(Click to enlarge photos)
Imagine the story of a musical California socialite who falls in love with her voice professor, who marries him, gives birth to a son and eventually settles with her family in 1932 on a beautiful Mediterranean island, where they build a house on a rocky promontory overlooking a small bay, naming it Spindrift.
Foto credit to Trip Advisor Dizzyo6
The Spindrift promontory in background
This is the true story of a very special lady, Dina Moore Bowden, who became a legend both in her native California and on the island of Mallorca.
But for the moment, I will only outline the setting for this family tale, with which I was privileged to have a fleeting encounter during my years in Mallorca.
Dina Moore Bowden was the mother of George Moore Bowden, the Mr. G. mentioned in my memoir. I will tell more of her history later, but for now I want to describe my brief but memorable visits to Spindrift.
The finca or estate was built beside what was then a sleepy little beach cove called Portals Nous, at only a few kilometers from Palma, the capital city.
Foto credit to Mallorca Fact
Small cove beach at Portals Nous
Dina had chosen the image of a seahorse to represent Spindrift, to be repeated in ironwork, in decor and on the letterhead of her stationery.
Photo above from Antoni Mir's book 'Els Tres Bowden'
The land was surrounded by rock walls and at one end was the high cliff which overlooked the sea. There was a manhole built into the ground which, when raised, uncovered a secret iron ladder leading down to a small cave-like hole in the cliff wall from where one could swim. Another small ladder went into the water so one could climb down into the sea.
Following are my original black & white photos taken in 1968.
At the top of the promontory was a stone covered patio with an old millstone mounted as a table, with folding green-painted wooden chairs as well as concrete benches around the edges.
Small pine trees gave shade overhead while dry desert yuccas and succulents edged the pathways. The scent of warm pine needles was everywhere.
On one side of the patio was a wrought iron gate leading to the rough ground outside the edge of the estate. The seahorse image was at the centre.
My photo of gate from 1968
Once Mr. G., his daughter Helen and I were having a small picnic, consisting of sandwiches we had brought from the apartment while seated around the round table.
When Dina walked up to see how we were doing, she looked with some disapproval at our meager meal, saying that it wasn't really sufficient and that we should have something better than that.
I imagine that since I had recently arrived from Canada, where a picnic consisted of sandwiches, that I couldn't think of anything else to bring. However some time later, a basket arrived filled with hot and cold goodies prepared by Dina's Mallorquin cook, Catalina. I learned then that the midday meal, no matter where it was taken, should be a substantial one!
I was recently given a copy of a book written in Mallorquin by Antoni Mir I Marquès entitled 'Els Tres Bowden' (The Three Bowdens) in which he tells the story of Mr. George Charles Bowden (the father), his wife Dina Moore and their son George Moore Bowden. Although I have not a full domination of the Mallorquin language, (similar to Catalàn), I have managed to read and understand nearly all and have found background material which fills out my knowledge of the family. It is a most interesting book and I hope one day that Antoni will also publish it in English and Castellano.
Here is Antoni Mir's website. "La Guitarra Balear", written in Spanish.
I will be continuing in following entries with this story of my contacts with the Bowden family in Mallorca.
Continue on to Chapter 29 The House at Spindrift
Go back to Chapter 27 Spanish Omelette