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Thread: Rogers Beach shock

  1. #21
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    Yes, Dolores....that would be wonderful and interesting to many of us to hear the story!

  2. #22
    Member IloveAruba2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the website lago-colony.com
    I love looking at the old pictures and learning some of the history of Aruba!

  3. #23
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    Thanks Liz. Yes, I can send something next week.
    Dolores

  4. #24
    Senior Member charles's Avatar
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    It is a disaster and a pure sign of irresponsibility. Not to us as an island not to you as tourists but to the nature that sustains all of us. Makes me hate using a car.


    do not be well
    Charles
    THERE ARE PLACES TO SEE - STORIES TO TELL
    IMAGES TO HARNESS - AND MORE STORIES ON caribbean.tv
    be well
    charles

  5. #25
    Senior Member charles's Avatar
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    That would be a great idea. I love it.

    be well
    charles
    THERE ARE PLACES TO SEE - STORIES TO TELL
    IMAGES TO HARNESS - AND MORE STORIES ON caribbean.tv
    be well
    charles

  6. #26
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    I was born and raised in Aruba. My Dad was employed by Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) and was part of the group that helped build and operate the refinery on the island, at that time the largest in the world. He first went to Aruba in 1928.

    We all remember that on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and on February 16, 1942, German submarines attacked the island of Aruba.

    The following was taken from an article by Percy Swetnam and the Propeller Recovery Team. “On February 16, 1942, at 1:31 a.m. German submarines torpedoed two of Lago’s steam-driven lake tankers, The Pedernales and the Oranjestad. They were waiting in the harbor to unload their crude from Lake Maracaibo. The Pedernales was hit by the first torpedo on the side and exploded, but did not sink. The next day it was towed to the Lago Dry Dock, mid section removed and the bow and aft sections were rejoined. The Pedernales then sailed to the US where it was refitted with a new mid section. The second torpedo hit the Orangestad and it sank, and was the first tanker to be sunk in the entire Western Hemisphere during World War II. Out of a crew of 25, 15 lost their lives. On Saturday, April 18, 2009 after 67 years, a group of divers brought one of the Oranjestad propellers to the surface. If things work out well, in the future the propeller will be placed as a memorial in the Lago Colony, close to where it all happened.”

    On that eventful day in February 1942, my family was awakened by the sirens. My father, who was an operator, left for the refinery; and my Mother, brother and I left our home shortly after, because we lived several blocks in front of a field of oil tanks, and one hit would have devastated the whole area. What we learned later was that one of the German submarines was given orders to strike the refinery, but failed because the cover was not taken off the gun and ended up killing several of the Germen seamen manning the gun. We still talk about what that one strike would have done to the refinery and colony had the gun not malfunctioned. We gathered with other families temporarily at the Lago Community Church that sits high on a hill overlooking Rogers Beach. Standing in front of the Church we all witnessed the sinking of the Oranjestad, watched as the oil burned on the surface of the water. It wasn’t long before our group was moved, because the church could have been a target for the German submarines. Some of the families even ended up in some of the bat caves on the island.

    At night, the island was almost in total darkness. The windows on our home were totally covered, so there was no light showing through. If we went out at night, all lights would be turned off before opening the door.

    Soon after the attacked, some families were evacuated off the island and flown over to Venezuela. My Dad stayed on the island, but my Mother, brother and I left. We ended up in Brownsville, TX and then a bus trip back to our home in Louisiana. In later years when I was working for Kerr McGee Oil Company, I learned that the pilot of our company plane, Mr. Newton, piloted one the private planes evacuating the women and children off the island. We remained in the states until early 1943 when we returned to Aruba. I remember the many trips back and forth to Aruba on company tankers out of New York.

    There were a number of service men that were protecting the island during this time, and the ladies in the colony would cook for them, have picnics for them by the Little Lagoon or Dos Playa, inviting some into our homes.

    I remember very vividly one day when a German submarine fired a torpedo at the island, and it went through two rooms of the “U” shaped Bachelor Quarters, ending up under a car in the garage next door, never exploding.

    Conditions were scary, and in August 1944, my Dad decided to leave Standard Oil of New Jersey and return to the States, because of the conditions on the island. Our passports were confiscated because of the war.

    Mom and Dad never returned to Aruba, but in June 1977, I made my first trip back to the island after 33 years. It was a very emotional experience. After returning to attend many of the Lago Reunions, I purchased my first time share in 2004 during week 25, which is the week the Lago reunion is held every three years. On June 19, 1994, as former Lago community residents, we dedicated a monument that stands in front of the Community Church in the Colony that reads:

    “This monument is dedicated to the men, women and families who lived in Lago community, Aruba, and to all employees who worked for Lago Oil and Transport Company. Ltd., a subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, now EXXON.

    Lago, a major supplier of fuels and by-products to the United States and its allies during World War II, survived a 1942 German U-boat attack to become one of the world’s largest refineries. A significant contribution to the economic development of Aruba was realized before Exxon’s presence ended here in 1985.

    The fortunate few who were here experienced the wonderful quality and beauty of Caribbean life. Excellent schools, hospital, Esso Club, skeet range, Lago Church and community gatherings all created endearing friendships and lasting memories. An on-going fraternal organization of over 3500 residents, who lived in Lago community’s 650 bungalows at some time during the 61 years, still considers Aruba home. They and their families return to the island as often as possible.”

    It’s very hard to explain the ties that we all have to this island called Aruba, or as we refer to it, “The Rock.” But those of us who return experience memories, some good, some bad, but thankful that we are back on the island once again to share in those memories and experience new ones.
    Dolores Williams Grissom (Lago Colony 1935 – 1944)



  7. #27
    Senior Member Eagle Beach Boy's Avatar
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    Very nice.
    Thank you for your memories.
    Eagle Beach Boy
    Ontario, Canada




  8. #28
    Senior Member jeffnev's Avatar
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    Thank you Aruba Delores for the great story. So many of us have been to the "Rock" a number of times and have enjoyed the beauty of the island and its people but I doubt that many of us have really thought much about the refinery when we are snorkeling at Baby Beach or riding through San Nick. I know i will be thinking of your story from now on when I look out at the refinery or see the flame burning in the night.
    Last edited by jeffnev; 06-01-2011 at 12:28 PM.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagle Beach Boy View Post
    Very nice.
    Thank you for your memories.
    Yes, thanks for taking the time to post that.

  10. #30
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    WOW, brought tears to my eyes.

    Loved it.
    thank you.

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