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Tolerance is the Trotts’ secret to a happy marriage

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George and Dorothy Trott with their beloved ackee tree (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

George and Dorothy Trott have been happily married for 43 years, but theirs is by no means a story of love at first sight.

They first met at the Bermuda Telephone Company back in the early 1970s.

Mrs Trott, originally from Clarendon, Jamaica, was working on book keeping machines there.

Mr Trott worked for Bermuda Business Machines, and was tasked with maintaining the computers Mrs Trott used.

“She worked on NCR machines,” Mr Trott said. “They captured paper tape for the paper tape counters. They weren’t designed for that so they needed constant maintenance.”

He knew some of the women in the office but did not really notice Mrs Trott, at first.

She noticed him.

“We just did not click,” she said. “I would say to him, this is what is wrong with the machine. But he would say, I know what is wrong with it. It is the operator’s fault. Sometimes when he came I would get up and leave. But he knew what he was doing. He was right and I was wrong.”

Then one day Mr Trott was talking with the women in the office about cooking. Mr and Mrs Trott started a friendly debate over who could cook better. To decide the question, they decided to make a meal for each other.

“She made barbecue,” Mr Trott said.

Knowing he could not beat that, he took her out for dinner when it was his turn to cook.

They were married on July 8, 1978.

Now they are in complete agreement over the secret to a long and happy marriage.

“You have to be tolerant of one another,” they said.

Mrs Trott, 76, is the talker in the marriage. Mr Trott is quieter.

“Sometimes I say George, let’s have a meeting, I want to discuss something,” Mrs Trott said. “He will say oh gosh. What is it now?”

Now that they are both retired, they love gardening together, although they sometimes get a little territorial over space on their Radnor Estate Road property.

“Sometimes he will come and stand right up behind me while I am working in the garden,” Mrs Trott complained jokingly. She is used to more space. “I remind him that I grew up on a 10-acre farm in Jamaica. I even had my own cow at one point.”

Mr Trott, 74, grows vegetables and takes care of the hedges, and she grows strawberries. Together they dote over a collection of fruit trees: guava, avocado nectarine and most prized of all, an ackee tree.

“One day my mother, Doris Scott, came to visit,” Mrs Trott said. “This is about 40 years ago. She asked if I had any shade trees in my yard. Don’t ask me where she got the ackee seeds from, but she planted them in my yard.”

Today the tree is a shady, bountiful reminder of her mother’s love.

The tree took a battering from a hurricane a few years ago, so it has a bit of a lean now, but keeps on producing the red fruit that is so key to the Jamaican national dish, saltfish and ackee.

The Trotts give away most of what they grow, fruit, vegetables, even cedar trees Mrs Trott seeded from a tree in the yard.

“The seeds dropped from the tree,” she said. “I picked them up and planted them. Some of the seedlings died, but some grew. You have to try different things.”

Mr Trott was the son of George and Verona Trott. His father was a well known carpenter and cabinet maker.

From the time he started school he would help his father in his carpentry shop, sweeping up or helping with the books when he was older.

“When I was 11 or 12, my father made the chandeliers for City Hall,” Mr Trott said. “I remember watching him make them. I helped with the tassels at the end.”

Mr Trott studied electronics at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, Canada, before returning to Bermuda to work on computers during their early days.

“I was more on the hardware side,” he said.

Mrs Trott came to Bermuda in 1970, looking for a change. She had been working for the Banana Board in Jamaica, working on NCR accounting machines similar to the ones she worked on at BTC.

After arriving, Mrs Trott volunteered with the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.

“We used to go way up in the bushes when people were doing cross country on horses,” Mrs Trott said.

She remembered one particularly bad accident during motocross at Coney Island in St George’s.

“A rider had something wrong with his toe,” Mrs Trott said. “We had to throw him into the ambulance and take him to the hospital. I think that was the major one.”

Then she worked as a Reserve Constable with the police until her son Philip was born.

“Then I wanted to spend more time with him,” she said.

After retirement she volunteered as a driver with PALS.

“I used to go and get people and take them to hospital for dialysis and take them home,” she said.

Her usual route was the East End, but she often covered for drivers who handled other parts of the island. Appointments often took much longer than expected.

“I did not mind because I was not working,” she said.

She remembers the first man that she transported lived in Spanish Point.

“When I took him back home he said to me, now Mrs Trott do they give you money for gas? I said no, I am doing it voluntarily. I said it’s okay. This is what I am doing. They don’t have to pay me, and you don’t have to pay me. He said are you sure. I said I’m positive.”

Drivers were counselled to not get involved emotionally with the patients, but she still got attached to the people she helped.

“It was fulfilling,” she said. “I enjoyed the five years I worked there. But it was really tough when people passed away. It got to a point where I decided enough is enough.”

Happy couple Dorothy and George Trott (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

She stopped driving for PALS after five years, but often went back when they were short a driver or needed someone to answer phones in the office.

Mrs Trott learnt to swim when she came to Bermuda, and now swims throughout the year.

“Your body gets accustomed to the change of the water,” she said. “The water is 69F now, but I put on a wet suit and I go. I had a friend who used to go with me every year. We would go swimming in the dark. Then she said she was getting too old for that. Then I had another friend who said she would swim in the summer but not the winter. I go as long as it is not rough.”

The Trotts also have a daughter, Melissa, and one little grandson that they adore.

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Published December 29, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated December 30, 2021 at 9:08 am)

Tolerance is the Trotts’ secret to a happy marriage

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