To our esteemed friends and compatriots in Panama and the United States: we have published images from this “Journal” of activities amongst our various generations as a compliment to the “Panamanian Retirees’ Breakfast Club” hoping that other similar groups would leave their mark for the coming generations as we have done now for the past seven years. It was several years ago, when we were starting this work as a collection of blog sites, following them up with Facebook groups, that friends brought up what we thought were good points as we were going over the lives of our childhood buddies. Some of our friends are still with us and some- too many- have gone on to a better life.
The “Lost Generation”
We at the Silver People Heritage Foundation have received countless requests for information or clues leading to the whereabouts of “lost relatives” who left their native island homes like Jamaica and Barbados “never to be heard from again.” Most of us second and third generation Panamanians, born of these West Indian immigrant parents either stayed in Panama or migrated to the United States to then become an off shoot of the “lost generation.” Our friends who continue to support our efforts insist that very little is known about our real lives as Panamanian Silver People or, at any rate, very little, until now, has been published about us.
We took great pains to introduce our Silver People Heritage to the social media, especially Facebook, and to other new web sites, and also to connect with families and brave new authors like W.B. Garvey, and others. Our push was to help unite this “lost generation” and to, little-by-little, build a sharing of stories and bits of family history from and about our ancestors, the Silver Men and Women who raised us as well as the white kids of the Gold Roll.
Today we have become tireless advocates to the world that it was our ancestors who were largely responsible for the building of the Panama Canal and that our language- our English language, our “patois”- reached the ear of millions of visitors from the United States and the world here in Panama and helped to build up the modern version of Panama we know today.
Just a few months ago we had the honor of meeting one of the founders of The Panamanian Retirees Breakfast Club, Mr. Louis Emanuel, and we were impressed with this group’s undertaking of how important the issue of solidarity is to spreading “The Story”- our story- and the fact that they had produced a “journal,” a Commemorative yearbook to celebrate the Centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal. In it they’ve amassed photos, stories, anecdotes and historical data taken from different sources in honor of the “Legacy of the Diggers,” Our meeting instilled in us great admiration for their effort.
One finds amongst its membership that it largely resides in the United States- New York to be more specific- people from all walks of life. They are an eclectic bunch with professional as well as industrial backgrounds. Many of the “retirees” we discovered had much in common like being in the Military Service and as graduates of Rainbow City High School. They were also united in caring deeply about the well being of their relatives and friends who still live and work in Panama.
What made an impact on us was that they, almost without complex leadership, had organized themselves into smaller work groups to bring about the publishing of this journal, which is, indeed, quite a notable undertaking in itself. We have to admit that this is now a far cry from the notion of the “lost generation.”
In this introductory post we’ve provided images of the journal’s front and back covers and some inner pages with their origins and rationale. We hope to follow up in future posts with more pages and share a closer look into the workings of The Panamanian Retiree’s Breakfast Club. If anyone is interested in acquiring a copy of the entire 106 page journal, please contact through our contact page above.