November 26, 2020

Just about memories and me

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I am the last of NINE children (four sons and five daughters). Being the baby of the family I was very special, inasmuch as I was looked after, cared for and loved so much, not only by my parents but from my sisters and brothers as well.

From an early age my father, who was Chief Inspector of Police and commanded respect from everyone, would hold me up in his big, strong arms and   shower me with kisses. Then   he would move   me to his shoulders where he would leave me for minutes on end while he got on with his work or chat to someone. His shoulders were wide so I was very comfortable. I remember once, whilst on his shoulder, he was at one of his jobs as customs officer in the warehouse on the dock; a bee stung me on one of my eyes.  I cried, of course, so I was lowered to the ground and fussed over with much concern showing on his face. My eye swelled so much I could not see out of it.

Father was also in charge of the lighthouses on the four points of the island.  Whenever he serviced the lighthouses I would drive with him in his chauffeur driven car. He would always put me right between his legs, again very comfortable and I felt very safe.  His chauffeur was Mr. Ira Thompson, a very fine gentleman. There weren’t many cars on Grand Cayman then, but Mr. Ira had one and he became a VIP driver and later Cayman’s first taxi driver.

In these trips to the lighthouses my father would always take time to stop and visit friends and acquaintances, which would always have heavy cake and coconut water to offer us for refreshments. This is where I got my liking for this particular cake and to this day I prefer this to light cake. I also love a glass of fresh milk.  The beautiful friendship, which I witnessed between my father and these people would help mould me into the strong, loving and friendly person people tell me, I have become.

Father was a good provider. Not only did he work four or five different jobs but also he paid someone to work his farm. Raising cattle, we had all the milk we needed.  Fresh butter was always made from the milk and was a favourite with all of us. Breadkind  (cassava, breadfruit, yams, papaya) was also farmed and shared with others.

My mother was a good mother. She never wandered far from the home. She was the daughter of Roland Bodden, a ship builder. We were always sure to find her there when we were hungry and tired. She always made sure she was there for us with good food cooked for us to eat and she saw to our every need. Funny, though, I don’t remember going to my mother very much with personal  problems.

My older brother Ladner

I was only five years old when the Second World War broke out.  My memories are only slight but vivid.  I can remember my oldest brother, Ladner, who was at sea then, in his early twenties, coming home for a quick visit. My only recollection of him is in a hammock in my mother’s bedroom. He took my sister, Helen and me, in the hammock with him and was talking to us. What he said I can’t remember, but the important part of that meeting has never left me even though I was only about six years old.  He was a handsome man, very blond, with a sweet disposition and very kind. I remember him giving Helen and me a pack of gum to share between us.  Now that might not sound like much of a gift, but in those days we didn’t see much chewing gum unless someone came from America. Ladner left shortly after that visit. He joined The British Merchant Navy but sadly in 1942 his ship was torpedoed, sank and he was lost at sea.

 

To be continued….

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