Visiting back here and reading about the memories and adventures everyone has visiting Aruba, however they can never have the memories I have. I grew up on the rock in Lago Colony (Sero Colorado), went to school there, remember when Palm Beach had no Casinos just a long deserted beach with palms and sea grape trees, baby beach t-docks and big dock was my swimming holes, was there when the Germans shelled it and watched the fire at sea from the torpedoed tankers, saw the shells going overhead trying to hit the fuel tank farm, saw the beached torpedo go off and kill those that tried to disarm it.
The memories of Aruba as it was before tourism and big dollars moved in and growing up on a island paradise, free as a bird and nothing to worry about. Even the shelling during WWII are good memories to me and do not over shadow the growing up memories on a Caribbean Island where everybody knew each other and lived like one big family with never a problem.
After leaving Aruba in 1952 to return to the States to join the Navy after my tour with the Navy I studied the USCG requirements and worked aboard vessels until I passed my first Captains license level. In time I acquired a 200 ton open water license and in time became the Captain of a Caribbean Charter Service vessel.
Over time sailing into port in Aruba I watched it change from what I remember growing up there to what is now. Aruba is a wonderful place to visit and have the memories of being there now as it is, but they cannot come close to mine growing up there.
I am known by the locals as an “ARUBACON”, Aruba born American parents, a dyeing breed. I sometime wish I had returned to Aruba when the Casinos started coming in instead of going to sea. Now I have the memories of watching it grow over the years, every time I had a charter I world work an Aruba stop in it if I were anywhere near. I have sailed to all the Islands in the Caribbean, as far down as the San Blas Islands and Panama. I have many great memories of them but my memory of home, Aruba over shadows them all.
I say to all, “go on down, you wont regret it”, I wish I could go back but at 78 am just to old to do so now, But I still have my memories of a true Island Paridice and growing up there with the friendliest people on earth.