Stories of the Botanical Gardens, or BG as we called it, brought to mind the times my friends and I used to spend in the Botanical Gardens, and after rummaging through old pictures I came across one particular photograph which featured the second Tembusu tree. It was taken in August 1941, when “life was a breeze” just before the outbreak of World War II. The camera used was a Brownie and was developed at home. I was only 18 then.
During the August school holidays my friends and I would take a morning walk from Hooper Road to the BG and spent carefree moments with Mother Nature. We would wake up at 5am, prepare a few sandwiches (prawn sambal or corned beef wrapped by French bread), and with bottles of water and thermos flask’s of tea or coffee make our way to the BG. Plastic was unheard of then and we used small enamel cups to quench our thirst. The BG in those days was a fairyland for us with its resplendent greenery. We played games on the open spaces of grass, sat on the lake after a game of hide and seek. There were two swans there. Photographs were taken and this particular snapshot was on the limb of the Tembusu tree which is located at the corner of Palms Valley. Unfortunately the branch has been cut off but the tree still stands there tall and majestic. It must be over 100 years old.
Sadly all my friends have passed on, so this particular photograph brings back memories of the good old days when the outdoors was a source of so much fun and activity – no computer, no distracting HP – only the radio and records of lovely music to listen to – not to mention a few good books. How nostalgic.
TOP: The writer at age 18, flanked by two friends, posing at the Tembusu tree in the 'BG' a few months before Singapore was drawn into World War II.
ABOVE: Ms Scheerder, 90, with loved ones today.
Photographs courtesy of Olive C. Scheerder.
This article was first published on May 7, 2014.