My Art and My Craft

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Autobiography (Sample)

Submitted: November 30, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 30, 2012



I haven’t many memories of when I was young, but those that I do remember will stay with me until the day that I die. For instance, my father is not someone I know much about, he left my mother Henrietta when I was about six or seven and at the time there was only five of us, my oldest brother Elijah, my oldest sister Alpha,  Myself and my younger sisters Eartha and Krystal.

But the day my father left sticks out vividly in my mind even after all these years. 


That day he had obliviously had a bust up with my mother, I remember them shouting and slamming of doors as they cursed one another. I stood by the living room window watching as my father stormed out of the house. He slammed the door shut so hard that it felt as though all the windows in the house would shatter. His long dread locks swung untidily on his back and as he walked up the steps and his clothes were rumpled up as though they had been stretched. My mother then came and stood beside me by the window and watched as my father bent down to pick something up.  She screamed in horror when she saw what it was. My father had picked up a long silver scaffolding pole that had been left there by some builders who were doing some renovation work on our house. I watched as he got a grip of the scaffold pole in his hand and motioned as though he was about to launch it through the front room window, right where I was standing.

I remember seeing his long Dread locks swing to one side as he powered up his throw and pulled the scaffolding pole back as though it were a spear- then everything went black as my mother frantically threw her body around me as if to shield me and screamed his name at the top of her voice- Boots!


When my mother unwrapped me from her arms my dad, Boots, was gone. I have no other memories of him ever talking to me but do remember him walking me to nursery once, and even then he didn’t speak. I clearly remember telling him that I was going to close my eyes and I wanted him to direct me, to tell me whether I should walk left or right as we walked. Bang!, he made me walk straight into a lamppost and didn’t even say a word as I cried my eyes out. Maybe it was a harsh lesson but being an infant it broke my confidence in him.


(Chapter 1)


My Mother, Henrietta was very spirited women when she was younger; I remember her always dressing up in fancy mohair clothes and often having her loud friends around the house. She was a firm but fair mother who would give us the occasional treat but on the most part taught us that we never if we never had’ it’ then we could do without.


I remember back then whenever I saw one of my friends with a new pair of Fila or Nike trainers I liked I would pester her to buy me a pair, I would complain that my friends have got ‘it’. Nine times out of ten times her reply was always the same “don’t worry what other people have” she would always say, time and time again. My mother was generally a nice lady, I could tell by the way other people interacted with her and by the way she treated others but make no mistake when my mother lost her temper she was ferocious. Whenever any one of us had done something wrong and she cursed her voice rang out through the entire house.  It was like an alarm bell that immediately evoked fear and alarmed you of danger.  Sometimes my mother would not even have to shout to let us know she was upset, she would just give us a certain look that sent the same warning signals.


I remember one day on my way home from school I tried unsuccessful to steal some sweets from a penny shop. I went into the store pretending to show an interest in some magazines then, blatantly made my way over to the sweet section. Thirteen years old and naive I went ahead with my plan even though I was the only person in the shop. The store owner must have seen me slip a sweet into my pocket and came from behind the counter and grabbed me. In shock I wrestled out of the store owners grasp and managed to escape. When I say ‘escape’ what I really mean is I got out of the shop. 


I realised seconds afterward that I couldn’t get away with this attempt because the shop owner managed to hold on to my school bag-which had not only my name but my schools name on every other book. I was in trouble. The dilemma made my head spin as I reluctantly walked towards my house. I knew that someone would notice that I didn’t have my school bag as soon as I walked into my house, I couldn’t just go back alone for the bag - and If I didn’t go back for the bag the store owner would inform my school. But what really worried me most was the fact that in all of the disastrous possibilities my mother finding out was all but certain.


When I reached the front door of my house I decided that telling my mum that I had been caught stealing was kamikaze so instead I decided to lie, I said that ‘some man’ had taken my school bag from me. My mother reacted angrily. Despite the fact that my story made no sense at all to her my mother was also very protective of her children and would defend us to the death. She told me to put my coat back on immediately and take her to this shop.


As we walked hastily to the shop I knew in my mind that I had just made things much worse, the fact that my mum had to stop what she was doing and make this trip was bad enough, to think she was going to find out about my attempted theft was frightening.


When we got the shop I wanted to wait outside but my mother was not having any of that, she led me in. The shop owner immediately brought my bag out from behind the desk and explained to my mother what actually happened. I was terrified. My mother was calm, apologetic and did not appear to be in a bad mood anymore, she spoke with the shop owner for roughly five minutes before she handed me my bag and we left.


I dragged my feet all the way home; I knew that the punishment was going to be harsh and that my mum was furious by her silence. When we got home my big Brother Elijah done probably the worst thing I could of hoped for by making enquires about what was going on?, where we’d come from?, what was wrong?. My mother didn’t answer a single question and just entered the house, heading straight back to whatever she was doing prior to my arrival from school.


I went straight to my room, puzzled. I expected my mother be cursing and dishing the punishment out as soon as we got home but she appeared to have left it. In the back of my mind I knew I was not safe but tried to interact with my brothers and Sisters as usual. I could hear oil from the frying pan sizzling from upstairs, my mother had been cooking dinner before I interrupted her. My senses were alert as I waited in anticipation.


But it was not until I dropped my guard after a few hours did my mother deliver, my bedroom door flew open as she busted into my room with a belt already wrapped firmly around her fist.


Every single one of my sisters scrambled in different directions towards the bedroom door, it was as if a lioness was pouncing on a herd of cattle. I’m not sure if my mother’s timing was deliberate but she had caught me completely off guard, to be honest I had forgotten about my antics earlier on in the day.

I reacted instantly. I got stung with a few lashes from the belt but managed to dart past her through the door, down the stairs and out of the house.  As I ran I noticed that it was now dark outside and with my adrenaline running I did not stop to look back. By the time I gathered I was safe I noticed that my feet felt wet, when I checked why I saw that I had run out in just my socks and sods law it had just finished raining.


Tired and helpless, I had no other choice but to return home and accept my punishment.




There was only one other person in my life that I can remember ever striking that sort of fear in me other than my mother and that was my steel pan teacher Mr John Baptisite. Mr Baptsiste was a tall Black man from Trinidad that had a distinctive bald head and just a little white hair on the sides, he was a no nonsense music teacher that taught me the importance of timing, accuracy and entertainment. During the last years of my primary school Essindine all classes got to play the steel pans at least once a week as part of our education. 

Although I had always enjoyed music and poetry this was the first time that I had learned how to play and instrument.


Mr Baptistse put me in what was called the ‘special group’ which was made up of the best pupils in a particular age group.

All of us in the special group got to leave lessons earlier than the other students on a Thursday so that we could put in the little bit extra practice. In a way this made us feel special, I know it made me feel special anyway.


Mr Baptiste taught us the theoretical and practical aspects of playing music, how to read notes and how to execute.  The way he made us remember the five key notes was pure genius and is something I don’t think I could ever forget. Every Good Friend Deserves Favours (E,G,F,D,F).

Mr Baptiste was the drummer. He would stand in front of the class and chalk the notes on the black board, pointing out the different notes with his drumstick and emphasising them with his strong Trinidadian accent. He always commanded our total attention, tapping on the black board with his drumstick then marching up to us and demonstrating and dictating how he wanted us each to play.


But it was when we made a mistake that provoked Mr Baptist’s rage and made them alarm bells ring. If one of us didn’t play a note correctly or messed up he would angrily and abruptly slam his drum and shut everyone and everything down. Bam! Bam! Bam!. Mr Baptistse would then ask you rhetorical questions in his Caribbean accent, putting you on the spot. What’s that!!?  What are you doing!!? Questions that you would never dare answer like ‘why you aren’t listening’!!? Staring at you and shouting at the same time with a thunderous look.


Mr Baptisite was a hard taskmaster but also a very passionate music teacher.  When we made a mistake and upset him he had a look on his face as if he were a strict head master who was giving a pupil a stern final warning. But when we finally got it right the look on Mr Baptists face was priceless. He would grin from ear to ear and appear so friendly and warm natured.  Kind of like the look of a head teacher who was greeting the parents of and outstanding student. You could tell from the way he would smile that he was beaming with great satisfaction. Getting it right did feel great but there were no hi fives or congratulating each other afterwards. We would watch Mr Baptiste and wait for his lead; he would skilfully bring the session to a close by rolling his drumsticks and dismiss us feeling on top of the world and buzzing with enjoyment. To add to our confidence we would notice all the other school kids who had just finished school shuffling outside the music room peeping though the little glass to see us play.


Although it may stand for very little now our groups highlight was performing for the queen of England in Piccadilly Circus.

© Copyright 2018 Isolo. All rights reserved.

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