Taking a look at Over-the-Hill
Former reporter pens book looking at the other side – positive stories
There is good news coming out of the area known as Over-the-Hill, but far too often, it is not documented. For a number of years, former reporter, Hadassah Deleveaux tapped into the “pool” of positive people and has now published her conversations with them in a book.
Hall’s book, “Over The Hill…The Other Side” is a compilation of factual short stories. Some of the people featured have moved away from the Over-the-Hill community, but still have businesses there, family, attend church; some still reside there.
“I had no idea that my few years of blogging was really content creation for this book, all that time,” said Deleveaux. “Some stories didn’t make it to the book for various reasons, but I am pleased with the final cut,” said the new author.
“I take readers on a journey beginning with my cobbler at Sidney and Son on Market Street to K.L.M. Designs, owned by a college graduate in Big Pond who is one of the most creative hat and fascinator designers locally, to two coffee shops – one in Englerston and one off East Street. This book is about community – a few untold stories of the Over-the-Hill community,” said Deleveaux.
Each of the book’s stories stand on its own, has its own narrative footing, but what in a sense threads these stories together Deleveaux said, is that good came from Over-the-Hill and still resides there.
“I’m not turning a blind eye to the social ills that exist, however, it’s not the whole story,” said the author who herself grew up Over-the-Hill and still has deep roots there.
“I hope readers come away with a fresh understanding and appreciation of the people Over-the-Hill and how their experiences have shaped them personally, and how they have contributed to their communities,” she said.
She wrote about Stephen McPhee who grew up in Black Village and went on to become a school principal and is today, a union leader.
Deleveaux also chronicles the story of former leader of the Border Boys gang, Valentino “Scrooge” Brown, who is now a community activist and has a radio show called, Over The Hill.
She also took a personal tour and behind the scenes look at Saint Martin Monastery on Nassau Street.
During the interview process, she said she got to pull back the curtain on fascinating lives, while in some cases, deepening her understanding of history.
“One of my favorite stories was of Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Raymond King, who grew up in Big Pond, sold newspapers to pay for lunch, uniforms and exams, who slept on the floor with his grandmother, but who has such an indomitable spirit, rising to become the commander of this national institution” she said.
“I had unfettered access to this very high-ranking individual, who was surprisingly so candid. He is an excellent example to our youth.”
Additionally, the author noted that conversations with Arlene Nash-Ferguson, who is a cultural enthusiast; Rosalie Fawkes, daughter of father of the labour movement, Sir Randall Fawkes; Rosemary Hanna, a preserver of Bahamian history and Assistant Anglican Bishop Gilbert Thompson were illuminating. She said she felt she was in a history class.
“They are reservoirs of Bahamian history. By the way, Ms. Hanna is one of those individuals who I know to have been deliberate in exposing what is good and positive about Over-the-Hill through her own book and a documentary. She is in a special class of her own,” said Deleveaux.
The author, who is currently a communications professional, said she could not write a book about Over-the-Hill without including a few iconic spots such as the house through Lewis Street, where the late American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed while on a visit to The Bahamas. There is also a feature on the Lillian G. Weir-Coakley Public Library, formerly known as the Southern Public Library and a shorter feature dedicated to the 232-year legacy of Bethel Baptist Church on Meeting Street.
“The book is really a compact package of Over-the-Hill. I consider the features carefully written gems. In fact, there’s also a personal piece from me regarding how hurt I was when my former primary school, Mable Walker, was about to be closed. My love of reading was ignited there. I played on those grounds, skipped through those gates and was groomed as a speaker and future reporter. I felt that closure. I was sad, believe it or not. I had to dig beyond what was shared via the media and discover what’s in the school’s future. My source gave me good info,” said Deleveaux.
She said she is proud that some of the stories have already been used in English classes at the tertiary level.
“I know of two instructors at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), who in the past incorporated them in lessons. I was invited to one of those classes as a presenter. A professor at the University of The Bahamas (UB), whom I greatly respect, also shared that her class had read and discussed one of the pieces. It’s truly an honor, said Deleveaux.
“I am also particularly pleased that as a two-time graduate of the College of The Bahamas – now University of The Bahamas (UB) – the book is now sitting in its bookstore. It’s a good feeling and God deserves the glory,” she said.
Deleveaux considers her book unique as she does not see people writing extensively about Over-the-Hill, and when there are stories told, they are often negative.
“In my book, blood baths, drug busts and poverty, violence and brokenness have been pushed aside in favor of stories that bring to light positive vibes from the heart of Over-the-Hill.
“The journalist in me will never die. I am a writer for life. It is my professional foundation. I am a storyteller and felt compelled to share a few stories of Over-the-Hill people. There is another side to this community that is rarely told, so this is my small way of presenting a different narrative,” she said.
Deleveaux, who spent 10 years in news in both print and broadcast media, recalled when the idea of writing a book came to mind.
“I started with a blog but in December 2021 while in a kitchen, out of nowhere, I got the word to turn my blog into a book. It just dropped in my spirit,” she recalled Deleveaux.
“The writing of my book was tightly guarded. It was one of those move in silence until it’s time to say checkmate situations, but once the Holy Spirit spoke, I started planning. I have a responsibility to use my God-given talent for good,” she said. For more information, email email@example.com.