Arthur, Louis and Malcolm Ming can’t walk down the street without stopping to talk.
They love people.
No surprise then, that not one of them had a typical office job.
Arthur, who is known as Junior, is a boarding pass agent at LF Wade International Airport, Louis is a retired bartender and Malcolm runs Malcolm’s Barber Shop in St George.
“It would be safe to say we’re all people persons,” said 79-year-old Louis, who spends his days ferrying senior citizens to doctor’s appointments.
“I’m not doing anything right now so I’m happy to help. I think sometimes they forget I’m a senior myself.”
There were nine boys in the Ming family: Vernon, Junior, Roger, Larry “Cookie”, Milton, Louis, Dennis and twins Malcolm and Maurice.
Arthur, Louis and the twins are the only ones still living; Maurice is in New York.
After seven boys, their mother, Ora, really wanted a girl. When she learnt she was pregnant with twins, she was sure her wish had been granted.
“Growing up, we slept in two bedrooms,” said Malcolm, 73. “We all had to share beds. One slept one way, and the next brother slept the other way. And we didn’t even have one bathroom in the house. The bathroom was out back. We had an outhouse.”
They learnt early on, they had to hustle to help out the family.
From the age of 8, Junior was delivering milk for one of their Turkey Hill, St George’s neighbours.
“I got up at 5am to do that,” the 84-year-old said. “And then I went to school at 9am. I got a shilling a day — that was a lot of money back in the 1930s.”
Louis earned some cash collecting dried manure for another neighbour’s garden.
“My mother grew spinach and other vegetables,” Junior said. “We’d put them in brown bags and take them around the neighbourhood to sell.”
Like most people in the neighbourhood, they kept goats, rabbits and chickens.
Their father, Arthur, warned them not to name the animals.
“He was a butcher,” said Louis. “You didn’t get attached because the next Saturday afternoon he might kill them.”
When the Second World War broke out, their father joined the Bermuda Militia Artillery.
He was sent overseas shortly after Malcolm and Maurice were born.
“He was stationed in Egypt,” said Junior. “At that time, we moved to town quite near where the Perfume Factory is now.
“While my father was in the army my mother sent me to school in Hamilton. That broke my heart because I loved feeding the chickens. Now I try to grow a few things, but I don’t have any animals.
“Two years later, when my mother got word that my father was coming home, she took me out of school. My father’s army stipend had been paying for my schooling.”
That meant Junior had to go out to work.
One of his first jobs was a carpentry apprentice, working on the Stella Maris Church in St George’s.
“I think I’m the only one left who helped to build that place,” he said.
But he didn’t like carpentry. After a few years he found another job working as a wine steward and room service attendant at the old St George’s Hotel.
“I really liked that,” he said. “I liked serving people.”
A number of similar jobs followed until 1984 when he bought and ran the Arcade Restaurant in the Walker Arcade and Take Five in the Washington Mall. Louis worked with him.
“But I had to sell after two years,” Junior said. “It was too much for me.”
He started working at the airport 17 years ago, and has no thoughts of retiring.
“I’m just getting started,” he laughed.
“They just told me to go into Hamilton and buy five more shirts,” he laughed. “I guess they have plans to keep me on for a little while longer.”
Malcolm remembers how he loved playing barber with Maurice on rainy days. As a teenager, when someone asked him what he wanted to do in life, barber popped out of his mouth.
“I don’t know why I said it,” he said.
He went on to train in New York at the Atlas Barber School. Malcolm’s Barber Shop has been on Shinbone Alley since he opened it in 1969. His brothers are loyal customers.
They all remain close. Louis and Junior live together.
Their mother used to joke that none of her boys were fools like her as none of them had large families.
Malcolm is divorced and has two children, LeRone and Joy, and one granddaughter, Asia.
Junior is also divorced and has two daughters, Lynda Gordon and Denise Wingood.
Louis is a widower and has two daughters, Jewel Trott and Dawnette Franklin, and four grandchildren.
•Lifestyle profiles senior citizens in the community every Tuesday. To suggest an outstanding senior contact Jessie Moniz Hardy: 278-0150 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Have on hand the senior’s full name, contact details and the reason you are suggesting them
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