I doubt if I have all the facts, but I think I have the general gist of the thing. For as many years as I can remember, and probably for as many years as I have existed, there have been three “Gas Stations” on Vlissengen Road, right next to one another; from north to south it was Texaco, then Esso and then Shell. I think most Guyanese grew up calling these places Gas Stations, instead of the more internationally acceptable “Petrol Station” or “Service Station”. At Mashramani time, these stations were always popular meeting places, and even “drinking places”.
A few years ago, the Shell service stations were purchased by Sol, and are operated under the Shell brand/franchise, shortly after that Sol also bought out the Esso service stations, these now operate either unbranded or as Sol service stations. So at this point Sol had two service station competing with each other, right next door to each other, on Vlissengen Road. I figure that it was only a matter of time before one had to close down.
The Esso service Station was known by many as the KC Correia Service Station, and it has been under that management for more years than I care to count. I was told that it is now closing its doors. That is sad, but changes are inevitable and we must either change with it or be left behind. It seems that the old Esso Station was chosen to close its doors over the more modern Shell Station.
I took this photo last Friday, not knowing when I would get the chance again.
Everyone leaves a mark in this world, everyone, without exception. They may be remembered by one or my many, for good or for bad, but they are remembered. At least, that is what I like to believe, in time we will be eventually forgotten, but just for a moment, we leave a mark upon the lives of others, these are the moments that matter.
Aunt Yvette always referred to me as Comrade Hinds, no doubt referring to someone else she remembered working in this building. Many may have called her a beggar, but she always asked very nicely if we could “support local”. And there were many a time when after giving her what we had, she would return at a later time with gifts for us; a comb, perfume, hand-sanitizer, a myriad of things. While I may not be able to cherish any of her gifts, I cherish the memories.
She sat on the pavements or on our door-stoop, when she walked it was in an almost completely doubled-over posture, apparently a combination of age and health issues, although I had heard rumour of an accident that left her so. She is reputed to have been a school teacher in her younger days, she certainly had an artistic flair, evidenced in her drawing, she sewed her own clothes and even did some crochet. She was an avid reader, many times collecting old magazines from us, and she loved to do Word-Find puzzles. She also carried on lengthy and complicated conversations with person (or persons) whom only she could see, always an entertaining event.
This was the only photograph I remember taking of her, I am sorry I never took more.
She was apparently in the compound of the Sol Service Station on Regent Street yesterday when she was struck by a vehicle and died, another victim of reckless driving. Maybe the driver did not see her in her bent over position, but then it could have been a child he hit if that is his excuse. I don’t know how many people’s lives she has touched through the years, but she touched mine and she will be remembered.