Our Community - Marie Haylock - "San Pedro's Dancing Dowager"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 16            April 25, 2002

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Whoopi Goldberg with Marie Haylock

Belize is known for being a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. A myriad of unique individuals come to visit and sometimes make this beautiful country their home. Not everyone is cut out for life on a tiny island in a "third world" country, especially if they come from the "big city". But, if they have enough heart and caring to adapt, it can become a warm and wonderful experience. This is the story of one special lady who has come to reside in Our Community and has proven to be an inspiring example of "a lust for life"- Mrs. Marie Haylock.

    Marie Messick was born with a spirit untamed in "New York, New York" USA on the 18th day of August. Raised in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, Marie explained dancing was like a daily ritual. As a little girl, she entertained family and friends by imitating movie stars who danced their way to fame and fortune. Marie said she loved to "show-off" then, and still does, even now that she is a lady of "70-something!"

    During high school, Marie's love for dance grew even more passionate. She studied ballet, modern jazz, country-western line dancing, Irish jigs, Victorian, as well as minuets, and loved them all. Expressing her talents, Marie won a coveted Modern Dance Medal for a recital she choreographed and performed in. Marie majored in drama during her college years at City College of New York. She claims she enjoyed a few "off-Broadway" plays, but mostly performed in "off-off Broadway," with less famous producers. "The pay was lousy but I was hooking on dancing. I would have paid the producers to keep me on."

    Life took a different turn though when Marie met and fell in love with Bradley Haylock. She claims she "wanted the guy" but fell "in love with the name Haylock," having never heard it before. Soon, she got the guy and the name. After pressure from both of their families to set a wedding date, the couple applied for a marriage certificate. Filling out the application, she discovered Brad's father was from Belize, which was a big surprise since he had never mentioned it. "Although I was aware that Brad's dad spoke with an accent, I never asked why," Marie said. Inquiring as to the location of this country and why the mystery, Brad explained to Marie that his father considered the United States his only home and never wanted to return to Belize. When the couple each said "I do," on February 2, 1962, it never occurred to them what role this far-away country would play in their future.

    Even though she was now a "wife," and stepmother of three beautiful daughters, Marie never lost her yearning for "show business" and decided to take another chance in the only medium she felt comfortable: radio. She claims to have harbored a greed for current events, as well as local, state, national and international affairs, so radio news came naturally to her. She worked a number of stations in New York and Florida before being hired by the National Black Network as a talk show host for a half-hour radio program called "The Action Woman." This fit Marie's vivacious personality "to a tee" and she began to have the time of her life. Through interviews over the next few years, she met and mingled with some of the world's biggest names: Sammy Davis Jr., Della Reese, Gregory Hines and Whoopie Goldberg to name a few. While covering the 1975 Super Bowl Game in Miami, Florida, Marie met American Football League "ace" quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who had just completed a country and western album. "He gave me the very first interview because my station was the first to play his music," Marie stated proudly.

    Following the death of her husband's parents, both in the course of a year, Marie found herself putting glamour and glitz on hold. "Brad traveled to Miami to visit with friends before heading to the Bahamas for a little rest and relaxation, or so he planned," explained Marie. Brad called her from Miami International Airport though, announcing a "slight" change of plans after seeing Belize on an Eastern Airline's monitor at the airport." Brad stated he was going to the "Big B" and would call Marie when he got there. Marie claims she will never forget the conversation that would lead her to find "La Isla Bonita." Marie recited, "It went like this: Put the house on the market, pack a bag and get here tomorrow. Forget about retiring to live anywhere else because HOME BEGINS WITH BELIZE!'" That was November 5, 1988. Brad got his citizenship, a job and a new perspective on life; Marie got paradise.

    Today, Marie keeps busy with her house, her friends and her many "SAGA" (humane society) animals. She claims to keep her girlish figure by finding ample time to "trip the light fantastic" whenever the opportunity arises. The native New Yorker, turned Belizean through marriage, has finally cut her ties to "The Big Apple." It was a long, hard decision to give up her bright, beautiful city. Marie says the worst part was leaving the entertainment, especially the world of dance, but what the sexy, septuagenarian has found is more than she ever expected. "The great part about living in San Pedro," Marie says is that "dance lovers can rock and sway to all kinds of rhythms."

    Ever-willing to lend a hand, Marie Haylock is a person you can count on - to add zest to a worthy cause; or to increase the standing heart rate of any person, on any dance floor - in "Our Community!"



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