the starch was used to starch cloths. My mother had a restaurant and I had to help her, by cleaning fish that came from Tarpum Bay. I used to fry fish in a wooden kitchen outside until two in the morning. I had to learn how to make bread and pastries at the age of twelve.” Career: And much too quickly, yet all-too-common to that era, the transition from childhood to young adult life, which meant earning a living, began. “I started to work in 1958 in Harry Newbold’s grocery store making pastries. When I got older, in 1963, I got a job at Bahamian Live Stock. I worked there for three years then went to work for Rock Sound Market place in 1983, owned by Mr. Albert Sands. I became head cashier and in charge of the other cashiers. I had learned a little about office work. I was left in charge of the supermarket when Mr. Sands went away. I had to make sure it opened on time and safely closed. A gentleman by the name of Mr. John Farrington was my bodyguard. It was a pleasure working with him and also working for Mr. Sands. I worked for him for twenty years. I then worked for the Almond Tree Gift Shop, owned by The Cotton Bay Foundation (Cotton Bay homeowners). The store was native craft operated by Mrs. Sylvia Cates of Rock Sound. Mrs. Cates did a lot of craft work. I have learned some things from her. I worked there for five years. Then I worked for Island Made Gift Shop owned by Mrs. Pamela Thompson of Gregory Town. I worked for her for about two and a half years until the store closed. Then I worked at Como Hill, also in Rock Sound, owned by Mr. Eris Moncur. Mr. Moncur also operates booths over at Half Moon Cay. I also went over there a few times. It was okay working for his company. I worked for him for five years and then moved on. I decided then to do craft work exclusively for myself.” Entrepreneurship: After six decades in the workforce, Ms. Net

has come full circle and is once again making her own creations. Her love and appreciation for the craft industry began when she was in school and was taught to knit and crochet. She continued to crochet and made many table and bed coverings, and scarfs over the years. Then she started to collect sea shells when she realized things could be made from sea shells. When asked what she loves best about the craft industry, she responded: “I am proud to know that I can do my own craft work. To be able to showcase to others knowing the product is neat and satisfying to my customers and to be able to make some money for myself. It is good to have customers come back again.” When it comes to sharing about the craft industry, a listener needs to have plenty of time on their hands because Ms. Net is generous with her time, knowledge, and encouragement. “Years ago you had to sell your craft work where you lived. But there have been many changes. Now you can sell your work at home and abroad. Crafters have made a big improvement in their work. The more they do the work the better they get. When BAIC (Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation) began to show the natives what to do, the things they can use to enhance their work; it has been a big improvement. Exporting makes a big difference.” Always enhancing her skills and believing that one is never too old to learn more and improve, Ms. Net took a course in Shell Crafting with BAIC about four years ago. The instructor was Ms. April Martin of New Providence, whom Ms. Net labels as the very best in the business. The raw materials that Ms. Net likes to work with most are: shells, driftwood, coral stones, buttonwood, conch spurs, coconut sack, and coconut straw. She collects these materials from Eleuthera beaches, purchases some from other Eleutheran collectors, and makes craft purchases from Nassau. Her collections include, shell center pieces, frames, drawings on driftwood, candle holders, jewelry boxes, shell rings, and napkin holders; all made of sand or shells. Ms. Net has displayed and sold her craft items in Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and she also was a vendor at Eleuthera’s Agro/Business weekend. Continued On Page 13

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The Eleutheran Newspaper Vol 10 Issue 2 March 2017 - News, Information, Real Estate, Offers, Opinions, Events, Reports and more from Eleuth...

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