St. Vincent Botanical Gardens

Preschool photographs of me and my brother.

When I was a boy, we lived in a home on the side of the hill in the New Montrose section of Kingstown. The home was a rental house across the street from the St. Vincent Botanical Gardens. Mom often took us to the garden to run around and play with our dog, who she thought was named Snowy. I vaguely remember running around, stopping to play with the small tropical fish that swam among the lily pads.

Mom remembers that I would have been about four years old. My younger brother Shane would have been one year old. The youngest, Bruce, would be born later in Barbados.

Mom, Shane, and Me · circa 1971

Cooper, Helena, Khürt, and Shane

My mom is staying with me this month and brought some family photo albums. I’m busy scanning as much as possible and getting the story behind each photograph.

Mom is staying with me for a few weeks. I have not seen Mom since February 2020. She’s been on the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent and The Grenadines since the start of the global pandemic.

She was not doing well with the state and federally-mandated lockdown conditions. In May 2020, my brother and I worked out a plan to get Mom out of the USA to St. Vincent. She travelled from Charlotte, North Carolina, through Miami, Florida, then Barbados, before arriving in St. Vincent 24 hours later. Fortunately, the island chain has had very few outbreaks of COVID-191. She had a minor scare in December 2020 when the La Soufrière volcano erupted effusively, followed by an explosive eruption on April 22, 2021, which blanketed the island for several weeks in a rain of volcanic ash.

I’m happy to see Mom after two years, but she is only back in the USA to see her doctor in New York City about some recent health challenges. She needs a surgical procedure to biopsy a mass in her oesophagus. She sounds scared, and I’m trying to calm my 79-year-old mother. The east coast has some of the best medical professionals and facilities in the USA.

She brought a few of the family photo albums, as I asked for. I am slowly scanning in the prints relying on Mom’s memory of each photograph. Some of the pictures are almost 50 years old and in poor condition. I want to find some restoration software to help bring out the best from each scan.

It took me a few days to develop a repeatable scan workflow for photographic prints. The collection of photographs varied in print size and was most likely captured on various photographic film stock and from different cameras over time; some photos are in colour with the faded word Kodak Paper or Kodachrome on the back. A few photographs have dates on the edges of the print, but most do not.

Mom thinks the scan included in this post was taken circa 1969, shortly after she and Dad moved us into a rented house in the New Montrose section of Kingstown. In this photograph, most likely captured by a family member or close friend, Dad is holding me on his knee, and Mom is holding up my brother Shane. I would have been about three; my brother Shane was about six months old. Mom thinks the family car at the time was a Morris sedan. Given the time, this was a Morris 1100 or 1300.

The house in New Montrose is located across the street from the entrance to St Vincent and the Grenadines Botanic Gardens, the oldest botanic garden in the Western Hemisphere.

  1. The numbers are rising now that the ports are reopened to international travellers.