Remembering What WAS Bajan

Submitted by Sapidillo

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There seem to have been many characters with the same nicknames in other neighbourhoods. A lady named Silvia; one day, she asked one of the boys on the pasture to run an errand for her; she offered him some soup.  He said that Silvy taught that she was making dumplings and made kite paste. Her husband called “monkey,” he used to clean toilet pits — another town man and town woman.  After monkey cleaned a pit or two and was paid, he would find himself at the closest Snackett.  If people were sitting on the stools and saw him coming, they would scamper; the man smelled like pure shit, didn’t even smell like a poop that would fade away in thin air.

If I keep digging up in this ole shoebox, I en gine get it tuh close bak.  I wud have to take de few coppers I have left and buy a valise to keep this memorabilia in tact.

These are some of the characters I remember while I was growing up.

  • Ceola, the bag lady that frequented the Fairchild St Bus Stand
  • Swine, Gwen Workman’s son; he threw a policeman through Larry Dash Showcase
  • Death Bird, a short woman that used to go into the communities early in the morning preaching, and when she came to your neighbourhood you expected somebody to die.
  • Dribbly Joe, he used to ride on the donkey cart with his mother.  I think he fell off a lorry and died
  • Yesterday Cakes, 2 sisters who were too proud to ask for stale bread at Humphrey’s Bakery, so they ask for yesterday cakes
  • Dog gurl, she enjoyed the feeling of a dog
  • Phensic Pokey, after having sex for the first time, she was hurting so went home and tek phensic
  • Easy Boy, he walked in strides, one today, one tomorrow
  • Bull Dog, short, stout man; he used to blow horn at store in Swan St
  • Gear Box, not the same person using handle @ BU
  • Young Donkey, short woman, used to be a member of Salvation Army
  • Lordie from Deighton with the backoo
  • Daddy Long Legs
  • Heart man
  • Board Dickey
  • Cock Cheese
  • Boysie, fish in pocket
  • Pokey Wata
  • Nimbles
  • Duncan Dead Fowl
  • Infamous King Dyall

There were the days of:

  • Douggies Snackette  & Jeff’s’ Snackette, they had some real tasty ice cream in de cones.
  • Humphrey’s Bakery in Dayrells Road, cars line up from top to bottom on Sunday afternoon
  • K R Hunte Record Store
  • Cotton Factory
  • Gene Latin American Band
  • How about the chinks that were said to have the men scratching their pouch at the Olympic Cinema, especially if sitting in the pit?
  • Detention after skool; having to write 500 lines. Some holding 2 pencils between their fingers and writing two lines at a time.
  • Some male teachers use to soak the leather straps in water, or in some kind of liquid? Female teachers use to put together more than one ruler, and with your hand stretch out, she would give at least 3 lashes with the side of the ruler in the palm of your hand. Some used to give an option how you want to take the licks, either in your back or in your hand.  Boyz used to trick some teachers by putting exercise books in their back so that the lashes hit the books.  Some girls used to rub their hands with Sweet Lime because it was said that if they get hit too hard it would cut them.
  • We were not allowed to use Ball Point pens in schools.  We were made to believe that those pens did not have a grip to form the letters properly.  We had to dip pens in the inkwell and because of ink smudges on the desks; a day was designated close to the end of term to scrub those desks.
  • We heard the word pupils more so than students.
  • Those who were not quick to grasp were called duncy.  There was a rhyme many of us would say, “go to skool you duncy fool and let the teacha geh yuh de rule.”  Some teachers (fe/males) would invite students to their homes to help those who were dragging behind.
  • At Wesley Hall Boys’ a teacher was nicknamed “square head Smithy” even though his head was shaped like a cone.  Another who used to drop licks in the boyz with all he force was nicknamed, Cole Pone.”
  • We would stop on way to/from skool to buy “black b!tch” “glassy,” combination of Walker toffees and nuts; but we dare not be caught eating in the classroom; otherwise our ass was grass.  Not forgetting the fat pork, taking the cashew seed and poking 2 holes in it for eyes to look like a monkey face or to roast.
  • In the milk room at school, during break we lined up for 2 biscuits and a plastic cup of cold milk.  That powder milk seemed to give some of us excessive gas.  When it came to the end of term especially for long vacation, the remainder of powder milk left was distributed.
  • A perfume called “Temptation” & “Khus Khus” used to sell in a vial at Rollock, the 5&10 store. The High School gurls would buy and lather themselves in it to smell sweet.  There was the “Lifeboy” soap that left a trail of fragrance behind.
  • Terelene Shirts; certain shoes/sandals people used to call “dog muzzles”
  • There was the bad smelling Musterole that parents used to rub down when a cold was imminent, and give yuh a Whiz.
  • Fogarty, at the top of Broad Street, Alleyne Arthur round de corner on High Street, the Civic at the top of Swan Street, some people called it “Layne Store.” And de good ole Civic Day.
  • Schools of the past:
  • Rudder Boys – corner Country & White Park Rds. Those boys could have “sing, sang.” I think. Harold Rock was their Director of Music
  • Stow Primary – Government Hill
  • MacDonald High – Deacons Rd.
  • Community High – corner Passage & Barbarees Hill/Rd
  • Unique High – Dayrells Rd
  • Wakefield High – WhitePark
  • Green Lynch – Spry St
  • National High – Roebuck St
  • Federal High – Collymore Rock
  • St Gabriels –
  • Serendipity Singers

The word, “Foop” was used often.  I am yet to uncover if there is a true meaning.  LOL



  • Remember people like Uncle Look Up, Ossie (Ozzie) Moore, Ceola, and that guy who wore all white and went to England talking about de sun cold.?




  • Lion Man is now with our Lord, I am afraid to say.


  • Joan, I remember Uncle Looking as a boy of 5 attending Roebuct Boys Primary. He worked at a store next to the school! He was a very nice man, because even when the kids insulted him; never would he respond with a unkind word.


  • The only shopkeepers’ name you got correct was Delbert Lynch. Some one should have proof read your ‘book’ before publication. Several grammatical and other errors. I was born in Belleplaine and am well versed in the then culture and the peoples of that small and successful business community.
    E.G Edmund Smith was the correct name!!


  • I can relate to almost all of the comments, but all those terrible things happen because most of the parents had little or no education, they used the kids for their own comfort and shortcomings, like when a parent got in a quarrel with another parent, but when the child pass the morning, one of the neighbors would complain the child didn’t speak to that neighbor. That was very confusing because most of the time the neighbor would lie. How on earth you can see your parent cussing and carrying on with another neighbor and say hello to that person the next morning, but most of the time it would be a lie that the child didn’t speak. The teacher most of them used to take out their anger on the kids whose parents were less influential or had good jobs, it was all about class. Those days were like slavery days, where the mother would marry a man but if he’s not your father , you would be treated even worse. Its not that kids are more rude or worse than kids back then, because kids were still bad, but its just no one paid any attention, and most of the time they got away with it. Keeping what goes on in the house, was the worse because back then there were lots of incest going on, but some mothers who depended on the so called husbands kept it quiet, and also some kids were the favorites, so those who were not were expected to work hard, and get to school late, and get beat at home and at school. Then the system would abuse you also because kids were kicked out at 14 years old. So I call it a step above slavery, or the indentured period.


  • you were not on punishment, but just got beat after a shower, because mostly it was the mother or father, because he or she took out their anger and frustration on the child, then after that child got to be an adult and got an education, that same parent wants to lay claim to the child success. When that same child was a kid going to school, how about coming home for lunch and nothing is there, but now when some of these same parents grow old, they want those kids they abuse to come to their rescue. I bet many of those parents regret their actions, but its too late. Many of those teachers didn’t like their job, they just wanted the money and benefits. I saw a few of them later in years, did they learn about beatings at the teachers training school? I remember reading about the house slaves, the ones who would tell the master about the field negroes, and that’s what it was in those days, the teachers didn’t want the poor kids to get no where, so why not beat the shit out of them, and terrorize them to make them hate school. That’s why teachers should learn about child psychology, and special education so to include all kids in the educational system. Beatings and punishment wont do it, because then you will be rearing a generation of horrible people with no remorse or empathy for another human being.


  • percy bushell, was charged for arm robbery but was freed, of the charge, a case that saw Burton Hinds jailed for contempt of court an Ian Gale bought before the court for printing the picture of Percy Bushell in the Advocate, as they ruled it could perjudious the matter before the court.


  • @Rawle Maycock

    Before our time, tell us more.


  • Mark Fenty, when did you attend Roebuck? I might know you.


  • Remembering Bajan “A diamond in the rough ” only wish i could relive those moments in time here on BU


  • Good night. I just read your article to my husband and he remembers all these things. You put a smile on his face. He now remembering a gentleman by the name of Os jar they called he Trixster. He had a pair of cork shoes. And how the man on a Saturday would be shining his shoes only the heel part. He now telling about going to the standpipe for water over by Banks . Again I wanted to say thank you for sharing.


  • @Penny

    Good that you found a reason to laugh and thanks for sharing.


  • This was one of the biggest pieces of foolishness that I’ve read in a long time. It is bereft of facts and in the tone of the day it can be said to be fake news. It is difficult to believe that the writer grew up in Barbados and have so little knowledge of the lore and the institutions in Barbados. There are numerous errors as it appears that this travesty was composed purely for titillation and not information on Barbados.


  • I remember a barbados that was free of crime
    Children playing hop scotch in the street without fear of gang bangers
    Moonlight nites sitting on neighbour steps and laughing at each other jokes
    Bakes and ovaltine as an afternoons snack
    Retired school teachers giving private lessons for five dollars a week
    Churches overflowing with families on Sundays
    Wuh happen to barbados now
    Asking fuh a friend


  • “I remember a barbados that was free of crime”

    @ Mariposa

    Do you mind ‘telling’ the forum what year or duration of time Barbados “was free of crime?”


  • @ Mariposa

    It dep3nds on how you define crime. We always used to steal cane from the passing trucks. But you are right, if you define crime as meaning arrests and prosecutions and convictions. Certainly, back in the day a murder or manslaughter was so exceptional that people recalled them for years after.
    Older people in Carrington Village will tell you of Chickler and Matoe; or in My Lord’s Hill ab out Calvin, an Old Combermerian by the way, who shot the man.
    We have now normalised crime, not to understand its aetiology, to to punish people. Barbados has one of the highest per capita rates of imprisonment in the civilised world and all we do is warehouse working class boys and girls. It is brutal.


  • @Hal

    Barbados has one of the highest per capita rates of imprisonment in the civilised world and all we do is warehouse working class boys and girls. It is brutal.

    Sad isn’t it. Just like in the lousy USA. But in the USA this occurs against the back drop of systematic white supremacy and anti-Black racism.

    What is Barbados’ excuse for the high incarceration rates against their very own poor black boys and girls for the most minor of infractions?? Given that Blacks ostensibly “control” the island our history of slavery should have made us more aware of this problem not more callous to it.

    Yet none of the so called academics, intellectuals or activists call out this vicious system. Makes you wonder about the level of empathy and awareness on the island.

    Barbados Underground has been around for over a decade but I have yet to see a blog on the issue.


  • @ Dullard

    One of my great wishes is that we have a serious debate on BU on important social issues. We have one or two people in Barbados who call themselves criminologists; what they usually mean is that they have degrees in criminology.
    I remember one of our police chiefs got a degree in the subject and the Nation, that citadel of all wisdom, kept calling him a criminologist; I tried to point out he was a police chief with a degree.
    But, to the point, you condemn our so-called academics. They are sad, and so too are many of BU. Sometime ago I tried to connect the pipeline from slavery, to imprisonment to unemployment and the centrality of this to American capitalism. Remember the chain gangs? And one wise guy came on talking nonsense about counting the dead as unemployed.
    What we get in Barbados are a number of police, prosecution authorities and magistrates ( in particular that angry woman) who treat ordinary working class people in exactly the same way whites treat blacks. The only difference is that it is ‘class’.
    In reality it is not. The magistrates and prosecution lawyers and police are all from similar backgrounds, one two or at most three generations away from carpenters, cane cutters, messengers, masons as heads of households.
    There is nothing wrong with that; there is dignity in work. What is disgraceful is trying to deny one’s background on the basis of a degree from UWI.


  • Is it being suggested referring to “a Barbados that was FREE of CRIME” is DEFINED by “arrests, prosecutions and convictions?” Or, on the rare occasion the crimes of murder or manslaughter were committed “back in the day?”

    How then, is crime defined? Is it defined as an act that becomes an unlawful or criminal offense, if it violates an applicable law that is determined by a country?
    Polygamy, for example, is crime in Barbados and any man who violates the law under which having of a plurality of wives is categorized, has essentially committed a criminal offense. It is extremely rare for anyone to be arrested, charged and convicted for the offense here. If we “define crime as meaning arrests and prosecutions and convictions,” is Barbados free of crime…… or free of the crime of polygamy?

    If ‘stealing canes from passing trucks’ was considered a criminal offense, would there be any basis for arrest, prosecution or conviction if the perpetrators were not caught or the activity not reported to the police? Would Barbados have been free of crime?

    In 1933 a man named Seon Hope of St. Andrew, killed 5 people and wounded 5 others. He was arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. Since “back in the day a murder or manslaughter was so exceptional,” would Barbados have been declared free of crime in 1933, if Hope was the only individual arrested, charged and convicted of murder?

    Between 1973 and 1982 will always be remembered as the period of the ‘cane field murders’ and those crimes remain unsolved to this day.
    Because a suspect or suspects was/were not arrested, prosecuted or convicted, means the crimes did not occur and Barbados was crime free during that period?

    Is suggesting “it DEPENDS on how you DEFINE crime” and Mariposa is right, if she “defines crime as meaning arrests and prosecutions and convictions,” not broad, generalized statements that ‘bear no direct relation’ to her comment of remembering “a Barbados that was FREE of CRIME,” and serves to give a fellow ‘wiggle room’ to say B, if someone challenges him by saying A?


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