As in most “Silver rate” towns, the “clubhouse” was the community center. This building was a real multipurpose structure. It housed a small diner with bakery/ ice cream parlor/ soda fountain. This was a popular “hangout” for adults and youth; each in their own space. Believe it or not, Gyambo’s barber shop, library, credit union, typing class, pool hall, beauty salon, dance hall and movie theater were all part of this establishment. The movie theater also doubled as the venue for talent shows as well as variety shows. Although “Gyambo” was the most isolated canal zone town, visitors would flock there on special holidays like February 22nd (Washington’s Birthday) and for athletic competition, and social events like dances. On such occasions the clubhouse would be overrun with visitors from the farthest towns including Panama City on the Pacific side and the Atlantic side city of Colon. Memories of the clubhouse include the smell and taste of fresh baked two-for-nickel cookies, three-cents cupcakes, twenty-nine cents pound cakes, fifteen-cents breads, dime pies, Mary Jane French Cookies and sticky buns. The soft drink of choice was called a “Ricky”. At the clubhouse theater, early “Gyambo People” would host events paying tribute to retiring “white US citizen policemen and Panama Canal Zone governors who were deemed to have been fair in dealing with the Local rate community. “Gyambo” students who returned home on vacation, were also honored with special tributes before returning to the United States to continue their studies. Fellow residents would render poetry (recitations), vocal and instrumental solos, speeches as well as anthem renditions by Gamboa’s own “Centro -Isthmian Band” under the directorship of Mr. George H. Joseph.
We know there are many Clubhouse memories, theater stories and recollections of culinary delights. Please share them !
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