This story of misbegotten love, reminds me of that song by Bahamian artist Eddie Minnis “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” The lyrics go something like.., “You take me from my mother’s home, I was young and innocent, sweet as a plum, sweet as a plum. Now look what you gone do to me, make me lose my sanity, oh you no good bum, you lazy no good bum. You better straighten up and fly right, cause you don’t want me and you to fight…”

Straighten Up and Fly Right. Music and Lyrics by Eddie Minnis


In Bahamianese (the unique, oh so very unique language of the Bahamas) to “get swing” means someone has just made a fool of you, and you don’t even know it. In 1890, Mrs. Sarah Wilds, a creole lady (creole being a polite way of saying she was mixed race in 1890 language), “get swing” by an American, John Wilds, who claimed to be wealthy man and in love with her. He was from a wrecked ship in 1874 somewhere in the islands, and she, Sarah a trusting island girl, was his nurse. Sarah married him and moved to New Providence and then America. As it turns out he was a scoundrel, a mountebank and a deceiver. When the poor woman tried to divorce him, he claimed that they weren’t even legally married, forcing the wife to send to Nassau for a copy of the marriage certificate.

Poor Mrs. Sarah Wilds of 1890. She get swing.


(The Sun Times, New York, Monday December 1, 1890)
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