I remember my childhood as if it was yesterday. Most of my memories are good ones others are not so good. This is not even the surface of what I can remember from being a child. I had so much fun. I loved games and I still do. We played so many and I am sure you did also.
Most if not all of us as children played dolly house. One person was the dad another, the mommy and the rest the children. We played dress up, wore heels and other grown up clothing and rocked the run way while watching ourselves in the mirror. The girls cared for dolls and the boys drove cars. We played in mud, with insects, sticks and with rocks; we were not fortunate to have many manufactured toys but that never bothered us.
I remember having funeral services for cockroaches and lizards that my cousins and I had slain (I was afraid of them). I remember flooding ant nests and torturing them with melting plastic pretending to be their deity administering justice. However, we were very godly children and sometimes even played church; most times I was the pastor. We were also very bright and played school; most times I was the teacher. Sometimes we invented our own games and watched as they became a big thing in our neighborhood; most times I was the inventor.
I am a 90’s baby; we never really spent a lot of time inside. Our games were always outdoors and required a lot of physical prowess, therefore, we hated rain. I remember my grandmother and step mother having to call me from outside away from my friends forcing me to go bathe and do homework. We drove our parents nuts and got our fair share of beatings for it.
I remember games we played like: baseball, cricket, football, racing, hop scotch, dandy Shandy, police and thief, chiney skip, mama lashy, hide and seek, and so many others (some should not be named). Some boys climbed trees. I couldn’t and didn’t care. They made kites; I couldn’t and didn’t care. They made bingy (slingshots; hand held catapults) and hunted birds, mostly pigeons; I couldn’t and didn’t care.
I remember when we had piped water in abundance and would play water-wars. I remember getting slapped up for that too and being asked “you can pay water rate?”. We were sometimes unruly and teased passers by mostly old men and famed obeah women (witches), while hiding of course and if we were caught, that’s another beating. Watching someone else get beating was a joyous occasion for the rest of us especially if he/she thought they ran things on the street and at home.
I remember us stoning mango trees on Norman Terrace on our way home from school. I remember the squeals of dogs we stoned and hiding from angry owners. We were such lovely, well behaved and happy children.
I remember that one old man who always brought home tasty treats for all the kids on my street, biscuits and sweets of all kinds. I remember the juice truck that supplied all the neighborhood shops and the free drinks that we got from the men who drove them. I remember that old lady who made tamarind balls, grater cakes, peanuts cakes and other lovely pastry and gave all the children whatever she never sold. I remember the don who always had money, who would put on yearly Christmas treats and would supply all the children with back to school supplies and pocket money. I can hear the music from the ice cream truck coming down the road for which we made our own lyrics, we hardly had money to buy ice cream and ran to our gates to watch as it passed by.
Growing up Jamaican we all had to run from a stone or anything thrown at us by our parents when we were rude and “pass wi place”. We got healthy ass thrashings and we all wanted to grow up so badly so as to not get anymore. We hated rules and restrictions. However, we never threw tantrums because our parents would never ground us, they beat hard. I remember my father made me do bullfrog jumps on my neighborhood street- with the people on the sideline cheering us on- from a friend’s house to ours as punishment for leaving the yard after he told me not to. This made me want to grow up.
We thought growing up meant being free and untouchable, having our own way and doing whatever we want. We thought having our own children would be easy; we wanted to live by ourselves get married and work. We couldn’t wait for 18 so we could pack our bags and embark on our own little adventure. Then we became 18 and are still in our parent’s house. Now we are 22 and still have not left, wishing we were a child again.