Kotagiri

                        Kotagiri 

 

 

The Moyer family had a long history regarding the hill station Kotagiri in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats of India.

 

In the early 30’s we lived in a mission house on the American Lutheran compound, when I was between 3 and 6 years of age.

 

My Dad was an enthusiastic gardener, and he planted many flowers, roses and shrubs around the house. There were terraces from the front yard down to the road, about 10 of them, filled with roses. He also had a 150 foot well dug down through the almost solid rock.

 

Our neighbors were the Gotwalds, Slifers and Neidorffers.

 

I remember our hikes to streams, where we feasted on top of the rocks on curry puffs with Heinz catsup, queen olives and gherkin pickles.

 

On our walks back from the English church Sunday evening services,  we bought delicious coconut macaroons.

 

Once a black panther looked into my open bedroom window silhouetted by the bright moonlight, and once my sister and I ruined the hunter’s trap for a panther/tiger when we entered the room where they had teetered a bleating goat, and the door slammed closed behind us.

 

In May of 1942, when the American Consul in Madras thought that the Japanese were going to invade India, he left for the states, and recommended that all Americans follow him.

 

Some did, but many remained. Because of a fear that the Japanese could trap the Americans in Kodai, as it had only one access motor road at that time; and remembering the Bataan March of civilians in the Phillipines,  my parents took the family to Kotagiri for several months as a safer place.

 

While there, Bill Coleman took us children on a hike to Catherine Falls, and we saw him courting Margaret Hutchinson, whom he later married.

 

I took a lot of bicycle rides through the Nilgiri Hills, to Ootycamund, Wellington, etc.; and witnessed a Toda funeral ceremony in town, complete with a thatched pavilion and colored umbrellas in its four corners.                       

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