By Pamela Henry
The Westside Gazette is pleased to announce that our longtime writer, environmentalist Audrey Peterman will launch her third book, “From My Jamaican Gully to the World” at History Fort Lauderdale, Riverwalk, 219 S.W. Second Ave. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 5:30- 7 p.m.
Appropriately for Black History Month, Mrs. Peterman’s memoir takes us from her idyllic childhood in Jamaica in the 1950s where she experienced the environment as a place of peace and reflection that supplied all her family’s needs. Food came from the backyard and chocolate came from trees.
As an immigrant to the United States Mrs. Peterman shares how she moved from New York to Fort Lauderdale trying to recapture the tropical lifestyle. Falling in love and traveling with her husband Frank around the country opened her eyes to the spectacular natural beauty protected in our National Parks.
“It was like everything I experienced growing up in Jamaica, on a massive scale,” she recalls.
But unlike Jamaica, there were no Black people among the thousands out enjoying nature. The desire to help make the benefits of the great outdoors accessible to everyone became a driving force for Mrs. Peterman’s work. She wrote profusely for the Gazette and other publications about the changes she saw in the environment, while sounding the alarm about the growing global climate crisis.
At the launch, Mrs. Peterman will share some of the incidents that she finds most remarkable, such as getting stuck in a hamper as a little girl when the donkey ran away with her, to flying aloft on the Goodyear Blimp as a reporter for the Gazette; from sitting on the banks of her gully watching fish play in the water, to sitting on the back of her yacht in Fort Lauderdale 60 years later, watching fish playing in the water.
“Looking back over my life, I see that I learned early to be confident and follow the urging of my heart without fear, as I was taught that’s where God speaks to us. I wish I could give that feeling to young people today who seem so disconnected from everything. For us to have any kind of a viable future, it’s going to be very important to remember where we come from and trust where we are going.”
The book is available at Amazon and Lulu.