I will attempt below to give you a short history about my mother and Aruba, but I regret that I didn't record her story before her death in 2007. So all that's left are memories from me and my sister, and of course the photos and documents.
My mother, Rita Braud Cannon (born Rita Mae Braud in 1926), lived on Aruba for 12 years, starting when she was 4 years old (1930-1942). Her father worked for Standard Oil at the refinery. The whole family on Aruba consisted of:
John Joseph "Slim" Braud (my grandfather)
Lydia Decareaux Braud (my grandmother)
Rita Mae Braud (my mother)
Huey Braud (my uncle)
Beverly Braud (my aunt, born 1940)
I would guess that my grandfather had more than one position at the refinery over the years, but a PDF document that I downloaded from your website in 2008 mentions him as a pressure still operator.
Another PDF document "The Lago Colony Legend, Our Stories, II" mentions my mother and uncle participating in school shows (pg. 4, 5, 17).
I think I have one of the original school programs, but the quality is too faded to scan.
My mother recalled an early ship voyage to Aruba; she and her mother were on deck speaking with the captain or another ship's officer. The deck tilted as the ship entered a swell and my mother would have slid into the sea had the officer not quickly grabbed her skirt. I remember my mother telling me that she was a bit of a tomboy, and that she and her younger brother Huey enjoyed exploring the island. The soles of their feet became quite toughened from running around barefoot on the rough island surface. They explored a cave once that was later closed and barricaded when some spelunkers went in and never came out. As I recall, their bodies were never recovered. In 1942 my mother became temporarily engaged to a marine who later served in the Pacific theater of WWII. But they gradually lost touch with one another. My grandmother, mother, and siblings moved back to the states after the 1942 attack on Aruba by the German U-boat. My grandfather could not escort them, since he was needed at the refinery. A lot of women and children evacuated Aruba at the same time. Normally they would have taken a ship back to the US, but it was deemed too dangerous. According to my mother, they made their way to the mainland and managed to
get to Central America before they could get a flight to Miami. My grandmother would sleep with her wallet between her legs so it wouldn't be stolen. When my grandmother asked for assistance from some South American bureaucrat, he tried to blackmail her for sexual favors. She apparently told him that he was going to help her and that if he tried anything untoward she would emasculate him. He provided the requested
assistance. My grandmother was a pretty tough lady, having had to quit school when her mother died to raise her younger siblings. My mother always had fond memories of her life on Aruba. That's about all I can tell you. The comments on the photos I posted provide a bit more information.
Thanks for this opportunity to share her experience with others.
Baton Rouge, LA
These are the photos and documents received from Layne.
You can see Layne's photos by going to his flicker site at: