Dr Huth, one of our original island Doctors, enjoying a smoke break outside “The Doctor’s Office, Circa 1950”
The Doctors Office
Since the fifties the space occupied by this bar was the Island Doctors’ office. It was the office and surgery for Doctor Huth and then Doctor Deame and then finally Doctor Stephen Pelham. Generations of Islanders received medication, advice, stitches and acts of kindness and good will.
Good things happened here – every day – for a very long time.
Sean Murphy and Susan Timmins are the proprietors of this bar and Beach Bistro and Eat Here.
Sean was born and grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was the president of the student council at St Patrick’s High School – the “Head Boy” of Halifax’s largest Catholic High School.
There was a family of Catholic boys that attended St Patrick’s – the Pelham brothers. Two of the Pelhams were much celebrated at the time – Cliffie and Ricky.
They were big and strong and fast of fist and boot and when there were a gang of Protestants in the room resolved to settle the Irish question in a forceful way one hoped that Cliffy and Ricky Pelham would show up.
They rescued a boatload of Catholics and saved Sean’s scrawny neck more than once.
There was also a younger brother – Stevie. He was a hell of a hockey player and was a freshman when Sean was a senior.
Years later Sean travelled to Anna Maria in an Austin Marina. The car was the sad bastard of British and American auto technology. It represented the worst of both.
Sean’s Austin Marina leaked almost everything, continuously. He spent a good deal of his time under that car being bathed in mechanical fluids – brake fluid, transmission fluid, oil, gasoline.
This eventually earned him a rash.
Susan insisted he visit a doctor.
Sean was sitting on an examination table in this “doctors’ office” when a kid walked in wearing a clinicians’ white coat and carrying a clipboard. He looked to be about fifteen. His name tag said “Doctor Pelham”.
The doctor looked up from his clipboard and asked…
“Are you Sean Murphy that used to be Head Boy at St Pat’s High School?”
Sean replied…”Are you Cliffy Pelham’s little brother?”
It was natural that two men of shared culture and background thousands of miles from home should become friends…but Steve became a very special friend.
A few years later Sean and his wife Susan were in the desperate throws of opening the Beach Bistro in the teeth of a hurricane. Wind and waves were pounding the windows and water was invading the premises. Steve Pelham and his wife Shelagh spent a long night shoveling sand and heaving sand bags and bailing to keep the infant Bistro afloat.
Steve and Shelagh were also there in support for the birth of Susan and Sean’s first child.
Steve has stitched and bandaged Sean and his chefs in this room and the Bistro kitchens.
Steve and Shelagh have always been there when needed.
Their friendship has been a source of joy and love and laughter since that first meeting in this room over thirty five years ago.
We hope that the good will and good health generated in this building will act as a fountainhead for other great friendships and that friends will come here to celebrate kindness and good cheer.
Dr Steve is still in the business of diagnosis, prescription and dispensing sage clinical advice.
His wise advisory to Sean in the clinic at that first meeting for treatment of his rash…?
“You better sell that goddam car.”