"Your Past Is like Your Shadow It Never Leave You" 

One the things that I look back on as a young boy growning up in Back Street, Cobo Town, was how protective the elders were of the youths regardless if they were related to you or not. They went out of their way to make sure that we stayed on the straight and narrow. The women in particular weren't afraid to give us a good telling off if they saw us somewhere that they felt we shouldn't be, or if we forgot our manners and didn't say good morning when we passed them on the street. They would utter something like " So you ah play big man now, you ah pass me and nah say marning? wey yo manners"? They would then made sure that your guardians knew about the event.

If you were hanging with the wrong crowd, they would go and tell your parents " Me see Terry, down ah so and so with so and so, yo must warn him!" At the time it would have been easy to think that they did it for spite but on reflection it was out of concern for our well-being. So I though that it would be nice to remember the elders who lived in my neighbourhood. (most of whom are no longer with us)

I lived in Back Street, next to Darkie and John Smith, they lived in an upstairs and down stairs wall house, as we called it then. The Smiths were good neighbours and we often played at their home with one of their  family member, from Valley who often came to visit called "Pinky". Starting from the extreme end of the Street there was Herbin Peters, a quiet man who rode a bicycle. He was the father of my uncle.  The Baileys back yard was on the same stretch of road. Their famliy members were Winston, Charles and Mikey.

Moving further up the Street there was Mrs Cyrus, a lovely church going lady who came from Aruba, with her children, Sam, Joseph, Julie, Romel and Maria. Across from Mrs Cyrus was Miss Mac.

I must point out here that some of the names mentioned may not be accurate but these were names which I knew them as at the time. Next to Miss Mac was Tanty Miss. Tanty Miss, made us laugh when she was cursing, every other word she used was "Kiss-Me-Arse". She was the grandmother of Jacquline and Bernadette. In the same yard but further down, was Aunt Doyle and Uncle Diddy. Their surname was Smith. Uncle Diddy was Tanty Miss brother. He was such a nice quiet man, we used to go with him to his mountain in Three Rivers.

Miss Morris lived a way up from Tanty Miss, next to her sister Mrs Brown, a light shin lady. Mrs Brown''s husband was Brinsley Brown. They also had a small shop. They had son s Boris and grandchildren, Cherry, Sis and Francis. After Mrs Brown was Darkie Smith then our house. Across the road from our place was a man we called Uncle Freddie. I don't know if Uncle Freddie had any family because he lived alone and didn't have any visitors, apart from the kids he used to invite in for sweeties.

My Great Gran was Nenen Sutton, a strong hard working woman who looked after Five generations of children. Her daughter Gladys, my grand mother, died when I as about Four so I don't remember her. Next to us was Miss Martina Jackson, Ormond and Noel are related to her. Miss Nola moved in after Miss Jackson moved away.

Petty Goodridge lived in a wall house next to Miss Nola. Petty was a coolie lady, she and Nenen were good friends. Across from Petty was Esmie Layne and Edna. Esmie and Edna were related. Eda's mother was Esmie's sister..  Edna, didn't say much, she always had an early moning dip in the sea and always return with fire wood from Bayside. Right next to the Laynes was Miss Visin. We used to meet in her yard at night to talk Nancy stories with Merle and Judeth. On the other side of the road from Miss Visin, was Mrs Charles, she is still with us today. The Charles used to live on the main road next to Dr Cordice, but they moved to Back Street in the mid Sixties. I can still remember the day when they moved their house on a truck. Darcus Da Silva, lived close to Mrs Charles. Miss Silva as we called her was a lovely woman, she always shared her crop with the neighbours. Rusita, Yvonne, Tabetha, Sampson, Melio, Cultico, Norita and Gerald were her off springs.

These were the folks in my immediate neighbourhood and whose homes I used to visit to play and eat. There were many others in the area. People like Miss Elen, Mr Pilgrim and  Miss Sutton.

On the main road there was Mrs Cato, a really nice light skin woman, her husband Mr Cato owned a bus called "Sorento".  There off springs that I knew of were Vin, (R.I.P 2014)  Junior, aka Tuneyman and Gloria. Miss Gatha, who lived in a wall house near the Catos, owned a shop, she was killed in a bus incident. Gatty Williams,  was related to the Charles, she was the mother of Mac Charles. Gatty lived opposite the park next to Maude and Claude, (Trady). I think Maude and Trady were brothers and sisters, they hardly opened their windows. Maude only had one leg. Sometime were we helped her by fetching water at the stand pipe next to her house. There was something wrong with Trady. They had another sibling called Coachie.

Miss King, lived further up the road at the far end of the park, she was nice caring lady and was close to my great gran.  Margret and Daddy Glasgow,  lived next to Cordice red house.  Miss Margret, made the best sweet potato pudding ever.  Miss Toney,  sold snacks on cinema days and also made ice cream. She was a nice quiet lady who always said morning when she pased you. Her off springs that I knew of were Helen, Vee, Ferdie and Alicene. Peter Tishera, was a red skin man he didn't mix much. He was always going to mountain. He was Miss Da Silva's partner but they lived in seperate houses. They had a son Gerald, we used to call him "Madera".

Ertris Liverpool,owned a shop in the village. If  the locals had no money she would always trust them until they were able to pay. She was the first lady I saw with a car.  Perter Tishera was Miss Ivy's, uncle. She also owned a shop across from where she lived, next to Miss Soso. Miss Maybe, lived opposite Miss Ivy and  Miss Ena  lived aceoss from Miss Toney, her kids were Mazzie and Pa.

Not too far from the sea front was a small community. Some of the folks living there was Miss Goodridge, her granddaughter was Sylvenia(Virginia) Turbin and Miss Alma, Sylvany, Miss Gregg, Miss Vickie and Miss Dinah. (Vickie and Dinah were sisters) There were also Miss Melvina and Papa HarryMiss Elonora, and Miss Batey.  Miss Nana and Dugal Telpher. We were terrible as kids, we teased Dudal terribly. We called him "Mango Skin" and ran, knowing full well tha he couldn't catch us because of his bad leg.  Miss Jack and Frans Crichton, There siblings were Trevor and Everlyn. The Rogers, Miss Pitt and Miss Shirley also lived in the village.

There were so many other influencial folks thoughout the town but the ones that I mentioned are those that immediately spring to mind. I haven't mentioned many Indian people, that is because most of them did not mix with us apart from the Huggins. Miss Huggins was like one of us she didn't mind us coming to her home. Her children that I knew of were Berry, Michael,Joycelyn, Victor, Foster and Micky (Hugo). The family also ran a shop next door to Ferdie's Footsteps.  Miss Collins, had Junior and Bernadine living with her.  Miss Carbery and Nenny Paul lived near to the Huggins. All of the above touched my life in one form or another, if I have missed anyone out or you have your own list of elders that you would like to be remembered please get in touch with me.

Thank You Jackie Bennet, Hetty Browne Crichton, Cassandra and Patara Layne for your massive input. Thank you also, to my relatives Rudolph and Shiela Perry.

 

My Great Gran mother "Mama Nenen"

I recently found a short video clip of my great gran mother Alice Sutton (Mama Nenen) which I took in 1989, a year before she died. Seeing her moving and breathing as if she is still with us is amazing. I am so glad that I took this video.

Though not my biological mother, I will always regarded her as my mother. She looked after me since I was 4 years old after my mother left to find work in England. This strong woman cared for four generations of family. Her own children, her children's children right down to my first born in 1974.

She built the foundation for my life by making sure that I went to school to learn and not fool around. I was reading and replying to her letters from my mother to her by the time I was 8 years old, and accompanying her to Kingstown when she had papers to fix up, as she would say.

I would also thread the needles when her eyes began to fade, but Two lasting memories of her will always stand out. The first is watching her toil in the hot sun digging arrow root to help feed us. It was my job to take her mid day lunch to her in the field so I witnessed this close up. The second stand out memory is when I got the blame for burning down Petty Goodridge banana field. What happened was me my friend Sallay and another person decided to have a cook in the field. I can't remember who lit the fire but when we couldn't put it out the other Two ran away. Poor Manen, had to plant back all the damaged banana plants.

Needless to say, I got a good beating. The funny thing was, when Manen used to beat us she would cry, as if she didn't really want to hit us but felt that she had to. I can remember some of the things she would say as she beat us. " Ah weary tell ahyo nah trouble nagga things" lash. "Me nah know way fu do wid ahyo" lash. " Yo mother better look sharp send fu ahyo"  lash. I don't think that meant the last one but I can't remember anything about the day we actually left to join our mother in 1969. Even after me and my sister left she cared for my cousins Roger, Kurt and my first born Otis.God bless her.


The plans below are my re-creation of my neighbourhood, Back Street, parts of Middle Street and Bay Side in COBO TOWN, as I remember it in the late 1960s to the midy 1970s. A special thank you to Leslie Pitt, Cassandra Layne and Patara Layne for their input. If you think that I have left anything out please get in touch and I will update.
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