Raymond, 75, knows to measure twice and cut once
Every Halloween children descend on Raymond Madeiros’s Devonshire home “like locusts”.
So many come to trick or treat and see the goblins, headless horsemen and snakes in his Melville Road yard, he has someone stand at the front gate to make sure they don’t trample each other.
“One year my neighbour counted more than 450 children,” he said.
At Christmas it’s much the same, only with angels, reindeer, Santa and two life-size Johnny Walker figures – and no candy. He also decorates for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Thanksgiving.
“A lot of people don’t know that I make and paint all my decorations myself, out of plywood,” Mr Madeiros said. “I order the patterns online.”
It’s a skill set he learnt while studying at the Bermuda Technical Institute.
“My carpentry teacher always complained about my hastiness,” he said. “I did not appreciate the concept of measure twice and cut once.”
His house is filled with items he has made such as a large cedar bar that folds up for storage when not in use.
“I should have patented that,” said Mr Madeiros, who has sold versions of it to Harbourfront and other restaurants.
Some of his work is now up for sale as part of Warwick Academy’s Outsider Art Auction.
Works by 50 “emerging” artists are being used to raise funds for the school’s student bursary fund.
Mr Madeiros’s daughter Wendy organised the event and asked for his help.
The 75-year-old grew up on Chancery Lane in Hamilton.
His father Emery was a butcher at Miles Market; his mother Dora – who everyone knew as “Dolly” – was a cashier and receptionist for J B Astwood.
“I was known as the terror of Front Street,” Mr Madeiros laughed. “Back then, Bermuda Hardware Store was right next door; there was MA Gibbons and John F Burrows. I was right in the thick of things.
“But everyone had their doors wide open in those days and I would just ride along the veranda on my little bike and into the shops. There was usually a dog trailing after me. They would usher me out.”
He loved sports, and broke a few windows in the alleyway kicking a ball around.
As his father was captain of the BAA cricket team, he had him playing his first match for the club at 13 years old.
“I filled in as a substitute for one game,” said Mr Madeiros, who briefly captained the team in the 1960s. “I was the last person going in but I impressed them so much, the next game I played I was the first man going in.”
In 1962 he went to England to play with WF “Chummy” Hayward’s team, the Bermuda Wanderers, joining Calvin “Bummy” Symonds, Dennis Wainwright and Rupert Scotland. He returned in 1966 with a team led by Francis Gosling.
He got his first job around the time he started playing for BAA.
“I was a big boy,” he said. “I worked at the old Colony Club as a bar waiter, under the radar, at their club dances. I was big enough at 13 to get away with it.”
After graduating from the Bermuda Technical Institute he started working for Masters doing customs clearance.
“Then I ended up working on the docks as a cargo checker for Stevedoring Services,” he said.
All the skills he had gained working with cargo helped him when he went to work for his uncle, Donald Lines, at Lines Food & Liquor Mart on Ord Road.
He bought the business a year later, aged 21.
“I persuaded my parents to leave the jobs they had and they came to work with me,” he said. “I could not fail. If I wasn’t in the shop, I had mom and dad there manning the stations. As a family unit we made that a very successful business.”
He met his wife Nancy, a travel agent from Massachusetts, not long after buying the grocery store. They married on September 9, 1967.
“She was here with a group of people she had brought to the island,” he said.
For 21 years Mr Medeiros worked a minimum of 70 hours a week.
“In my 40s, I was fairly young, but I was starting to burn out,” he said. “I had a visit from my wife’s cousin. I took him out on my boat and took him golfing. He said, ‘Man you need to sell that business and start enjoying yourself. You are working too hard.’”
Mr Madeiros agreed. By 44 he was retired.
“I bought a one-and-a-half acre property when I was 23,” he said. “When I sold the grocery store, I decided to make the property work for me.”
He fixed up his home and added apartments.
“Whenever we had carpenters or electricians or whoever working on the property I would be their labourer for the day,” he said. “I put a lot of sweat equity into the property. And now, there is always something that needs doing around the house. Some people’s idea of retirement is to sit back and do nothing, but my wife and I like to keep ourselves occupied.”
He is proud of both his children. His son, Christopher, died in 2018.
“My son was a fabulous gentleman. And my daughter Wendy is very talented, artistically. She gets that from me,” Mr Madeiros said.
Warwick Academy’s Outsider Art Auction ends on Tuesday. For more information visit bit.ly/3iIHvAi
Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Wednesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or email@example.com with the person’s full name and contact details and the reason you are suggesting them