True Happenings

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is about me when I was very young.

Submitted: August 29, 2017

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Submitted: August 29, 2017

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I am standing on a dirt track leading from the main road down to the sea. Just before it gets to the cliff's edge, it forks off to the left and to the right. The left path would take you down to where the lepers reside The rigjht path would take you down a winding steep drop, and onto the beach.

On this dirt track, I'm waiting for my mother who has just got kicked out of the broken stilted house  for not paying her rent. I am only three years old, and there's nothing that I can do to help. I am only a child. The sun is very hot, and I'm very thirsty. I' ve got a few bits and pieces in my hands that was part of our possessions. My mother had the rest in an old battered suitcase.

My mother was a very nice woman. She loved children whether they were her own or not. She was a good cook and got herself cooking for influential people. For some unknowm reason she could not get on with my father. She would talk to him whenever she meets him. When I grew older, she told me that she didn't know her mother.

Some parents doesn't know that some children know what is going on but hasn't got the authority to do anything about it. They leave it all to the parents. And some parents make a mess of the situation.

There was nothing much I could say or do but just wait until she was ready to depart. Depart? To where? She didn't even had a place to go to. Poor me, kid, had to trod along beside her. When she was ready, we started walking down the main road where everyone could see her. Even at my age I didn't like this walk at all. Every one peeping and staring, grinning, sometimes looking at you in a funny way. But they all knew what was going on. What has happened to my mum has happened to many other mums.

You had to watch out because it was a tight community. Whatever you do is known. The news spreads around. Not to cause you any harm or anything like that. It was just the way things were. People always gave a helping hand. But my mother was pushing it, for some of the families had many children , and they had no room to fit in another one.

She was lucky. She had a boyfriend who was a very good carpenter, and his family was well off. They took us in. I often wondered why the people made their houses with long winding stairs to the top, and then a balcony surrounding the house. Underneath the house was a shop and it was doing well.

The carpenter and his family treated us well. He showed me quite a lot of things to do with carpentry; and he took me with him whenever he had a contract. I learned many things, and how to use the tools connected with carpentry. I personally, had no plans to become a carpenter but I didn 't let him no that. One thing I found though, he drank a lot. He couldn't keep away from the bottle. As a child, that really put me off. I couldn't understand why these grown ups were drinking this foolish stuff which makes them do foolish things.

It was a pity because he didnt last long. The alcohol got the better of him--he was no more. Then a lot of questions started flowing within me. I held quite a lot of them back.

My mother got herself a small little room where the floorboards were not close to each other. Sometimes she had to use old clothing to stop up some of the holes in the house. She got herself a job working with a woman's gang. Many women who go out early in the morning to chop cane plants. These plants were planted again for the next season sugar cane. She took me along with her just like all the other women did. Sometimes I would be left in a care house and when she finished her work, she would come and fetch me.

My mother was very poor and I saw how she managed without moaning. She  showed me some of the things she cooked for me during the war. I was amazed that I ate those things. My mother looked after me well. It is not only me who is saying this but other women told me the same thing. 

I was five years old now and my mother is taking me to school for the first time. It was a big day for me. The school was a big one with a big playing ground leading right down to the sea front. We went through the big gate and there under a mango tree were children and a fairly big woman as teacher. The school had A class; B class; D class; 1st grade; 2nd grade; 3rd grade; 4th grade; 5th grade; 6th grade and 7th grade. If you reach the 7th grade, you had the chance to become a teacher.

As my mother turned to walk away, that's when I started crying with all the other 5 year olds looking on. They had already done the same as I. My mother came back and tried to tell me clearly what was happening. Then she finally went away. It took a while before I got used to the idea that from now on, I'd be on my own. It all went down well in the end.

I was about 9 years old when some of the other children decided to go down to the beach and to swim out as far as they could. I joined them. I could swm but not that good.

We swam out far, so far that we could look back and see clearly the rest of the children playing in the yard. So while we were treading water, someone shouted, ''The last one down to the bottom, and bring up sand. Go!''
I'm doing something here that I should never have done. I dived down, the water was  clear. Down I went, still going down, then I saw the white sand. I grab a handful, and at the same time, I felt that I was out of breath. I rushed back up, and I just barely made it, with my nose just above the waterline.

It was lunch time when we did that dive. When we got back to the shore there was no one. We climbed up the hill only to find the yard empty. Every one was inside. The nine of us went quickly to the outside showers, and got dressed and went in the school. We were all in trouble with the headmaster and would each receive 12 lashes with his thick rolled up leather belt that was always in his desk drawer

The following day, just after lunch time, all nine of us were out in the yard in a half circle. The head master came with his thick leather belt and started the lashing from the left to the right. We had to put out our right hand to receive the lash. So each one of us got 12 lashes..

During my school years my mother moved houses many times. I was now getting used to it. This house we were now in was right at the main road. You step off the main road and right intro my house, that's how close it was. Opposite was a couple of shops that came in very handy. My mother now set a time for me to come in.

In the evening time around 19.30 pm, all the boys and girls in the area used to form a ring. Each one of us would take turn and go into the middle, and tell a story.

Then someone suggested that we play hide and seek. Everyone agreed. But this hide and seek business got out of hand. It lasted all night down into the early hours of the morning. Sometimes we had caught all the opposite side except one. And no one could turn in until that person was found. I got myself into trouble with my mum many times for coming in late.

The owner of the shop opposite us was a very friendly man. he was well off and had plantations up in the mountains.

Coming from the town I always used to pass this strange building way back from the main road in its own ground. I knew it was a church where other denominations went to. My church was further up, almost at the end of the town.

I was about 11 years old now and all the children were lined up outside on the main road  ready to go to their different churches. I ended up in the wrong group and found myself sitting in that church that was way back in its own grounds. I sat there looking at this statue that was way up high, It was of a woman with a baby in her arms. I knew I was in the wrong place but I just sat there through the service until it was over.

There was a school a couple doors away from where I lived next to the recreational ground. My mother managed to get me into that one. I was closer to home. There were children who had to walk a very long way to come to our school.

I had an aunt who lived not very far from my first school. She had been married to a man of high standing living in a big house next to the rectory. One morning, as he went out to milk his cow which was in the backyard, he got a stroke and died. From his bedroom there was a door leading out to the top balcony. There on the left was his rocking chair. My aunt got me to sleep in his bed. She placed a glass of water on the ledge over the bed. In the early hours of the morning, I heard a strange noise like a rocking chair on the wooden boards. I managed somehow to get myself out of bed and went to the door leading out on the balcony. When I looked to the left hand side, I saw the rocking chair rocking and no one was in it.  I went back to the bed and found the glass above the bed, empty. That is something I can never forget all my life.

The man who had the shop opposite where I lived taught me how to crook up donkeys and how to use a shot gun. I wasn't really interested in guns, but I didn't let him no that. We went up to the mountains and I saw his plantations for the first time. A great number of mango trees, banana trees, all sort of other fruits, along with tall coconut trees. i was to work for him every day, picking fruits and loading them on the donkeys. If there were any intruders, I was to fire a shot in the air to scare them off. I never had to do that any way.

My mother moved again down to a small brokend own house at the back of a great house. Not far from the end of the town leading to Newton Village. In school I met my first bullies. Three of them approached me. The first one said to me, ''I'll place this stick uopn your shoulder, and I'll place one on mine. Then we'll see who'll knock the first one off. I said, ''I don't want to fight. Go away!''
He insisted, so I knock the stick from his shoulder, and so the fight started. Two school kids down in the dust and struggling to overpower each other. I gave him a thrashing that he and his mates didn't bother me again.

I had a couple of mates and we were heading for a place called 'Crab Hill.' They said to me that we weren't allowed to cross the bridge. This bridge was small, and traffic could only cross it one by one. I said, ''That's foolishness. Everyone is allowed to cross the bridge. When we did so, stones started flying in our direction. One hit me and there was blood. I still didn't stop. I kept on moving forward. Then they all ran away. And from that time onwards, all the other children could cross the bridge without any trouble.

My father was a big tall strong man. A hard worker for his family. He loved children even if they weren't his own. he'd make sure that they were safe and ok. He didn't like rude children. He told me one time that if anyone bothers me at school, I must come and tell him and he would go and sort them out. There are quite a lot of things that I did not tell him because I knew the trouble it would cause.

Getting lashes at school was bad enough. they came from father and mother, aunties and uncles and even cousins and grandparents. I didn't know my grandmother from both my mother or father's side. I had heard a lot about my grandfather on my father's side. I only met him once, and that was when I took my family back to show them where I was born. he was living at Antigua, an island with 365 beaches. he came to the airport to meet me because I was just passing through, waiting for a flight down to my island.

My island is called St. Christopher, later it was nicknamed St. Kitts. On his second trip, Christopher Columbus came very close to my island. He thought the island was shaped like the Virgin Mary holding her child.

Our island is shaped like a guitar.  Sir Thomas Warner came to the island in 1624 with some other men.

Arawaks and Caribs were on the island. The Arawaks were a very peaceful people. Whenever there was trouble, they would move everything they had to another place.

There was a great Massacre of the native population. The English and French had the island for themselves. African slaves were brought to the island.

The French and the English fought for the island 17th and 18th centuries. The island was given to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles 1783.

The small island Nevis was taken by the Englisjh in 1628. The French and the Spanish attacked it.

About 1816 and onwards Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. all became a single colony. In 1871, it was part of the Leeward island Federation.

In this house where my mother moved to, behind the great house, I had a vision. My mother was away. I was alone. At the time, I hated darkness, I still do in a certain way, but I got used to it.

I was in bed sleeping on my left side when I felt a touch on my right ear. I turned to see what was happening, and there, I saw two stream of light like fire coming from where a face should be; and from the waist down I saw what looked like burnish bronze.

I screamed. Yes, I did screamed the place down, then suddenly my mother was there telling me it is ok, I was probably dreaming.

It is only when I got older that I learned a lot about people having visions and dreams.

I was a very obedient child when I was young. I didn't tell lies, always helping others. I never interfere with other people's possessions. And I knew from an early age that God exist. Whatever you want to call the power. It is the first power over all powers.

On a night I looked up at the sky and saw all the stars and the moon. The idea came to me that there was something greater than them.

My mother got herself some goats where you can get your own milk. Each goat had a collar with a chain attached to it then on to a metal stake to drive into the ground. I had to go and find a nice grassy place, stake the goats down securely, go to school, and after school, go and fetch the goats and bring them home.

Some school kids tricked me in staying away from school where later, I got myself into trouble.

Coming up to the age of 15 I went around to a place where they were baking bread and started helping them. I became very good at baking, and the owner left me in charge when he was away. We had to have the bread ready for in the morning when most of the workers were off to work, and for sending to the shops in the town.

One night when the boss was there, he said to us that we could take a nap, he would see that the bread gets into the oven. We had already had them on the sheets, and they were on shelves waiting to rise, and then be put into the oven. The boss was drunk and fell asleep. when we all woke up the bread dough was still there on the shelves all run over like a pancake. That was the only time such a thing has happened.

I was now out of school and working as a baker. Nearly all the shops wanted me to be baker for them. The man who had the plantation employed me to bake bread for him. Even in other places away from our town wanted me to come and bake for them. I went to a place called ''Old Bay Road,''  and there I bake for them. It was there too that I got my first electric shock and didn't know what it was. Just outside the baker's door there was a plug over head and it was broken. As I put my hand up above my head it went into the broken plug.

When I was 16 years old, I took the big step and got a job like what my mother did when I was younger. I chopped plants to be planted the next year. I also carried water on my head for the cane cutters. You had to know every field that was on the estate in order to take the water to the cane cutters.

When the cane season was over, we started weeding the young sugar cane plants until they grew high up in the air and ready to be cut again. We had to give them soda at their roots. While I was carrying water, I met this girl but nothing much came out of it.

When I was 17 years old, I became a cane cutter. I enjoyed it. It was hard work. You had to be careful though because we were working with sharp machetes. One silly mistake, and your hand or your foot is injured. Later, I went on the tractors loading the sugar cane to be taken to the sliding and then packed on engine trucks and taken to the factory to be made into sugar. I also work for a time packing these trucks. This was the same year my father left for England.

News went around that my father had won a lot of money on the pools. I saw many people with their suitcases packed and saying that they were off to England. From what I heard of the place, I got the idea that it must be a beautiful place with streets of gold and all that sort of stuff. Some of those people had gotten help from my father, he was like that. I heard later, that some of them did not even give a penny back to him. He had told me all about it when I was in the army and went to visit him in Nottingham.

I avoided falling into any sort of relationship. There were many who were interested,  but I wasn't.

I used to go and visit a young girl who was about 9 years old. She had something wrong with her heart, and had to stay inside all the time. I used to talk to her from under the window daily. Reading stories from the bible and other books. She really enjoyed it. Then coming to the end of the year when I went to visit, I saw all the sad faces, and she wasn't at the window. Then I knew what had happened. I burst out crying, and I have never cried like that again in all my life.

I am now 19 and the postman came and gave me mail. It was registered. It was from my father. Before that, people used to come up to me and say,''Haven't your father sent for you yet? All those people he has taken over and left his own son.''

I got on well with my father, I had no hate in me for him because he was my father. He was a good amn, hardworking, loves his children to bits. But he and I didn't really hit it off.

When I was young, I got a summons from the courthouse telling me I have to appear on a certain date. I was shocked! I hadn't done anything. I always tried to keep away from policemen and the law. It turned out that my mother had summoned my father.

I remembered just before that my father came to me and said that he had given me the alimony money for that month. I said: ''That's not true. You haven't given me a penny.''

So now I am brought to court by my mother and father as a witness over that money. If you only know how I felt at that time. But I already know what some human beings are like, and I just let what had taken place slip into the past.

The letter I got from the postman had good news. My father was actually sending for me. I was poor as anything with only the shirt on my back and my working clothes. I had no shoes, always barefoot. Stumped my toes quite a few times.

Well I went and got myself new shoes and a suitcase. I got travelling clothes and was ready to depart.

I got to the place where the ship was, it was massive. I boarded it, and for two weeks we sailed for England calling in at certain ports.

We arrived at Southampton and started driving up to Nottingham. I was very disappointed when I saw some of the houses. Some of them looked as if they were half-burned. Later on I found out why it was so.

My new life had started and my new home was to be Nottingham.

THE END.

 

 


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