Sometimes we borrowed one of Merren’s trucks to take us to the beach.¬† Our roads were only dust tracks with holes filled with a little marl.¬† Men would bring the marl in a wheelbarrow and use a shovel to fill the hole with it then pound it with a big heavy block of wood on a stick. I think they called it a mallet.¬† When it rained, though, the marl would wash away and there would be that hole again!¬† My Uncle Rayal, my mother‚Äôs brother, was the architect and builder of Elmslie Memorial Church together with his brother, Rolan.
Rayal told me that the holes in the road were so big that he would have to climb out of his car and look over the edge of the hole before proceeding. In those days he had one of the few cars on the Island and was agent for the Pontiac Motor Car Company.
Getting back to when I was 4 years old.¬† Every family kept chickens as part of their food supply. Laying chickens gave us all the eggs we needed as well as for cooking. When the mother hen had her babies I would love to catch the little chicks, take them inside my house, cuddle them and wrap them up in the bed with me.
One day I was playing with my friend Annis, who lived next door, chasing the chickens.¬† I ran so fast that I tripped and fell into an open well.
The well was between 15ft and 20ft deep but luckily for me had about a foot of water in it that broke my fall. I only had bruising to my back but I was frightened and the thought that I had gotten nearly killed sent me into shock.¬† Can you guess how I got out of that well?
I‚Äôll tell you.¬† A very good family friend was passing through the yard and heard my screams. He ran over and slowly lowered the bucket down the well to me. The bucket was attached to a long piece of thatch rope.¬† He told me to put one foot into the bucket, hold onto the rope and push my other foot against the wall of the well to keep myself from getting hurt further. You bet I followed his instructions to the letter!¬† When I finally reached the top he hugged me and ¬† took me home. My mother was waiting and he handed me over the fence where she wrapped me up in a white sheet and put me in her bed. Of course, she scolded me.
“That’s what you get for chasing Rosa‚Äôs chickens!” she said.
For me, it was fun and the start of my knocks in life. Anyway, what is life without a few knocks and bruises? Life was simple but very colorful back then.
My older and very beautiful sister, Madge, got married, but I never did remember her courting. But I well remember her wedding day!¬† It took place right in our home, in the Drawing Room, as we used to call it. It was a beautiful wedding with everyone so dressed up.¬† Madge married Paul, an American, who was having a yacht built here by my Uncles Rayal and Roland whom I mentioned before as building Elmslie Memorial Church. I, of course, was being my very young self as I walked in eating a slice of homemade buttered bread, heavily smeared with brown sugar, my favourite sweet. I made my way through the crowd and sat on the open window cill eating away.¬† One of the guests, a Miss Geraldine, saw me and gave me a right scolding and made me remove myself from the cill.
Miss Geraldine had a son by the name of Joseph. He always seemed to sit around with his mouth open and Geraldine kept telling him to keep his mouth closed.
“If I see your mouth open again I‚Äôll beat you,‚ÄĚ she said. I overheard this as I walked round with the chickens. Every time I noticed Joseph with his mouth wide open I would immediately report this to his mother.
“Joseph’s got his mouth open again, Miss Geraldine!” I shouted.
What a slap she would give him.¬† I think I cured him of the habit because I do not remember seeing him with his mouth open after that.
Well, these are some of my memories and I hope you enjoyed reading them.¬† I expect you have got plenty, too. Please find the time to write them down, just as I have done.