Danny Melville was content with his laid-back life at his famous Chukka Cove in Jamaica. He knew his life of privilege came from old family money: a legacy from his American great-grandfather,Thomas Briggs, the inventor who founded the Boston Wire Stitcher Company which became the worldwide brand Bostitch. Beyond that, Danny knew little about Briggs or his daughter Berenice (Danny’s grandmother) or relatives outside his immediate family, until the day a stranger walked onto his polo ground with stories about Danny’s family history. He especially wanted to tell Danny about the secret life of his grandfather, Harold Melville. What the stranger revealed was shocking and Danny would eventually be drawn into a tangled family web that he became determined to unravel.
Lost Stitches is part family memoir – part American history, part romance and part a love letter to Jamaica.
The reader will learn about the Briggs legacy and how it is that his heiress daughter came to marry Danny’s grandfather and move with him to Jamaica. Then there are the scandalous stories told of grandfather Melville and his many progenies inside and outside his marriage, brazen affairs and lawsuits. Danny speaks openly about privilege, legitimacy, prejudice, colour and class in colonial and post-colonial Jamaica. As he pieces together the puzzle of his ancestry, he learns a lot about himself.
Lost Stitches is more than a reclamation of family history; it is a story of generations of both Bostitch and Jamaican histories.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica on September 29, 1947, Danny grew up in the rural parish of St Ann. He attended Munro College and Jamaica College, and Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton OK. When his parents and siblings immigrated to Canada in the 1970s he remained in Jamaica and took over the family business. Now retired, Danny spends his time between his homes in Toronto, Jamaica and Barbados.
is a Canadian Governor General’s Award winner of the Caribbean trilogy, Drumblair, Slipstream and Horses in her Hair, memoirs on growing up with two generations of her political family in Jamaica. She wrote three collections of poetry, Prisms, Poems 2 and A Light Left On and was awarded the Jamaica Centennial Medal for Poetry. More recent works are in fiction, The Black Peacock and The Fellowship. Her latest work is Lost stitches, co-authored with Danny Melville Rachel teaches creative writing at Lesley University in their graduate school.
Praise for Lost Stitches
“Melville creates a compelling story which explores that sense of belonging we all strive for in life. He confronts colour and privilege in a story with deep-rooted themes of family, love, entrepreneurship and identity. The mark of a good memoir is that it creates a place for readers to see themselves and question their own personal history. The Bostitch story certainly delivers that experience.”
“….its not often you get the inside story of how the rich white elite of Jamaica lives. Just reading about what it was like to grow up never having to work because you have a trust fund to support you was, for me, fascinating.”
“What sets this book apart is the candour and honesty with which the author…..recounts the history of his family over five generations , their way of life and the role they played in Jamaica’s development.”
“Lost Stitches is a tale of discovery and loss, confession and redemption, anger and forgiveness, and Love. Above all, its about life’s inescapable requirement to accept what cannot be changed and a never ending search for meaning.”