Author Archives: Maria
A few years passed and things settled down, I still had hot baths, still went for long walks. High school was okay I guess. I had friends but I wasn’t with the ‘in crowd’ so I felt unnoticed. Which was a good thing I guess as I got my work done and had good reports. Back then our school system was year 1 – year 5 then 6th form, by the time I reached year 4 I started to break out my shell a bit. I was tired of being overlooked. My friends smoked in the toilets and I was the ‘look out’ person in case the dinner ladies or teachers on patrol came around. Until one of the girls had a barney and insisted I took a puff as she thought if I didn’t I’d snitch on them. So I reluctantly started smoking at age 14… sad but true.
Nearly everyone had a boyfriend or girlfriend, I wasn’t sure I wanted one too. I thought maybe it was a chance to cover the past having someone to like me like I wanted to be liked. My friends giggled and teased that Shaun Tate fancied me and wanted to ask me out. Shaun was nice looking and quiet but he was part of the ‘In Crowd’ it was my golden ticket to be noticed. Well Shaun Tate did ask me out. Don’t be alarmed, back in my day ‘going out’ meant you hung around together at break-times and walked home together with him hugging you around your shoulders. The odd cinema if you lied to your parents that you were going out with Suzi down the road! No one ever went out, with what money? with whose permission? Shaun walked me to the bus stop a few stops down from my usual stop so we could talk a while together. There was a day we walked through the park and it was a bit chilly, in-fact very chilly. We stopped by a bench further into the park and sat down. There was this awkward silence and then he leaned over to kiss me, Shaun Tate kissed ME. He put his hand on my shoulders and kissed me again. He was very gentle yet I could tell he was nervous as hell, maybe his first time as it became sloppy. We kissed again this time with our mouths open and our tongues out.. Huge Yuk! Oh my goodness, I felt his saliva run down the side of my mouth. My first real kiss and it was DISGUSTING. That was the first and last time we kissed, we broke up soon after that.
I started to bunk classes and wrote notes forging my mums signature. I never left the school grounds I just spent loads of time smoking in the girls toilets. My character was changing and the teachers started to notice I was getting a little cheeky. One time I went too far, I was walking down the corridor with my chain hanging out my shirt, My R.E teacher saw me and said to put my chain inside my shirt. I cheekily and disrespectfully answered ‘ whats your problem its got a cross on it hasn’t it. Well who told me to say that?? Mum was called for a meeting down the school, dad never came. Lord have mercy on my soul! A lot of my friends parents charged down the school like a bull in a china shop to have a go at the teachers or the kids themselves that troubled their little angels. Not my Grenadian/Trinidadian ole school strict mum that believed wholeheartedly in ‘Don’t spare the rod’, my mum would not think twice about beating me in front of the whole school.
The day came and I was told to go fetch my mum from the reception. She was breathing with flared nostrils. Out of five children I was the only one she had to be called down the school for. She had to miss work to come for this appointment which made her even more furious. I walked 5 steps in front all the way to Sirs office. We sit down and trying to find all the excuses to talk all the problems I created away. Sir was really nice though, he just said they noticed a change in my behaviour and was just concerned that I changed my friends for the worse and my attitude was becoming like them. Sir emptied out a envelope with all these documents, my documents. They kept all those little notes, what the heck, I thought they read it and threw them away. I glimpsed the signatures and for the first time I realised how majorly fake they looked. I sat there praying My mum wouldn’t notice. ‘He’ really does love me as she noticed not one. Never again was I cheeky, no way could I do anything for my mum to come down to the school unless it was for Parents Evening.
Fifth year, the last year of high school unless you was a geek and stayed on to sixth form. There were a few subjects that I liked, Social Studies, English, German and Home Economics. R.E was annoying as we studied every other religion in depth other than Christianity.
Now miss know it all as I was, I had my heart set on becoming a top chef, all I needed was to know how to cook and my my mum was teaching me well. R.E was no use, Social Studies no use and as for maths, like was I really going to go into a shop and ask for two square root of bananas??
Dear Mr Pratt was our maths teacher. looking back I realised he was young but so obese that he was such an easy target to take the mick out of and stress him out in class.
I was hopeless at any times tables that didn’t have a pattern for easy learning. Long division was truly long and equations and fractions and those silly symbols and using letters for numbers made no sense. What did make sense though was sitting at the back of the class and spending the lesson with rounds of Black Jack. I roped in a couple players at a time taking it in turns to play one on one, due to the lay out of the desks we couldn’t have more players.
That was the only thing that made us look forward to maths. The odd times we would get caught by Pratt and my cocky answer was ‘ Its numbers ennit!’ He advised once he advised twice then told me one day I would amount to nothing then never bothered me again. Who cared, I didn’t, chefs don’t need maths! Oh boy…
The final weeks of the end of school was approaching and excitement was building of the annual Fifth year disco. Then they hit us one morning in assembly, ‘You are by far the worst year group we have taught and undeserving of an end of year disco.’
No disco… no disco… no way. So a few of us banded together to plan our own party in the sixth form common room during a lunch hour.
Everyone in was to buy or bring a bottle from home. I covered my back to a point, I told mum that we were having an end of year party ( obviously run by the school!) and I needed to bring a drink, I explained the teachers said we were allowed Babycham as it was a special occasion. My mum fell for it as Babycham was considered a light drink suitable for children, I was always allowed it at our family parties.
During morning break we took off our blazers and school tie and went down to the Triangle Off License. Looking back I have no idea how we thought we looked old enough to buy alcohol or even how the shop attendant served us.
At the end of our lesson I advised, ( like I’m a big time drinker), ‘don’t drink on an empty stomach. Make sure and eat something and drink milk to line the stomach so not to get sick’… Well that’s what I thought to be correct.
The sixth form common room was buzzin, Black jack in one corner and drinks and laughter in the next. Noone had an idea how to handle themselves, they just drank for drinking sake. There was Thunderbird, Babycham, Captain Morgan, Tenents and Special Brew.
Against my advie they just drank from each.. a cocktail was brewing in their bellies. Next thing I know they were legless. by the time we went to our next lesson we were as they said back then ‘cark.’
I was in maths sitting at the back of class, no black jack, just trying to keep a clear head. All of a sudden the door barged open and our head of year stormed in, no explanation. He stood and pierced his eyes around scanning the room, his eyes and finger pointed to me and Len ‘YOU…YOU.. OUTSIDE MY OFFICE NOW,’ The task was to stand up and walk in a straight line which was real shaky but I had to keep steady so I could play this down.
I managed to walk passed him still standing talking sternly to the rest of the class asking who else was involved in the binge.. O my God how did he know? as soon as I walked passed him I skidaddled down to his office, I had to get a clean distance so he couldn’t see me swagger.
To get to sirs office I had to pass the medical room, and there was the reason… Jenna and Waverley sitting there with their heads in buckets bringing up cocktails! I was so mad… ‘man I told them to line their stomachs and take it easy not to get drunk.’ I sobered up immediately.
I was questioned intensely but I kept it together. I told sir we just wanted to celebrate and ONLY had Babycham!!! I explained even my mum said a little Babycham was okay but didn’t realise you could get tipsy on it. He bought it! He then hit me with a bomb shell… He already rang my mum and she was on her way to pick me up as I wasn’t allowed in school under the influence of alcohol.
There was just one more problem… I told Sir that we only had Babycham, yet a flashback reminded me of the bottles and cans of alcohol we stuffed down the toilets. Yes, I ran down to the common room, grabbed a plastic bag from the bin and picked out those damn bottles and cans out the toilets. ( wasn’t so funny now!). I carried them off the school grounds before my mum got there and put them in a public street bin. That was a close call.
My mum drove up, nostrils flared, eyes protruding and I was like where and how can I run? Praise God my darling uncle Ken was with her and he kept saying ‘Eli leave de chile alone nuh,’ in his soft trini accent, ‘She dun get boof up by she teacher and sent home, she’ll not do this again.’ Mum sighed and told me sharply to get in the car. I jumped in so fast just in case she changed her mind last minute to beat me in public.
Waverley and Jen were off school for a good few days. After it all blew over we laughed about it and still do to this present day.
Exams were excruciating. The only date in history I could remember was the Battle of Hastings 1066. I got okay’ish grades but the worst was maths… are you surprised?! I remember on the exam day I had written my name, form and date on the front page, turned over the page and stared at gobbledegook… I turned back over the page and sat there in silence until everyone had finished. Black Jack got me a C.S.E grade of a ‘U’ the lowest possible mark meaning ‘ungraded.’
My best grades were in Home Economics of course.
That was it for me, no more high school.
Hush lil grandchild
Don’t say a word
You found grandpa
but no sounds could be heard
Images flooded your eyes and mind
Surly this was not what you expected to find
Silent questions with answers that made no sense
You stand in the church, nausea grows intense
There’s a sweet aroma of an unusual incense
The one you least expected has again broken your innocence.
Who is friend, who is foe?
Baby girl back then not even I did know
Being frozen has become habitual
You lock off to reality
To shut off the brutality
Of the obscene works of profanity
Questioning your virginity
Hush my lil dookie
For I am to blame
Again I didn’t protect you
I’m so sorry I feel ashamed
I am you and you are me
Trying so hard to not induce in you fear
That freezes you so all you can do is cry out with flowing tears
You are loved I promise
A love that is pure and real
In years to come you will realise its Jesus Christ
Until then dry your eyes
block out their illegal touch
Hush now most beautiful Dookie as its all too much.
Please forgive me.
I was told we were going to Trinidad, dad, mum and I. The excitement I felt was that I was going to see my grandparents who I loved dearly. They were the typical looking grandparents, granddad had the whitest hair and the longest beard, grandma was a cute small framed woman, both very loving.
I remembered them from my holidays when I was little and remembered granddad had a church in his garden and he was a preacher. I had a great idea when we were told in woodwork at school to think of something and make it… I was going to make a granddad a book rack to rest his bible on.
It was great being back, the smell of the humidity when the plane doors opened was just intoxicating. The drive was always early evening so the air was always filled with cooking from the doubles stalls, restaurants and homes.
The capital is Port of Spain, and that’s where we stayed, well where we were based as we had lots of family and friends to visit. The day came for us to travel down south deep in the countryside to visit my grandparents. They were just as I remembered. I proudly presented the varnished book rack to granddad and he loved it. It was the first thing I ever made in woodwork.
At the back of the house was land as far as my eyes could see, filled with coffee bean and cocoa trees and it all belonged to our family. There was also chicken and duck pens (I thought they were pets!) It was quite humorous brushing my teeth and rinsing my mouth out the window and watching the ducks and chickens quickly ran to gobble up the minty water…quite disgusting actually, there was no sink! The house was a board house and we washed in the yard surrounded by galvanise. The toilet…well… it was what they called a latrine, a galvanised little space with a boxed seat to sit on. It stunk to high heaven, I’m sure the excretions from my forefathers were in there. In the night time you had to take a flash light. As soon as the light shone in there its like it came alive with movements, cockroaches, lizards moths and other unknown insects scarpered everywhere. That was it for me, as big as I was I used the bed pan to urinate and mum or dad took it outside to empty it in there, for love or for money I wasn’t entering there again. My stomach froze for any bowel movement, I didn’t go for a week.
Sunday, the best day as Sunday dinner was like Christmas dinner and my grandma had the sweetest hand when it came to seasoning and cooking. She asked me what i’d like for dinner and I said ‘chicken.’ Grandma said chicken it is. I was looking forward to going to the supermarket with her as I was hoping to get some rhubarb sweets also.
I waited and waited so went to see what was taking gran so long to get ready. There she was in the chicken pen with a long cutlass in her hand. She grabbed a chicken and put it on the sale, obviously not pleased she let it go and caught another one. Pleased she came out of the pen. I was still clueless to what was about to happen I just thought it all comical. Then the bucket was over the body of the chicken with its head and neck sticking out and before I could think the next thought the cutlass came swiftly down and there was a bloody headless chicken running aimlessly around the yard, Well I screamed with my mouth opened for the longest while catching flies. Grandma why did you do that whyyyy??? She laughed at me as she thought my reaction was quite comical and said ‘ but is you who tell me yuh want chicken,’ Well I didn’t mean for you to kill one of your pets I thought we were going to the shops,’ gran replied still chuckling, ‘so where the chicken come from in the supermarket?!’ What a revelation that was. I watched grandma soak it and pluck it, wash it down with lemon and seasoned it with fresh seasoning of herbs and spices. The smell soon made me forget the trauma for a while. Her cooking smelt so delicious I was so hungry and couldn’t wait.
Dinner was ready and I was told to find granddad and tell him. I looked everywhere, finally I found him in his little church. Something felt so wrong as I saw a woman laying on top of a table on her back…naked! I couldn’t move. He was dressed in a white robe and rubbing her down. He must’ve sensed me there and came from behind the see through curtain which resembled a mosquito net, I mumbled in a low voice ‘grandma says dinner is ready,’ He said thank you, don’t be frightened, i’m just giving this lady a spiritual bath to cleanse her ( well I guess that made sense, she was naked, he’s a preacher, he smelled of fragrant oils)… ‘Come and give granddad a kiss’ his arms held out, I smiled and walked towards him, I just loved my granddad and didn’t question what he said. He leaned towards me and thinking he was going to kiss my cheek, I raised my head up and he went to my mouth and stuck his huge tongue in it and twiddled it around. I near jumped out my skin and ran out the church for dear life. I could hear him calling out ‘it was just a game, grandpa only playin chile.’ Playing!… What the heck… GRANDDAD!!!! MY BELOVED GRANDAD
My world crashed, the feeling has stayed in my mouth even up to this day. I went under the house, sat on the bench and squeezed the tears in and rocked with my hands folded around me squeezing in the sounds of my innermost sobbing. How on earth was I going to tell, who was I going to tell?? Who would believe me? My smile vanished, my happiness left me. Gods eyes didn’t see this little sparrow, He didn’t watch over me. The song in my spirit fell silent. I was alone.
I sat at dinner my appetite gone and I just played with my food. Trouble is mum was a stickler in children must eat all our food up, she hated waste. Darling grandma stuck up for me and said she gave me too much and to leave de chile alone. Granddad approached where we were eating and I quickly asked to be excused. How could I love him again, Thankfully we were to leave the next day I couldn’t face him again.
As we got ready to leave my parents kept prodding me to go give granddad a hug and a kiss goodbye, they couldn’t understand why all of a sudden my countenance changed. reluctantly I gave him the quickest hug and said bye. I explained I just felt unwell, thankfully mum put it down to not opening my bowels for just over a week. Thank God. My grandma joked that she promised to build a proper toilet just for me by the time I came back to visit, that made me smile. But the last thing I wanted was to come back. Life was not good, at 13 years old it was dark, horrid, ugly, filthy and lonely.
Moving to Banks Ave was the best. There was no park behind our garden fence, just a maze of alleyways which soon turned into our playground. The adjourning streets joined at different points that made play-times and exploring fun.
There was a vast difference between this area and Greenford, it was like we moved to another country… The Caribbean! From living on a long road where you could count the black people on half a hand, to an area that you could count the white people on one hand, Oh yes talk about culture shock! Our family lived just two minutes walk from the main road with all the shops you could possibly need.
Not just shops but banks, the launderette, buses and friends, oh my goodness so much friends and all my colour, that was so weird. There were more than sixteen families on my street alone with kids my age and we were all friends. No longer did mum have to find people for me to stay by in the summer holidays and half terms. All she had to do was knock on the neighbours door and let them know I was home so keep an eye out. I was thirteen and capable of staying at home on my own. My sister and a couple brothers had left home but came around often.
Mum had strict instructions, play outside after all my chores were finished and stay where neighbours can see me. Everyone used to knock on each others houses asking to play out on the road, we played skipping, athletics, hopscotch, blind mans bluff, roller skating, skate boarding, cycling and playing ‘Had’ running in and out of the alleyways. Life was good.
Mums instructions were strict but the number one rule that was not to be broken was NO BOYS ALLOWED IN THE HOUSE. Mum was such a stick in the mud as that rule stood even if she was home.
The younger children had nothing to worry about as we felt safe having the older boys around and a few older girls, they looked out for us. Myself and my friend use to race around the block. As we approached where the older boys congregated we always slowed down to say hello, they’ll ask how we were and felt great as they remembered our names and knew where we lived. For some reason it felt great to be remembered. Anyway everyone knew where everyone lived to be honest.
There was a forest near to where we lived and a large group of us used to walk there and have loads of fun playing hide and seek, blackberry picking for mum to make blackberry jam. There were some steep hills that we navigated down to a group of trees where we etched our names on. The grassed hills is where we had fun rolling down the hill and sliding down on a piece of board when it snowed heavily. The air was forever filled with laughter. Life was good.
One of the older boys showed me extra attention, I felt special and all gooey inside but I was just a girl of thirteen and thought he was just a flirt as I didn’t think I was pretty enough to be girlfriend material. A day came when there was a knock on my front door whilst my mother was at work, it was the summer holidays and I was looking after Cams daughter. We just came in from playing outside and my niece was tired. It was him. ‘So can I come in? I won’t be long just want to chat.’ He shone a smile that seemed to hypnotise common sense away from me and threw all caution to the wind. My niece said hello and smiled and did the biggest yawn, I said to hang on a minute I’ll just put her to lay down. I took her up stairs and as I took her upstairs He came in the house and quietly shut the door. Coming down the stairs I saw the door shut and thought he went. I walked into the living room and there he was sitting on the sofa smiling beckoning me to come sit down. Inside of me was in a panic, it was late in the day and mum would be home soon, about an hour or so and there’s a BOY in the house. Oh my gosh I felt so clammy.
He told me to relax and that everything was okay. So I went to sit next to him, his smile melted any anxiety I had, he came up close and kissed me, then his arms moved up and down my body. I froze. My mind frantic, screaming inside yet frozen on the inside. Do I like this or not, I was confused… happy for the attention of a boy yet scared of what was taking place. I literally zoned out as still as a mannequin. He continued to touch me whilst reassuring me it was ok. I couldn’t say a word I could just about breathe I had not realised the zipper of his trousers were down and he slipped my panties to one side, he flipped me around and held me down, I got frightened, very frightened but I was pinned…’ssshhhhhhh its okay, you can’t get pregnant and you’ll still be a virgin if I do it like this’…dumb me! Was he really going to do what I thought?? YES he did I felt this pulsating very warm mass going into my back passage. I unfroze in the greatest panic, I fought my way from underneath him and told him through my teeth LEAVE ME ALONE…my niece was upstairs, what on earth would I do if she woke up to see THIS??? He smirked and said I’m just playing with you, it’s just games. He tried to grab me back but I looked up and shouted MY MUMS HERE SHES PARKING…I was lying but he didn’t take the chance, he jumped up fixed his trousers and ran out the back door, over the fence and down through the alley. Fifteen minutes later mum really did come home. I felt sick and dirty, his words lingered in the air, he was playing, and it’s a game, so he didn’t really like me, I wasn’t girlfriend material I thought. Who was I fooling? Someone like me? No he used me to abuse me.
That was the start of my boiling hot baths; I ran hot baths and slowly oozed myself down in the water. I needed to be clean and only scolding water can help cleanse me in my mind. I also walked the four miles to school. The breeze would blow on me and blow away the dirt. My thoughts made no sense but made sense to me.
If the shame and filth wasn’t enough, that day my niece awoke when my mum came home. She was always such a brat with me when mum came home. She turned to look at me and smiled as she said ‘Grandma, I fell asleep when the boy came around’ what was the point trying to explain? What could I say? All I heard was shouting; all I felt was licks; all I could do was cry. The tears were more from the dirty experience I had just only half an hour ago endured. Mum beating me was null and void. Life turned ugly and dirty.
Growing into teenage years
the past is set behind me
longing for life to be kind to me
longing to not be lonely
Lots of friends on my street
now we play a kinder child friendly hide & seek
innocence is mines again
a target I seem to have become
‘Touch her, caress her, she won’t say a word
A voice like hers is seldom heard.
Lets learn how to big boys
And there, innocence lost again
I’m really beginning to hate men
out of all the girls playing hopscotch and double dutch
Its me, its me, always me they illegally touch
Sad thing is it wasn’t just strangers
maybe that’s why it hurt so much
I loved you, looked up to you, adored you
Obviously you I never knew
Dear Dookie Dooks…
I’m sorry that whilst your insides were broken hearted and you cried internally, I made you pretend and suppress your feelings and it just rooted and grew with you. I’m sorry I didn’t protect you Dookie but you were and still are loved very much. Please forgive me.
It is because of this I guess why you froze and pretended when you went on holiday and and that person invited you to come and lay down in his bed for cuddles you thought…yes somebody likes me.
So you were happy to feel love and affection from your them whilst on holiday. They treated you like a real kid sister and I know you felt loved and accepted. There was a huge smile on your face to cuddle with him… 9years old you were I remember it like yesterday.
You thought nothing of it.
Again I silenced you, froze you as still as a Door-mouse, as his body started to move underneath you. At first you thought he was just repositioning himself to get comfortable I know, I was there. But his circular movement and the pressing against your body… not just any part of your body but down there, in the private area no one was allowed to see or touch. I know you felt uncomfortable and you were so happy being loved and accepted that I froze you, I sealed your lips and made you pretend you didn’t feel he was doing something rude. His movements reminded you of what you may have glimpsed on telly from time to time by accident… what married people do to have babies. Your innocence wondered if this meant that he loved you as a wife. Babygirl you were 9 years old and not old enough to be anyone’s wife.
So so sorry that I didn’t open your mouth so you could say ‘no thanks I like my own bed! Or speak out loud with your cheeky self and say ‘why do you keep moving it feels funny’… that would of alerted others that slept in the same room..
Sorry Dookie I should of given you your voice when it mattered most.
Now all I have done is make you think people show they really like you by touching you inappropriately, It wasn’t your fault, you didn’t know, you just wanted to be liked and loved and to be accepted.
Please forgive me,
You whisper gently by my ear
You tell me calmly, your touch I should not fear
But I cringe when you come so near
Being alone with you I will refrain
For I am much too young to have such stains
How can you, being older than me, not know what you do?
Yet you insist to bring spiritual pain
What does it profit; tell me what will you gain?
It’s a demonic sickness within your brain
Corrupting your innermost
Driven by an un-heavenly host
Whose plan for us all is utterly insane.
God also has a plan
If anyone can break this chain
I know in my heart He can
It’s decreed in His word and His word never fails
Jeremiah 29:11 I shall hold on to for it allows me to prevail
Whisper no more your egocentric lies
Pretending to love
And corrupt my innocence in an unlawful soul tie
My God my Father sees and has built a blood hedge to cover me
Yes I am His daughter
I did not know it back then
I choose to remember know more
You are defeated
For as I write this
I shut the door
Between the ages of 9-10 years old I saw quite a few ‘first times’ in my short life.
After Cam gave birth to my niece, my parents and I traveled to America the following year for a summer holiday. I took Chrissy with me and my hand luggage was all my nieces clothes aged 6 months. They were now Chrissys’ clothes and she would never grow out of them.
My first time…
It was strange, as I pictured the U.S to be in the same technicolor as what I saw in the movies! I didn’t expect it to look and feel like England, people like me etc.
The shops were different, everywhere there was a Deli. Singing accents flowing with upbeat excited conversations – everyone was always in a rush.
So much relatives and friends, there was no need to stay in a hotel, we just stayed here and there. Everyone took to my English accent and was told constantly ‘ Oh my garrsssh, she’s too cute’ so of course I felt great, I felt liked and nobody thought I was annoying!
Such a good feeling being accepted and liked, that I thought nothing of it when one night I complained that I couldn’t sleep and someone said “come and lay with me I’ll keep you company.” Well of course I got up from where I was and went in there bed.
It was a single bed and proved difficult to lay side by side so it was suggested I lay on top of them. He said to just stay quiet and sleep will come, so I did, the talking stopped. I could not sleep for a while though as he kept moving slowly all the time. I just thought he was trying to get comfortable but I started to feel uneasy by the feeling of where the movement was touching me and soft groans was coming from him. I decided to pretend I did not notice and began to move and go back to the other bed where I was, but he held me and whispered ‘shhhhhhhhhhhhhsh’ close to my ears. I froze, eyes wide shut and froze. I don’t remember anything else.
That was the first time…
I never thought much about what happened, only to think to myself ‘you made me feel safe then you used me.’
Inside I felt sick and angry, it was not a rage but a coldness that curdled on the inside but masked itself on the outside to the sweet cute smile they all adored. I trusted no one. I hated the way that person acted like it was nothing, he chatted and laughed and went on with his days as normal, was a child as small as me able to imagine this? was it all a dream? Hell no, it was real, it was nasty and I hated feeling that people were just pretending to like me so they can get close enough to hurt me. Did anyone like me? Anyone?
Lots of new found cousins seemed to. I met my Great Uncle who had 11 sons, they were so lovely. I met my dads sister and family in Washington D.C, we toured the Monument and The White House, we went to Connecticut, Baltimore, Queens, Brooklyn… just all over and it was great.
Lots of pleasant memorable first times.
So we’re out visiting again, have no idea who or where until I heard the word ‘sister!’
I got a sister? where? when? Then I get this crash course story that my dad had two daughters before he met my mum… I HAVE TWO EXTRA SISTERS!! A barrage of thoughts entered my mind, where have they been all my life? why was I not told about them before? why were they some big secret? but dad lived in England with us, he has not been on holiday to America, so has he not even seen them? how could he not look after them? Really?? I felt so sad for my new found sisters and bad as well because I felt it was our fault (my other sister and brothers) why dad may have not been there for them.
Wait, I have a niece?, not Cam’s daughter but there was another one, an older one from my eldest sister. I felt robbed! all this time I thought I was an aunt for the first time last year, when in fact I was an auntie a few years before and didn’t even know.
The first time I met my sister I kept staring , I guess still in shock and I had so many questions that I could not ask but desperately wanted to. My niece was hooked on Sesame Street and I remember my sister took us to the cinema to see the Muppet Movie. My niece called me’Aunt Ali’ and loved playing with me and my doll Chrissy, I had so much fun with her that I forgot about the other stuff that made me feel upset and weird. Now I felt the love I wanted, untarnished, unconditional, childlike love.
That was my first time…
I started to feel negatively about my dad, a layer of respect peeled away… For the first time.
So a beloved part of my childhood was definitely spent in our home in Greenford. Days of joy and innocence ( except from the episode with the two little boys in the park bushes!)
Memories of aunties, uncles and cousins coming over (majority not blood related) but nevertheless were family to us. Sounds of laughter and excited chatter from the sitting room and children playing or just hanging out in the dining room. No cares or fears, we went out to play with freedom.
I actually cannot remember winter months in this time of my life. I remember thick fog, I used to think it was the clouds that fell down from the sky as it was so thick and fluffy.
I remember Christmas Eve sleeping with one eye open waiting for that fat white bearded man to come and nibble on the mince pie and juice left out for him and wonder what he’d bring me. Well I was five years old and considered to be a good girl even though I was told I was cheeky!
My eyes were failing me, sleep beckoned, but just then at the corner of a half closed eye I saw a shadow.
I jumped sitting up on my bed rubbing my eyes so I could see properly. My feet felt something hard and I followed the gaze, there she was, the most beautiful black doll you could imagine. She was the size of a 6-8 month old baby with short black hair but in the middle of her head was a pony tail you could extend by pulling and retrieve by pulling on the string on her back. I was in glee as I remembered the shadow and ran out my room and downstairs, no one. I ran in my parents room panting “mum mum dad Father Christmas came I saw his shadow he gave me a doll a real baby seeee” as I held up the doll in excitement.
Mum rubbed her eyes trying hard to play dumb and half asleep (it worked!) she replied “oh that’s real nice, now go to sleep.” Sleep… sleep how could I sleep? I was overwhelmed, Father Christmas found me and brought me the best doll ever and I named her Chrissy. I was convinced at 5 years old; there IS a Father Christmas and he loved me enough to come all the way to my house to give me a present.
“I am a good girl.”
1976 The hottest summer recorded and I was 6 years old, dressed in a swimming costume, I played in the fountains of Trafalgar Square with my brothers. I do not recall my big sister there or my brother Angus, but they must’ve been there too.
In my mind I see myself running, giggling, laughing and wet.
“I sense happiness.”
1977 The Queens Silver Jubilee. There was red, white and blue everywhere, all over my school. I remember having to dress up like British kings & queens with large hats and having a garden party at school. Watching the parade on telly and thinking how lovely the world was with so many happy people. No one said anything about my hair or color, no one has ever answered my question, “why are we not called ‘Brown’ people and white people cream or colored??” Anyway it was a great year and I didn’t feel different outside of my home…
“I felt accepted.”
My big sister Cam use to take me with her to visit her friends. I really don’t know if she did it out of kindness or made to do it as she may have been in charge of looking after me. Regardless, I loved my outings with her. Her friends were always so nice to me and I loved the attention of being the ‘baby sister.’
I don’t even know when he came on the scene, but my sister had this boyfriend, then I remember mum not being happy about something. Later in years I realized it was because my sister got pregnant.
In all of this we moved house and next thing I know mum is busy sewing and my cousin and I have pretty dresses to wear. My other cousins are over from abroad and there’s pure excitement. Why? because there is a wedding, my sisters wedding and she was hugely pregnant. There was lots of people, the sun shone and there was loads of food at the reception. The one thing that stood out to me was the huge bread loaf shaped like ducks.
A lot of work and money went into this wedding, a lot of stress I imagine, but my mother (especially) did not want the ’embarrassment’ of a pregnancy outside of wedlock.
Anyway, I got to be a bridesmaid for the first time ever.
For my sister, it wasn’t the case of ‘I Do’ but rather ‘I have to’!
“I decided I wanted to get married for love.”
The wedding was June 1978 and it was the beginning of a wonderful summer. I became an auntie to a beautiful baby girl. I was 9 years old and automatically felt very grown up. I remember my mum came rushing in the house like a whirlwind to grab a dressing gown and slippers for my sister and rushed back out to head to the hospital. Somewhere between all that excitement was the information that Cam was in labor.
I sat on the stairs trying to imagine what that really meant, was the baby really going to come out down there and if so HOW??
‘I smile,’ “I want to be a mother.”
“Show me show me, go on yuh know me!
Don’t freeze, don’t hide, don’t run
Take my hand and let me feel how God created you different from me.
I want to see if you look the same as what I saw in my dads’ magazine!”
“Get away from me, I will remain clean
I thought you were my friend,
But so yuh so mean
Run me go run far from this crime scene”
Forever my life has been mentally playing that game
Hide and seek, hiding the pain, hiding the shame
Continually seeking identity… What’s my name?
Hiding from men seeking to make me insane
Seeking restoration, time to take off the mask
She shouts ‘HALLELUJAH’ …Hallelujah! What’s that? You ask…
(Sssssh!… I let you into a secret, no more hiding from the past)
For I Seeked and found the Saviour, now I’m free at last
Thank God Almighty I am free from the past.