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When Aunty G, Met Mother Charles

This is the transcript from a video posted by Gette Nanton (Aunty G) of an interview with 92 year old Mother Charles, of Georgetown, one time leader of the Spiritual Baptist Church. Events like these are priceless yet so rare because so many of us are contended with things as they are now and fail to realise that there is a wealth of knowledge in the heads of our elders and it is not until they are gone that we wish that they were still here to tell us their life stories.

Mother Charles had her own prayer house, but she travelled throughout the country to places like Vermont, Clare Valley, Fitz-Hughes, Buccament, Richmond, Rose Hall, Fancy, Sandy Bay and as she put it Windsor Forrest, quite over the Soufriere mountain. This is how their conversation went.

How much money did you get in those days, a week a month? asked Aunty G

Hear nuh, me nah wuk fu money ah nuh! replied Mother Charles

Aunty G: Oh, so you were just rendering your services to the Lord?

Yes, not for money.

Aunty G: How many children do you have?

Ten, was the reply.

Aunty G: What would you say is the difference long ago to now with the children?

My God, gasped Mother Charles, long ago children is far different to now. Hear nuh, in our days growing, you pass and meet a lady in the road, you can't pass and nah say marnin ah nuh! and if you once pass and you nah say good marnin and the lady go to lash yo, you can't go home and say nothing you know, cause you getting more licks from yo parents

It use to be "good marnin Miss, good marnin Sah", but now you na have that. Mother Charles paused for a while.

You can't do no body children dat now, because dem go ask if you think you ah dem Mouma fo come lash dem.

What's the secret for keeping you so strong and healthy?

Hear nuh, sometime ah nuh you eat Two Breadnut you go ah school you come back you eat a Banana and drink some water then go ah school come back, and you joyful. Num body nah know way you get fu eat ah nuh and you nah tell Num body way you get fu eat.

Aunty G: But this generation, they won't eat Breadnut and come school!  

She laughs, Dem nah want dat. Go gi dem fry chicken and Kentucky. They want this then dat.

Aunty G: What word of advice would you give before we wrap up?

I am asking the young people of today to keep dem eyes open pon the man Christ Jesus, because we are in the last days of some terrorous times.

Aunty G: Well thank you very much Mother, it was very nice talking to you and may the good Lord, continue to guide you always.

Well hear nuh, he nar leave me you know, my Jesus never leave me. Hear nuh, when father Jesus ask Solomon, way he want, wha Soloman bin ask fa?  And Jesus said to him you neither ask for riches nor Silver or Gold. you don't ask for long life, but you ask for Knowledge ,Wisdom and Understanding.

Aunty G: Well thank you once again.

Mother Charles: How much money you ah pay me?

With that she burst out laughing.


Maco Man

This site would not be complete if I didn't talk about "Maco Man". Macoing was mainly done by young men during my time growing up in Georgetown. We  didn't have TVs, Game consoles or any of the Mod Cons you have today so I suppose we had to make our own entertainment. To put it bluntly it was Spying on people to see what they got up to. It was done at night time when girlfriends and boyfriends were sneaking off to have alone time.

"Now ley me make this clear", I was not a Maco, but I was drawn into doing it once. Honest!  I only saw kissing (suck tongue) nothing else. Anyway back to the Maco thing. If you saw a new sweet boy in the area at night you knew that he was on a mission, so he became a target. You always had an idea who they came to charm so "Maco Man" hid behind bush, wall or whatever to track their movement.

Street lights were few and far between so what you think is bush was Maco man. Once you had been Macoed on, it became the topic the following day. Ironically, I was a victim of Maco Man twice. If you were on a mission you always look out for Maco Man, it was a given that they would be on the prowl. They were like pick pockets, sharp and hard to spot.

The Vincy Band, "Touch" even made a song about modern day Maco Man/Woman.

Spring Village Bad Johns

I was "Own-Way" as youth growing up in Georgetown. Not in a bad way I just loved to explore. Once I did my daily tasks like fetching water from the stand pipe and sweeping the yard I would go walk abouts. I often ventured into Chilli, and even sometimes took the short cut over the river into Valley. But there was one place we stayed away from and that was Spring Village.

Most of the men in Spring Village used to lift iron so they had big muscles and puffed out chests. When we were small we assumed anyone with muscles was strong and called them a  "Bad John" and  Bad Johns had a reputation for beating up people. Spring Village was notorious for fighting. If you had a girl friend from Spring Village you had to keep it secret.

It was only a small place but you had to pass there to go to Valley, so if you had enemies in Spring Village, you better find another route.

I think there was a guy from Caratal, who was always in Spring Village called "Buff". He had a reputation for being the best wrestler, no one could throw him down. Bare Road, was another area with a fighting reputation. I only went there if I had someone to follow me.


Contribution from Ron Clarke "I remember Amos James and Mabel in Spring Village. Amos use to smoke a pipe.I was very young but I can remember someone told my mother and grandmother that spirits were playing with me. and they took me up by Amos for him to latterly 'blow smoke up my butt'. I remember him quite well because he had a tree full with worms on it. I remember they use to soak these worms in strong rum and give you to drink for 'bell-huttins'.
I remember Gertie Glasgow (deceased) use to live above us in Spring Village. I also remember our 'wattle-and -daub' kitchen with the fire side inside and the one outside. I am one of those persons who were actually born in Spring Village, not in a hospital. I was born in my grandma's house. I am a proud country boy who hails from Spring Village- proud of that!

I remember 'Kinel' where many of us learn to swim. When it was dug out I use to hold on on the sides of the wall and try to swim....on most of these occasions, we use to ;run-way' to go up there or when we go to wash clothes (by then we had moved to Caratal). 'Kinel' was the information hub, it was the 'community radio station' on Saturday mornings. So much more can be said....."

Contribution from Hyacinth Clarke."I was born in Spring Village, and yes it had its reputation at the time. If you interfere with one person from the village, you interfere with all. In my young days most of the teachers used to come to the dam to bathe every morning. But, if you do, make sure you did not punish Buff the day before at school. If you do, then you would have to answer to all the stones he would throw at you.

I knows it's true, because he is my brother. He wasn't a wrestler, they use to lift weights in the village, along with Willis who is now deceased, and Heraldo who is still with us. Spring village had its own steelband and XMAS was one of the most memorable time there. I look back with great fondness, and I'm proud to say it's where I was born and spent the first 13 years of my life. I now realise that being poor isn't a crime, and coming from humble beginnings, is what help to mould me( us) into what we are today.

In June of this year I went back to visit the older people who lived there, and the place has changed so much. Gone are all the wattle- and- daub houses, as they were sometimes called . It's now big wall houses, and the younger generation are now teachers, and professionals . God bless them all!! My nephew who was born there is now a secondary school principal, so it's with a lot of love that I felt that I had to write this piece.

One thing I forgot to mention is that as the sister of Buff, no one dare to interfere with me, because they know what they would get if they do, and it's not a pat on the shoulder. God bless St Vincent , God bless us Vincy, and God bless the people of Spring Village, including all who has gone on before us. May they rest in peace, including the latest person to depart from the village Carmin Quashie. Gone but not forgotten ."

Going To Suffray 

Submitted by Patricia Brown Boyd

Do you remember back in the day, when folks would take the hike up to La Soufriere every Easter Monday?

I remember I made my first trip when I was about 10 years old.  Boy I was sooooo tired that night. After that first time, I made the trip every year.  I remember folks you didn't even know would be eating their picnic lunch at the river bed, and even if they didn't know you, we would all be like one family, folks would be sharing their lunch and just enjoying the time there.  Then we would start our journey up the hill.

On our way down, we would always make sure we had pieces of what we called "sufray grass" with us, that told every one back in G/town that you actually went up the hill, because that was the only area where that grass grew.  Of course we never said the word correctly, we never called it La Soufriere, it was always "sufray"  remember?

What Is Katar Porker

Some one asked this question. Any body from Georgetown, remember what is Katar Poker? We used to get it by Ms Nickie at Mt Bentinck?

"Some kind of rubber stuff we used to chew".

You are right, my sister was talking about it today".

"When you couldn't buy chewing gum we use it as a substitute. Chew it till your jaw hurt"

"Those were definitely the good old days. Ms Nickie, was incidentally my aunt."

"We old folks can not forget that. You chew until your Jaw ache".

"These memories make me want to go home"

"It was a big dark object, we used to rush to get a piece from it. We chew till there was no taste left"

Booky Roy And The Pretty Mango

Submitted by Terry

I must tell you this story. Me and my pardner Sallay, and Booky Roy, decided to go up to a place called Tank, to look for mangoes, I think the land belonged to the Croziers at the time. Anyway, we are under this mango tree and there is a pretty ripe mango hanging at the end of a branch. The branch was very thin so we had to pelt stones to try and get the mango. No matter what we did the mango won't budge.

Booky Roy, decided enough was enough, he wanted the goldie badly so he mounted the tree. We begged him not to do it but like a snake Booky, crawled onto the tiny branch. Sallay,  pleaded with him, "Booky, no boy, yo mother .... crazy? (every other word Sallay spoke was a bad word)

"Me nearly reach um man, me nearly re...."

Next thing we know branch break and Booky dropped straight on his back. We thought Booky was dead, but he jumped straight up. Ever since that day Booky never walk the same. We still didn't get the mango. Fun times boy, Fun times.

Pictured above is my best buddy Sallay.

My girl days in Georgetown

Submitted by Patricia Brown

I wonder if you were ever in this situation with me; let me tell the story; ha! ha!

My mother used to hate it when school gets vacation from July through September. I couldn't bear to be alone at home, so when we got that long vacation, I was never home.  I would go down by Tantie Visin, and would be with the Charles' and Merle and Norie all day playing.

I would eat by Tantie Visin, or by Norie, or by Sis and Icena's house; then when night came; I know I am going to get licks, so I would be afraid to go home.  I would then have everybody follow me home.  I'd be going home with Merle, Sis, Norie, Icena, Caro; sometimes even Cally and Madara  this big gang of us going to my house.

I remember when I would get home; sometimes Merle would go to the front and say; "Tantie Ethel, a bring Pat home."  Mommy wouldn't answer.  There were times when I would just go to the door and say "mommy beat me now." Knowing I'm gonna get licks anyway.  The first few times I said "mommy beat me now."  She told Tantie Visin "that girl just don't care!" She come home with Merle and all her friends, telling me "mommy beat me now."

When I go home to St.Vincent, I would always go and visit Mrs. Charles (Icena and the others mom). Mrs. Charles always reminds me of those days, when I would be walking about, staying all day down there with her children and being afraid to go home at night, knowing I am going to get a beating.  She have fond memories of me and my walk about days. She always laughs when she sees me, then we sit down and she would start going down memory lane.  It's always fun to visit with her. 

Monkey Man at Carnival

The question was, who remember monkey man  at carnival time?

Yank Penny used to scare us silly coming down the road all blackened up and in chains with a red pepper in his mouth. 

"I used to run under bed. Scariest thing ever. I think there was one called Godfrey, too. Mercy!"

"I always made sure that I had money to give them, they leave you alone then. The red pepper in their mouth looked like fire to us kids. What a time!"

"I was not so brave to go so close"

"Man I was so afraid of those things, it was not funny back then. good old days"

"They used to get away from the chains and come right in your face, if you didn't money to give them LORD help you!"

"When they get loose from the chain I used to take off screaming and running like hell"

A question was asked "Who Remember Chokie Bam Bam?"

Contribution by Steve Bailey

Hi my name is Stevie Bailey I lived in Caratal next door to the rum factory. I came to St Vincent to grow up with my grandmother and most of my father's family. I went to Georgetown, school and spent a good while in SVG and I always call G/town my home. I made lots of friends and would not have changed my experience for anything. I went back to the UK in 1970 to be with my new family and have returned wirh my own kids to show them were I grow up. I think its very important to show and educate your children about their culture, they class them selves also as Vincentians, I dont think anyone would remember me as I was called white man in Caratal.  I would like to give thanks to my father for the opportunity for making me a Vincentian and making it my home it was the best boy days I ever had.

Scooby Stevie

Contribution by Patricia Brown

This is sooooooo good!! Boy you outdid yourself!!! How long did this take you to put together? What a wealth of information. Wow!! I have to call you, I am at work now and couldn't go through everything like I want to, I keep getting interrupted. But Wow!!! As I was going through the photo gallery, when the music came on, it brought tears to my eyes. I guess people like me, who love, love, love good ole G/town and SVG on a whole, but especially G/town it's just very touching. I will give you a call.

Boy where did you get those things on slavery etc? My goodness!! It wasn't going to be completed if you didn't have "cordice wall" so when I saw Cordice Wall, I was relieved*:D big grin.

I remember Mrs. Gatherer's shop. Those days 25 cents used to give me a quarter ounce of cheese and 12cts biscuits. I would buy that after school some evenings when I had money and would go down by a coconut tree on the beach right below the hospital there, and  just enjoy the breeze and whatever is going on in and around the water at the time."

"Do you remember when gravel would come up and folks would go bring up the gravel on their heads and form heaps in certain spots?Then trucks would come and buy the gravel.  That's how I made pocket money. My mother used to tell me if I wanted money, then I had to earn it.  It was rough bringing up that gravel on your head every evening, but when I got my load of gravel sold, it was awesome!."

Pat Brown Boyd

Comment by Terry: Yes I rememember that well. They paid good money for a heap of gravel but it was hard work collecting it from the sea. Whole families used to jove gravel to earn money for Christmas.

Contribution by Cassandra Delicia

I left St. Vincent 25 years ago and I'm planning on returning next year of 2015 to visit with my two children. No place like home.

Contribution by Natasha McDowall (Curl)

I agree with you, home sweet home. I was born in Caratal but grew up in Mt.Bentick, Bay Road to be precise. I remember running behind molasses trunk for the dripping of molasses and all the ring games I played under lamppost light or in moon light. I remember all the moonlight cook up when its full moon, but most of all I loved jumping Caratal river to get to and from Georgetown school. Oh how I enjoy and miss those days they where the best years of my life.

Contribution by Joan Thomas Humprey

OMG...I lived in MT Bentinck Bay Road until 1965, before coming to England. Your narrative blew me away and transported me back to my child hood. Thanks for making my Day. Calvin, do you remember going to pick fat poke and grapes over Rabucca river.. crayfish in the river next to Basin Hole and fresh bread from Willy Wall shop. My most treasured memory of growing up in SVG as a child is going to my Tante Martha shop in Chapman village after school for freshly fried tri tri cake and mauby. Boy the joy of growing up in SVG and the pain of leaving all these memories behind makes me so sad. Your site is amazing...keep up the good work. 

This Question was raised by Kaleen Clouden

Any one remember these people with these trades? Mr Jack the Tanner, he made leather from the dried cattle skin. Herbert King who made cake pans,bread pans and cups from tin cans. DooDoo girl who made the hottest pepper sauce. Mr Rogers the Black Smith from Bay Road and Miss Thelpher the annointing lady "Chiropractor" boy she was the best.

Read some of the response below. If you have anything to add please enter it in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

The Three stories below were submitted by an  anonymous reader

Ten cents matinee

Mack Charles and my dad were good friends. Mack Charles was the ticket issuer at the cinema. In them days it was 10 cents to go matinee and we couldn't even come up with 10 cents. Every Sunday I use to go to Mack Charles and say "Daddy say to let me in" He knew that I laying but he always say " OK, Go, Go.

So when Mack Charles died, he was the first dead person I ever see. Because he was so good to me I say, ley me go down and see him. 

Moving house

I remember the days when somebody wanted to move their house, ever body use to volunteer. If the house couldn't fit on the truck they use to take it apart.

Jackson radio

The old man who lived in the house at Jackson corner in Chili, was the first person I know who had a radio. Everybody use to flock around not only to hear it but just to see it. Jackson use to bring home lots of coconut from his mountain lands and leave them in the yard to dry. All the kids use to steal half of them to eat because we were so hungry.

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