When Cyril C. Lindo came to the Canal Zone from Jamaica in 1909, he was not entirely unfamiliar with things here. Two older Lindos, Abraham and David, had preceded him and sent word back home that jobs were plentiful and that their 21-year-old brother should have no trouble getting work.
So Cyril Lindo, who later became one of the best-known of the Clubhouse Division's head-waiters, quit his job as a messenger in the office of the Jamaican newspaper, the "Gleaner," and came to the Canal Zone.
During his first few years here he thought frequently of his Jamaican home and, after he was married and began to raise a family, wished he could send his children back there to school. But later he began to realize that the Isthmus was a pretty good place to bring up his daughter and three sons and to this day has never been back to Jamaica. Nor, he says now, has he any desire to return there.
His first job was at Empire where he was, as he also was later at Portobelo, a helper for a drill gang. They were the men who drilled the holes into which blasting powder was put. It was trying work, very often knee-to-hip-deep in mud.
In 1913 he moved to inside work, becoming a helper in the machine shops at Gorgona. Similar work followed in the Empire and Balboa shops. In 1915 he became a carpenter's helper, working in the old Building Division in Balboa. One of his jobs there was to help build the forms with which concrete was poured for the long curving flight of steps which leads from Gorgas Road to the main entrance of Gorgas Hospital.
Waiter Since 1918
But all the time, he recalls, he wanted some sort of "cleaner, inside work." In 1918 he became a waiter for the old Bureau of Clubs and Playgrounds, at the old Ancon Clubhouse which stood approximately where the bachelor quarters are now near the Ancon commissary. He was working there when the building burned to the ground about 1925 and remembers that in the conflagration he lost a commissary book which he had stored in his locker.
After the fire the Clubhouse transferred its activities first to the Ancon playshed and then to the building, now demolished, which subsequently became the Ancon theater. The present Ancon Clubhouse was at that time a restaurant, operated by a concessionaire.
All of his service since 1918 has been at Ancon. In 1940 he was made headwaiter and for the last 13 years has been seeing to it that people were seated, given menus and ice water, and that they were served.
Now he has retired. Last Sunday night he seated his last customer and called his last waitress to attention. Retiring with him that day were two other oldtimers from the Ancon Clubhouse, Arthur R. Sealy, a janitor with some 35 years of service, and Alexander King, a waiter, who has been on the Isthmus since 1913 and who has some 19 years of Canal service.
Mr. Lindo has no plans for the future. At close to 65, he feels that he has earned the right to take things easy. He and his wife will live in Panama, where they have two sons and two grandchildren.
Two other second generation Lindos live in New York where one of them works for a dress manufacturer and the other is on the clerical staff of the United Nations.
December 22, 1998