Couple return to their newlywed roots
The ink was barely dry on their marriage certificate when Charles and Ann Mulraine moved to Bermuda. It was 1962. They were fresh out of university and ready to start new lives together.
The couple spent three idyllic years here before returning to the United Kingdom. This summer they relived that experience, visiting old stamping grounds with their children and grandchildren.
“We are both in our 70s,” Mrs Mulraine said. “Unless luck is on our side we may not see Bermuda again. It was a joy to be back. There is a lot more traffic and things are busier, but Bermuda is much more diverse. What we found was that the whole island appeared so happy.
“There seems to be a continued bon homie. People are just so nice wherever you go. When we were here before, it wasn’t quite the same.”
Mr Mulraine had “never even heard of Bermuda” before he saw the advertisment for a teacher at Saltus Grammar School.
“The island was just so beautiful and the people so warm and friendly,” he said.
They vowed to return when they left in 1965, but only managed one visit in 1982. This year they decided if they were going to see Bermuda again it was now or never.
“We bought a farmhouse in France,” said Mrs Mulraine, who is now an acting coach. “That took up a lot of our vacation time. We eventually sold it and that freed us up to visit other places.”
Racism was the dark side of paradise in the 1960s. Theatres had only been desegregated in 1959, and there were no black students at Saltus.
“Now Bermuda seems to be more evenly balanced,” Mrs Mulraine said.
She and her husband toured Saltus with deputy principal Jon Beard and were delighted to see how far the school had come.
“When I was at the school I was head of English, and also taught the boys cricket,” said Mr Mulraine, who quit teaching for public relations. “Henry Hallett was the principal. Those were happy days for us, but I’m afraid I don’t remember any of my old pupils. It was so long ago.
“What a pleasure it was to see that the school now has pupils who are black and white. It also allows girls now, which is great. In my days there were only white lads.”
Mrs Mulraine worked at Friendship Vale School for children with special needs.
“I wanted to do something so I ended up working at Friendship Vale doing voice exercises with children and music and movement as best as they could manage,” Mrs Mulraine said. “I loved it.”
One of the highlights during their time working here was the observance of Shakespeare’s 400th birthday in 1964. Mrs Mulraine played the heroine Viola in the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society’s production of Twelfth Night that year.
The celebrations were equally as thrilling for Mr Mulraine. He attended the bard’s old school, King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon, as a child.
“[BMDS] really opened up a new chapter in our lives in Bermuda,” Mrs Mulraine said. “It was great fun and we met so many interesting characters.”
One of them was Connie Dey. They kept in touch over the years and were thrilled to meet up with her again on this visit.
“It’s good to be back in Bermuda in 2016, Mr Mulraine said. “This is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.”