Carmen Simmons, in collaboration with the Saba Heritage Center (SHC), will launch her second book on Wednesday, April 13 from 5:30 – 7pm at the SHC headquarters in Windwardside.
The book, entitled “A Life of Service: The Volunteer Life of Carmen Simmons”, was written by the author over a two-year period. It was typed up by her daughter Mary Anastacia Simmons, edited and laid out by her granddaughter Lysanne Charles and the cover art was created by her grandson Lincoln Charles, who is a graphic artist based on Saba.
This book follows two successful, sold-out, prints of her first publication “The Life of Carmen Simmons – Nicholson: Memoir of a Small Island Girl” in 2016 and 2018. While her previous book delved more into her personal life and achievements, this second volume looks specifically at her volunteer work throughout many organizations and activities including the Saba Girls and Boys Sport Society, which she found in 1962, the Saba Women’s Organization, the Saba Culture Foundation, the Eastern Stars and Saba Carnival.
“It was important for me to share my stories with the community of Saba, not to speak about what I have done, but to remind Sabans of the way things were in the past. When we saw things that needed to be done, well we got them done. That is how we were raised and how we lived. As Sabans we helped each other and even across the islands, we helped each other. Sometimes I feel that a lot of that has been lost now and we need to get back to some of that,” Simmons said.
Simmons’s book starts in the late 1930s when as a young girl she started helping her godmother Lucy Smith take care of the Catholic church in The Bottom and chronicles her experiences up until the present day. It speaks to the changes Saba has seen and the challenges on the cultural and social fronts that the island community has encountered over the years. It also highlights many activities put on with the cooperation of community leaders and parents throughout that period.
Saba Heritage Center, which is committed to honoring, preserving and sharing the history of Saba, stepped in to collaborate with Mrs. Simmons on this event because it felt that this information should be displayed and highlighted throughout the community. “We always look forward to featuring persons and activities at the Heritage Center to promote a deeper understanding of Saban history and the contributions of Sabans. We encourage persons to come out on Wednesday and see the exhibit, hear some passages from Mrs. Simmons’s book and hear some words from Mrs. Simmons herself,” Vito Charles, SABARC board member and grandson of Simmons, said.
Simmons is also inviting the public of Saba out to this event and says she looks forward to sharing her memories of her experiences on Saba with those in attendance. Copies of the book, which were originally presented at her 90th birthday in December 2021 and in a limited amount now, will be on sale for $35. Food and snacks will be provided by the organizers.
Saba Heritage Center