Since she was a little girl and learned how to read, St. Croix native Asta Williams has been telling stories. Now in her 70s, Williams belongs to an endangered breed of Crucian storytellers – icons who use oral folklore as a means for teaching children important moral lessons.
With her vivid way with a tale, Williams exudes Crucian culture. Wearing a traditional black and white checkered skirt with a matching headwrap and a bright red shirt, Williams talked with a Source reporter in Frederiksted’s Buddhoe Park Thursday.
Although she wouldn’t give her exact age, Williams doesn’t act a day over 30. Her tiny athletic frame fits her cheerful personality, and from the time she wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning, Williams is on the move until bedtime around 10 p.m.
“I don’t like to stop, you know? Some people can’t do anything or their body shuts down and I always say ‘If you have a squeaky door and don’t oil it – it gets rusty.’ I’m just so glad I have things to do,” Williams said.
In addition to telling stories once or twice a week at public schools around the island, Williams also does two hour walking tours in Frederiksted for Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, Inc. (CHANT) – even then, she’s telling stories.
“The youth are forgetting the culture and their heritage, we’re losing it and it’s not just us alone but other Caribbean islands too,” Williams said. “We need to keep passing it on.”