The Little Boy And The Flute

Submitted by Charles Knights

When I was a little boy, about five or six years old in Barbados, to be precise in Brittons Hill. My mother took me to Bridgetown for window shopping at Christmas.

In a shop window at Cave Shepherd I saw a small wooden flute priced at just a couple dollars and was much taken to it.

As my mother and I boarded the bus (the old style open ones) on our way home I continued to pester my mother about how much I wanted the flute.

I kept annoying her and went on and on. Later in the evening with no respite. She grabbed me by the wrist and took me out the back door.

She angrily pointed to the moon and said: “young man that is the moon and if I could give it to you I would but there a some things I just cannot afford.”

I never mentioned that flute again.

I knew my mother was angry because she had gripped my wrist so tightly. There was a lesson I learned at a tender age in Barbados and it has served me well throughout my life.

In life there are some things you cannot “afford” despite the temptations forget them and move on.

If you can be anything be kind.

197 thoughts on “The Little Boy And The Flute

  1. Hal i lived closer to the bay st. Area just a few houses down from Robert lucas
    Brownes beach was my play ground more often than not

  2. There is a “What’s App” allegedly circulating depicting the treatment meted out to black customers vis-à-vis white customers at the “People’s Market”. Blacks are allegedly shown in long lines waiting to enter the establishment through the front entrances. The App also depicts the white entering the establishment through the back entrances. There is no lining up in the latter instance. Apparently the blacks were the recipients of some uncivil language.

    I felt that it was appropriate to list this posting under this particular Blog. It is surprising that none of the contributors to BU has seen it fit to comment on the “What’s App” post. Black Barbadians should learn a lesson from this episode. They should shop at black businesses only. Two months of doing so would result in a change in treatment. Blacks hold the power purchasing power. I shop where ever only at black business places.

  3. @ Mariposa

    I suspected you did. The moment you said your dad was a seaman. Which company?

    @ Robert

    Why am I not surprised at your post. Sometime ago I said there was a food crisis coming and government should take charge and control the distribution of food. It is for this very reason that I said that. If government does not, the supermarket owners will discriminate in the distribution.
    Yet, when I said that, one of the village idiots came on and said that government knew nothing about food distribution. It is the Bajan Condition.
    @ Robert, let us take it a little further. Life is about ethical choices and at some point (although I hope not) doctors will be asked to make a decision about who should live and who should die.
    Will these decisions be made on the ground of race, age, gender, sexuality, occupation, etc? Who decides? Doctors will tell you that they ought to be the ones, and their decisions will be based on practice-based evidence. In other words, they have the clinical expertise to make life or death decisions.
    Now is the time to raise these issues and we must. We have already normalised a trick by doctors when a patient goes in to hospital for surgery doctors wait until the patient is in the surgery, waiting to under aesthetic, to ask them to sign a legal disclaimer.
    One tried that with me once and I said no. I had to read the fine print first. They went berserk.
    @Robert, do like me, appoint someone with authority to make decision as your medical power of attorney.

    • @Dr. Lucas

      We know there have been several voice notes circulated that have been proved to be false.

  4. @ David April 5, 2020 9:42 AM

    Are you doubting the veracity of the “What’s App?” I know that a lot of fake news circulate on the Web. This is Barbados, a country where Apartheid is the norm. It is the Barbadian condition to overlook the situation and act as though it doesn’t exist.. Albeit ,blacks have the power to change things. They have to first of all get rid of the black conniving leaders who sell out.

  5. Hal i couldnt tell u which company
    I was about 8 years old so looking into that part of his job wouldnt have been of much interest but i think there was a shipping company close to parliament where they signed up

  6. @ Mariposa

    Down the Wharf, It is now the immigration department. I will have a go at the line he worked for. How long did he go away for? Did he fly out for his ship or got it in the port or Carlisle Bay? Which countries did he talk about visiting?
    Answer those questions and I will have a go.
    Where did you live in relation to Martineau’s drinks factory?

    • Upon my return to Barbados some years ago I was very much into spending my money with black own businesses, I soon gave it up as I encountered the shitty attitude of my black brothers and sisters, mostly the black women working at these establishments towards their own. On many occasions These people sent me back home almost in tears at the way they treated their black customers versus the whites, Indians and an assortment of yellow skin people.Before some schmuck or Silly woman chimes in, I made sure to be polite and behaved the perfect gentlemen. I’ll tell you lot a secret, if AC and her cohort Hal Austin believe I hated my father, wunna doan no my feeling toward wunna for being like this to your fellow black Bajans.

  7. Hal i dont think he flew out also i heard him mention curaco
    close to bay street aprox near to dr, scott hospital
    almost two years out to sea

  8. Whitehill it is not what you say but the message your attitude sends you called your father a knuckle head
    do you think that is a compliment or a loving gesture towards your dad
    i think you were clear in your words and messages sent whether u want to sanitize your words after uttering them is entirely up to you
    however your words and in some instances describing you father were not words that you demonstrate any respect for him or any love

  9. I thought the building that housed the Immigration Dept. was the former home of the Customs Dept. I think that seamen received their assignments through the Shipping Office which was located in one of the buildings near the old Customs building. The then Shipping Office was part of the Port Dept. with an office in the compound of the Deep Water harbour.

    • @Donna, what if because on those occasions when I was stopped by white cops and they treated me in a professional manner, am I now to declare that “:Black lives matter” is rubbish because of my experiences? Are you sure you’re not taking a jab at me because I alluded to my bad experiences being at the hands of black Bajan women? I’ll have you know, this not all about me, I have stood in lines behind others and witnessed the better treatment meted to those of non African ancestry, only to see the blacks ahead of me being treated like shit by their own. Look, a few months ago an on-line news paper in its editorial pointed out the treatment of black bajans versus that of the white tourist by Customs at the airport. This paper was doing a piece on Liat’s treatment versus the overseas carriers by the various share holders governments. I’ll have you know Miss Donna, before I open my mouth, punch a key I’d would have looked at over ten years of collected material on this matter. If you and other black Bajan women want to deny these things, come hang out with me for a while, bring Silly Woman with you. Oh, when I complained to Bajans like you about what goes on at the airport,” dah in nuh true, yuh tellen lie pun dum.’

  10. Sargeant

    For years the office that shipped out seamen from down the Wharf. It is now, or until recently was, the immigration department. I am sure for the few remaining seamen there is a new office. I do not know where it is. Remember, we are talking of @Mariposa’s father time, so that would have been the place.


    Most probably he worked on an oil tanker. Which was very rare for a Bajan. That he was out for two years etc suggest that, and visiting Curacao. He was not on the usual English or US ship.
    You came from the seamen’s epicentre. In the old days ships came in to Carlisle Bay and boys from Bay Land would sail out to the ships looking for work. Many very lucky.
    It is a history that should have been written up. Years ago I suggested Herbert House in Fontabelle should be the Museum of seafaring/immigrant Barbadians. They turned it in to something about cricket.
    Ironically, the London Transport Museum has a better history of workers recruited from Barbados than the Barbadians.

  11. DavidApril 4, 2020 7:11 PM

    There are many stories of that era of domestic abuse, incest and other undesirable and abnormal behaviors in the household that were ignored because the man was the sole breadwinner. It was not all a bed of roses as some here making out.


    My grandmother told me about such instances, complete with names. She said it was not so uncommon in those days for some fathers to say that they were not fattening pigs for somebody else to sample first or something of that sort. The mothers were mainly under the thumb of the man. They sat by and said nothing.

    I wonder if daughters of such parents should be berated for lack of respect for them. It would be in their best interest to let go of any hatred but respect is another matter. Anyone who judges them obviously does not understand childhood trauma and its effects.

    Bajans, even the overseas ones, have a damaging habit of always assuming that a parent is right and judging their offspring when they treat them as they deserve. The children then get hit with a double whammy – the rejection of the parents AND the rejection of society.

    How about the parents, mainly mothers, who rent out their children for sex with strangers? I know of some of those cases. What kind of person would berate such offspring for being bitter and hateful to that parent? The betrayed offspring would need help to heal from such trauma even into adulthood.

    It amazes me that supposedly intelligent people still seem to be lacking in the understanding of the trauma of child abuse. Physical injury they understand needs active treatment but psychological damage one should just suck up and get over it. But physical damage is often easier to treat and to heal. This attitude is why many people keep their pain to themselves and suffer in silence. The stigma is why they do not seek treatment and carry the damage all through their lives.

    When one sees a person who does not respect their parents it is best to first ask a question – WHY! Sometimes there is a very good reason.

    And don’t go quoting me any Bible verses because I will simply tell you, “Easier said than done!”

    Such unfortunate ones need our help not our condemnation. We need to help them to heal and then the bitterness and hatred will go away.

  12. Before I was made aware of the voice note when Lawson was berating me for my three month food storage, I thought of his fellow white Barbadians and figured they were having their shares hoarded by the businesses and probably delivered. Never thought they would walk through the back door in broad daylight. What I am wondering though is where is the video to go along with the voice note. This is what makes me suspicious. Why no video?????

  13. “they were not fattening pigs for somebody else to sample first or something of that sort.”.

    Many abhorrent practices were covered were slick phrases. When a hardback predator was after a very young girl he would excuse it with the phrase “Little pilchards have big eyes:”.

    Some bloggers live in an ideal world, but every now then along comes a blogger who pierces their balloon of fiction.

  14. @Hants

    This is like living in a science fiction movie where a virus that can kill you is lurking to be spread by a handshake, a cough or a visit to anywhere.

    If you must go out wear a mask

    Stay safe

  15. obert lucasApril 5, 2020 9:59 AM

    @ David April 5, 2020 9:42 AM

    Are you doubting the veracity of the “What’s App?” I know that a lot of fake news circulate on the Web. This is Barbados, a country where Apartheid is the norm. It is the Barbadian condition to overlook the situation and act as though it doesn’t exist.. Albeit ,blacks have the power to change things. They have to first of all get rid of the black conniving leaders who sell out.

    If the black people still stood in the sun in the lines after that staked out like sheep they deserve to wait until the humans get fed. If I had been so foolish to be in that line I would have cussed their rasses and gone home to eat whatever i had in my cupboard. I shop at black owned businesses for my food and often at the village shop and mini mart for certain items. And I have only had one instance where I was treated in a manner that i did not like. I made a complaint. Still shop there. All the staff know me and ask for my son. I walk about the store eating their snack eating as I am usually hungry when I go out. Not a boy questions me. I present the package for payment on the way out. I leave items at the desk and retrieve them without question. I report spoilt goods and have them replaced without question. Excellent service. But nobody or business is perfect.

    Don’t know where these people are that made Whitehill cry. Where the hell that is that he shopping? He needs to come up my side.

  16. @whiteHill April 4, 2020 6:25 PM :…I was chatting with a black bajan woman sometime ago, she said to me: one of the good things about slavery is that we blacks got to know Jesus Christ.”

    I hope that you told that idiot that there was nothing good about slavery, and that if Jesus Christ wanted to know us he knew exactly where we were being held in inhumane bondage.

  17. Hal
    Thanks for bringing me a little closer into my father’s livelihood
    My mom was domesticated housewife never had to work outside the home and gave the appearance of contentment
    Therefore i never questioned much details about my father
    But by all accounts he was a good provider and father
    His years in England never gave us or my mother a thought of him abandoning the family and he did not
    So yes i can say i felt rich emotionally as a child a richness that few children can boast of

  18. @ robert lucas April 4, 2020 3:27 PM “Miss Sealy used to sell just before one reached the arsenal with the tower. Corned beef cutters were eight cents. She also sold souse cutters, pear cutters and ham cutters. The going rate was eight cents. She also sold egg cutters. ”

    Thanks robert. A rea-real education in Bajan folkways. I must admit that I had never heard of souse cutters, But at my rural school the vendor sold pear cutters. Freshly baked salt bread and a quarter of a pear. Heaven. I still love pear, I planted a tree for that reason, it is in bloom now for the 16th year running and I am looking forward to October to December when i can have a pear cutter whenever I felt like it.

  19. Whitehill,

    Chill out, man! I am not questioning your experience. I said that I have not experienced it up my side. That’s why I said you should shop up by me.

  20. Sigh…. Whitehill, at least by now you should know that I know that all people are not the same. There are some stupid ones and some smart ones. Or some free blacks and some mentally enslaved blacks to be more accurate.

    When you interpret one of my comments as being lacking in common sense, take a deep breath and read again. And without your instinctive defensive stance. Then, if you still have questions, ask me for clarification. That will save you some unnecessary annoyance, I’m sure.

  21. @whiteHill April 4, 2020 5:19 PM “I thought you’d have gone after the profanity, I’m disappointed. I’ll await Silly woman’s response.”

    Even though I taught Sunday School for several years of my life, and even though my mother was a church army captain. And even though I still go to church most Sundays, I still managed to learn every curse single word in the English language. Lolll!!! Nope. I was raised in a rural village, not in a convent. I subsequently studied English at at elite university. I love language. Even curse words. It is not for me to stop the cussing. I leave any censorship up to the blog master. I don’t much believe in censorship. When my Little Johnny was 14 he went on a school exchange to Martinique, proudly learned every French curse word. Went the next year to Guadaloupe, greatly improved his French cuss word vocabulary. So achieved native fluency in English and French cussing. Managed to pass A’level French too.

    I am sorry that you were “beaten to within an inch of your life” for riding your home made scooter. Some parents are cruel. Not all. Glad that you were better with your daughters.

  22. @whiteHill April 5, 2020 3:40 PM “@Silly Woman, where have you been? What makes you think I let the knuckle head off easily?”

    Still here. Still well. Glad to hear that you did not let the knuckle head off easily.

    People really need to THINK. The old people had a saying.

    Head int just fah hat.

    We all need to use our heads to think.

  23. Silly Woman,

    Told my son long ago that cuss words are meant to be used when you feel like being violent. A good cuss word often can substitute for that. Now he is growing up and challenging me, often about the slightest thing, I sometimes feel like knocking his block off because his arguments sometimes make no sense and it takes him a while and some threats to listen to reason. I think it is the silliness of his arguments that irritates me most. That happens when he just stubbornly digs in his heels like his father does when we both know that he is wrong. Reminds me of BU John and his obviously idiotic defence of the very stable genius. I couldn’t help but appreciate a well-reasoned argument. It would probably stop me dead in my tracks because so often in life I hear the other kind. Told my sister-in-law just this morning that my mouth is getting dirty and she said it is not like me. But sometimes I have to let out a word to stop myself from something worse.

    Besides, who really decides what is a cuss word and why are they cuss words?” I personally don’t like the ones with sexual overtones because they imply that sex is dirty. But I admit that i have let one of those slip too on more than one occasion. Still, if it saves a physical event….

    PS. Garden going well. Planting carrots today.

  24. @ Donna
    “ Bajans, even the overseas ones,…….“
    Amazing how there is a Bajan and then “ even the overseas ones”.
    It’s obvious that this anti-overseas sentiment of exclusion of born and bred Barbadians living outside the country has taken root on BU.

  25. @ Hal
    I think the association that represented seamen also occupied an office in the former BWU headquarters on the corner of Fairchild and Nelson Streets. Seamen also came from Brittons Hill. There is a gap called Seamans Village in Brittons Hill.

  26. Hal u are right i talked to a family member and they confirmed what u told said also that the company was Dutch

  27. @ Hal
    @ Mariposa

    There were two popular shipping lines on which Barbadians worked. I think one was called the Harrison Line. I can’t recall the other one .
    Many Barbadians worked in Curaçao. I may be wrong but I think it had something to do with the oil industry.

  28. William Skinner,

    It seems like I have to tell you just what I told Whitehill. Your defensive stance is unnecessary. You were not under attack by virtue of your emigration. What I meant was that it is a Bajan trait to believe that parents are always right and that children are always wrong and that even the overseas Bajans still carry that trait even in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

  29. By the way Skinner, if you were constantly being denigrated by some BU commenters who have left the island because you “live on a 2 x 2 rock “, what would your attitude be?

    Politicians are corrupt EVERYWHERE. People sit and take it EVERYWHERE until it reaches the point where they can’t take it anymore. For the most part people get on with their lives as best they can. What percentage of eligible voters even vote in the USA? MANY MANY AMERICANS are as disengaged, dispirited and disenfranchised as we are with politicians. This is so WORLDWIDE. There is nothing special about Barbados or Barbadians in that regard.

    America’s health care system is a mess UNLESS YOU HAVE MONEY. Their educational system is a mess. Their infrastructure needs a serious upgrade and yet we are to believe that only Barbados is a shithole country and we are shithole dwellers.

    This corona virus crisis has exposed just how great those countries are. I could not believe that they could be overwhelmed by the numbers of patients I see in the critical care column. I mean, really??????!!!!!! And the peak has not even come yet!

  30. @ Donna
    The statement meant Bajans whether we live overseas or in the country .Hence to have said Bajans full stop would have conveyed the same message.
    As for being “defensive”; there is nothing to defend on either side. I made a simple observation.

  31. No, William. They claim that we are unable to think and are suffering from some Bajan condition which apparently is not suffered by enlightened Bajans who live overseas. Yet they exhibit the same symptoms. Backward! Don’t with people who do not respect their parents. Do not even ask why they do not respect their parents. i make no apology for my distinction. It was relevant. Where’s the enlightenment that comes when one leaves the 2 x 3 rock??????

    Perhaps you should make some more observations. With the other eye.

  32. @ Donna
    Perhaps I did not expect you to join such commenters on either side. I have never referred to anybody living any where in the Caribbean as living on a 2x 2 island. I don’t need any lecture on the shortcomings of the USA , England or Canada. I know that my country and region are far ahead of them in many areas. I knew this before I step foot in any one of them.
    Those who engage in such nonsense on either side are being puerile. I read all of your submissions and enjoy them. I will never berate the land of my birth. I will never berate the region. Never allow others to draw you into their mud.

  33. @ Donna
    On another note. We need to accept that not everybody gets over poverty. Childhood is both magical and tough. Those who blame their parents need our empathy-they are not as strong as those who were able to grasp that their parents did the best they could. It’s so in every facet of our existence. Some recover from bad marriages others do not; some from business failures others do not and so it goes.
    Some get over unnecessary beatings others don’t.
    I agree with you that many Barbadians hate to even suggest their parents were not always right. That being said I would find it very difficult to understand any parent in this age acting like many did in the 40s 50s and to some degree in the 60s. We need tougher laws to protect children , women and our elders from all forms of abuse .
    I once write a short story about a Barbadian, who returned from England . He was staying at a hotel. He took his English wife and children to see their grandmother. His mother was living in abject poverty. The house wasn’t much. She had some fowls in the yard and the children were attracted to them. When they were about to leave, one of the kids said: “ Dad we like it here . Can we stay with grandma? “ It was the fascination with the house; the chickens and so on.
    Childhood can be magical.

  34. William Skinner

    I am not in any mud just because I point something out. I join on the side of truth and the truth is I am damn tired of those people whose sole aim seems to be to come here every damn day and call us idiots and attempt to dress it up as concern for our well being. There are ways to point out what is wrong in Barbados and what needs to be done. There are ways to motivate Barbadians to do better. Calling Barbadians idiots who live on a rock is not one of them One would have thought that enlightenment would have taught them that! Ain’t nobody listening to somebody who insults them first. NOBODY responds well to being called an idiot! There is automatic shutdown. If you have a problem with my pointing such out then that is your problem and you are welcome to keep it but you shall not define my behaviour for me, neither shall you direct it.

    PS. There was no lecture intended for you. I was pointing out why their constant denigration annoys me. Is like they think we live under the rock and have no idea what goes on where they live. Who the hell do they think they are fooling????? It is like John when he defends the indefensible Trump as though we didn’t hear what he said with our own ears. Sometimes you just have to call them out!

    Ain’t nobody calling out DPD. He does not have that attitude. Ain’t nobody calling out TheOGazerts. He does not have that attitude. Yet they both criticize as they see fit and though I do not always agree and we may have our tiffs they are not offensive and one can actually believe that they care about Barbados and Barbadians.

  35. @ Donna
    You would know for whom your comments were intended. It’s very puzzling why as Bajans that we should have to interject such into debates or discussions on either side. Your position is now extremely clear to me. We all react to things differently.
    I never cease to tell my friends back home how fortunate they are to have never had to step foot in any of these big countries outside of a vacation.
    I got on a plane but I never left Bim. I read the full nation news first thing on mornings; Barbados today and listen to the radio stations. Quite frankly sometimes I have to remind myself in conversation that I am actually somewhere else. I can only hope there are many like me.
    Born in Barbados a proud citizen of the Caribbean Nation!

  36. The Shipping Office where the seamen signed up was located in a nondescript two- story building on the road next to the Wharf if one was travelling towards the old Customs building. On the ground floor of that building the seamen filled their allotment papers (the allotment specified how much money would be taken from their pay to provide for their wives/girlfriends or other relatives on a monthly basis) while they were working on the ship. These funds were usually paid in the same office to the recipient as remitted by the merchant line one of which was Harrison as stated earlier. That Office came under the Supervision of the then Port Dept.

    BTW I think Seaman’s Village is located near Dalkeith Hill/Culloden Road area.

  37. @ Sargeant
    Seamans Village is located at the top of the Hill known as Dalkeith. It actually starts there and at the top of the Village you turn right and end up on Brittons Cross Road. This means you can actually enter the Village from Brittons Cross Road as well.

  38. @ Silly Woman April 5, 2020 3:38 PM

    ” I am looking forward to October to December when i can have a pear cutter whenever I felt like it.”

    The variety of Avocado (Persea americana) you have seems to be the Lula. When I was at Soil conservation, the idea was the extension of the fruiting period of avocado to span most of the year. I imported the Lula either from Florida or California ( most likely California since Avocado is big there). It bears fruit around the time you indicated. The other varieties that are grown locally are the Pollock and Simmonds which are very large. They produce fruit June September.’

    That was first time I came across a souse cutter and also, a steam pudding cutter. Miss Sealy. was very inventive.

  39. @ Mr. Skinner

    Seaman’s Village is now ‘one way,’ ………. you can exit onto Brittons Cross Road, but you can’t enter the village from that end.

  40. i am in agreement with Whitehill here. we knew no better and we are glamorising or rather looking back nostalgically about a time when we were innocent and comparing our present position with where we are now and somehow favourably marrying the two. correlation does not equal causation. what i mean is- where you are now and what you are now are not necessarily because of where you came from. it may be but not necessarily.

    those days were bad. parents for the most part wanted the best for their children but they were bad at articulating and showing it. few were talkers / explainers and most were beaters. i got licks from my mother and teachers and like Hal said a slap as a first former at Cawmere.

    i hated my mother for it and when i was 11 i told her never to hit me again, that it was disrespectful, that she should talk to me or i will hate her forever. she stopped. we became best friends and i took care of her in her middle and old age primarily becos of that one converstaion and her reaction to it. as i got older she told me about her anger and how it messed up her life- her anger was sexual interference from her sister’s husband and when she told her sister, the sister cursed her.

    at primary school, a teacher asked one morning who sharpened their pencil this morning. i put up my hand having sharpened my pencil that morning at home. i was beaten by the teacher with a ruler as she pointed on the floor and said clean it up. i told her i sharpened my pencil at home and she hit me again. to this day i am still angry at that. how could a teacher do that not having explained herself properly

    when i got slapped at Cawmere i marked the guy in my mind for revenge. he is quite lucky i left Bim so soon or i would have exacted revenge if i did see him again.

    in my adulthood i have talked about this a lot and it is only then that people tell you about their experience. incest and sexual interference is a well kept or perhaps no so well kept a secret in Bim. many girls are exploited by fathers, step fathers and mother’s boyfriends. some boys too. many parents openly favour one child for whatever reason over the rest of their children. and so from those experiences many grow up angry and bitter. in addition many children grow up in homes never hearing i love you from a parent having been beaten for silly reasons by parents who never got over their own troubled childhood. and the cycle continues. so there i agree with Whitehill

    where i agree with Hal is that some children for whatever reason strive. what i believe happens is that those children if they encountered what i described above somehow came to grips with their childhood and either forgive their parents or their circumstances, recognise those time for what they were (parents knew no better and did the best they could) or they have completely blanked out the bad times and focused on the good.

    of course some parents were v good and turned out some well adjusted and some mal adjusted children. it is one of those things. correlation does not equal causation. there i am in agreement with Hal

    in my own experience because i read so much and far and wide i came across a book that posited that you are your childhood. that most angst, ill and good feelings you experience in adulthood emanated from your childhood. some people make peace with their experiences and move on to be better adults. those who do not are left bitter and often repeat said mistakes with their children, if they live that long.

    that book caused me to reflect and one day when i returned to Bim on a trip i sat down and had a long chat with my mother and she talked about her experiences and how it troubled her her entire life. it was in short revealing and cleansing for her to tell someone. but it was also burdensome and weighty to hear that from one’s parent.

    the thing is tho as i have traveled and worked around the globe the said same very thing happens almost every where especially in my experience in the UK. the human being is a piece of work, man

    • Just a few days ago I tried to present the truth to you Bajans, got my ass handed to me. Over a decade back here I know why it was so and will always be. I’m glad Greene mentioned a few others things occurring then, had I done so, hell, I’m sure I would have heard that old refrain, Wheh yuh doan guh lung back then.” So many people from my Era and before have made it their life’s quest not to perpetrate upon their children what they been through, I’m no different, but was branded a father hater and a bitter person. What’s troubling is that some seems to equate the slaps upside one’s head at school by class mates with the same as at home and school..Some fool erroneously assumed because I refereed to my father as a knucklehead this is the sum total of my respect for him, I’ll have you bajans knuckleheads know that I called him a knucklehead to his face a short time before his death. Why, had he returned the papers to me when I wanted to bring him or at least make him a legal residence of the USA, at the time of his illness I would’ve been able to get him out to pursue medical options as Santia Bradshaw did. Today after many years I’m awaiting the resolution of a certain legal procedure to get my over $10k back from his burial. Before that as a single man as his end was near I changed many diapers for him, even had to assist him in pissing straight less he made a mess. Now tell me, is that the actions of a bitter father hater…fucking knuckleheads.

  41. @ Greene
    Well said. I recall teachers Bering the entire class because nobody owned up or snitched to some infraction.
    You were extremely fortunate to have had that level of conversation with your Mom.
    I will never glamorize the so-called good days. They were very rough in many ways. I did all the things we all did as boys but I never and will never try to ignore or make anything about poverty pleasant.
    Whitehill opened a can of worms and I respect him for it.
    The beautiful thing about children is that they see beauty in all things. But at some point we grow up. And then we realise that it could have been much worse or much better.
    And the reflection begins…….

  42. Greene
    What a painful story .the part of the cruelty of some teachers brought a little bit of reality home
    In todays society most of those teachers would not make the grade
    Also most of them were brought up in homes were the teaching of spare not the rod the biblical teaching was a most welcomed tool to keep children in check
    Memories like those are indeed hard to forget
    I do understand your feelings and i take note that you haven’t used your anguish to put lashes on any one whose experiences were different
    I would agree that some teachers back then were brutal

  43. @ Greene

    Back in the 1970s, there was a thing about false childhood memories out of which psychologists were making a lot of money and people, many no doubt innocent, faced prosecution for these bogus memories.
    At school, we sat in what is now called whole of class and in alphabetical order, all facing the teacher and the black board, with the As by the door. The detention book was kept in the Major’s office.
    Our Latin master, Livy Greaves, asked me on one occasion to go and get the detention book; nothing to do with me, but I sat by the door. When I walked in to the Major’s office, he looked up, said Austin, and asked me to bend over. I got six of the best, despite my protestations. I was a victim of my own reputation. I was very angry at the time.
    A few years ago I gave an address to the Old Scholars association (UK) and told them about that. It puts a smile on my face now. Our parents’ generation was not a cohort of child psychologists. They had a basic idea of parenting: behave, be seen and not heard, be polite, learn at school, keep out of trouble, eat what is put in front of you.
    Neuropsychologists now tell us that changes take place in teenagers brains (see Sarah-Jane Blakemore) which account for their anger. But they grow out of it.
    All the old parenting concepts were sound principles, many of which are still with me. I dislike children addressing adults by their first names; I dislike children who swear in front of their parents; I dislike people who routinely get drunk and misbehave; and I have high respect for the church.
    I believe people who grow up disrespecting their parents have deeper problems than so-called bad parenting. Criminal behaviour has nothing to do with parenting. It is criminal and should be dealt with as such.

  44. @ William

    You are right. Seamen came from all over Barbados, but they were concentrated in St Michael, and particularly in Bayland. The other shipping line along with Harrison was Cunard. It was not by accident that Sir Garry’s father was a seaman. I believe one of his brothers also went to sea.
    In my youth the Bayland was known for its seamen and horse grooms and leading BCL cricketers., such as Vinnie Brewster. Brittons Hill was another hot spot, Carrington Village also had a number.
    Many seamen also worked up the Gulf, on bauxite boats, sailing from Jamaica and Guyana, many flew out to work on Blue Star line, and others caught all kinds of other ships. It seems we have lost that memory.
    Curacao and Aruba were great attractions for a generation of Barbadian men, not only seamen, many of them trained engineers. It was indeed the oil industry that attracted them.

    • Interesting…one having respect for the church. The bloody churches were constructed by our enslaved ancestors. Jesus H Christ, Silly woman, do you recalled my stating of having this conversation with a black Bajan woman who boastfully declared that the great thing about slavery was that we got to know Jesus. Do you recalled to whom I alluded this woman being a sibling of? You think this fool woman meant that Spanish fellow Jesus Alvarez?

  45. @ Mariposa

    Hal u are right i talked to a family member and they confirmed what u told said also that the company was Dutch (Quote)

    Thanks. Tell you a little trick. We say more about ourselves through our actions and conversations than we imagine. It is not rocket science. This is what Google logarithms are based on. I have talked before about Bajan accents, in particular St Philip and St Lucy. These are now fading.
    The social geography of London,, despite 8 million people, is really a series of small villages. In the 1950s/60s Caribbean people settled in little clusters. Once you knew the clusters you knew the communities. The same for the white communities. Jews in East London, then Stoke Newington, then Golders Green, etc. The Welsh in West London.
    Once as reporter I was out on patrol with the Flying Squad, the team of Scotland Yard detectives who specialised in bank robberies., when they arrested a young black man and we were heading to his home in East London.
    All the way on the journey he was talking his head off; at one point I asked him which part of St Lucia his parents came from. He sat up. I knew he was too young (about in his 20s) to be born in the Caribbean, but I also knew that that part of East London had a large St Lucian population (the other was in Maida Vale, West London). It was an informed guess. He kept quiet after that.

  46. Whitehill
    You are free to sanitize your words about your Father which u made in your earlier postings
    In this last post it is clear that over the years your father discomforts brought you closer to him and which u many moments of sympathy and compassion towards him
    Your last comment indulges the reader to see and to feel those moments from your heart mind soul as a form of surrender allowing you to discard and disregard the pain your father had caused u in your childhood
    Yes i am glad that you have shared this (yourself) a man whose changed of heart was one of forgiveness and kindness towards your father
    Remember it is not what u say but how u say it

  47. @ David of BU, now I know how you must feel. there you’re trying your darnest to bring enlightenment and a medium by which folks can have a voice and a schmuck, hard headed one at that. Ok. off to listen to Desiderata

  48. Whitehill
    Are u ashamed of your feelings
    You related many different feelings towards your father
    In your last comment i compliment your kindness towards your father and you lash out at me
    Now what more can i say
    I give up
    Have a nice day

  49. Wuhlaus! Whitehill has done something here that nobody else has ever done! He made Mariposa give up!!!!!!

    • @Donna, let me tell you something, I follow BU every day even though I don’t contribute nearly as often as I would like. There was a time I felt David was a little harsh on her…not anymore.I sent her that poem, Desiderata,only because it speaks to the Dull and Ignorant also having their say. Maybe David will do a piece on me for my having accomplished what he was incapable of doing.

  50. Favouring one child over the other is the cause of much discord in families and leaves a deep scar on the child who is not favoured. But it also does damage to the child who is favoured because he/she begins to expect favour from others outside of the household and is mighty surprised when he/she does not get it.

    Greene is facing things as they are. Many damaged psyches walking around trying to look normal. People at my former workplace always used to tell me that I try to find excuses for bad behaviour. I told them that looking for REASONS is not looking for excuses. If you know what ails a person one can often figure out how to handle them. Besides, I too had my behavioural quirks that needed to be understood. A little bit of understanding could have adjusted them sooner.

    A proper performance management system seeks, in the first instance, to offer help to employees and bring them up to scratch. Professional counselling is a vital part of that system. Many employees are carrying weights that hinder their job performance.

    Of course there are also many square pegs in round holes who would be better off finding their square hole. The performance management system should also assist with that. Better outcome for all concerned.

    I think Barbados is in dire need of proper performance management systems. Productivity would surely increase by leaps and bounds.

  51. @Donna

    you will be surprised or maybe not at the number of people walking around with childhood baggage. those who can afford it end up on a psychologist’s couch and those who cant end up in the rum shop, prison or both.

    people, bajans, need to talk about and express their traumas

  52. @ Greene

    In life there are successes and failures. We must be sympathetic with the failures and extend a helping hand, and celebrate the successes. Those who have lifelong psychological baggage on their shoulders should seek counselling.
    That is why I think we should celebrate Keith Sandiford, the outstanding Barbadian historian of his generation; he should become Sir Keith. We overlooked Kamau, in fact we treated him badly. We should not do the same with Keith Sandiford.

  53. Wuhloss i give a person compliments and they get angry
    Wuh loss dam if u do dam if u dont
    See the difference between you and me is i don’t take things personal
    I have grown with an understanding that all are different
    Be it for the grace of God the rain falls on the just as well us on the unjust until God decides differently
    Feeling sorry for myself has never been apart of vocabulary
    Look at u your are so supersensitive that even a heartfelt compliment annoys your sense of being
    Drop the pity party attitude and u might see the light which beacons u at the end of the tunnel
    Been through much in my adult life at the hands of adults some insults thrown at me here at BU
    As i tell people here i went to stanpipe school and graduate at the University of Hatd knocks nothing know one says or do can disturb my sense of being cause at the end of the day it is what it is and i have to remain standing tall

  54. <

    Charles Knights commented on Diaspora Corner

    May I politely add a Postscript to The Little Boy Who Wanted The Flute.
    My mother’s decision did not harm me in any way. Neither was any harm later caused to my own family.

    I loved my mother dearly throughout her life.

    Both of my children have followed their chosen professions, having successfully graduated from University. They are both married and settled with their own families.

    To end on a musical note where it started. All (3) of my grandchildren play musical instruments to a good standard. My eldest is so proficient that last year he did a successful tour of America, which was well acclaimed.

    This year he was due to perform in Belgium and later Austria but Corona Virus has put that on pause.
    As far as behaviour is concerned I was never in trouble with the Law in Barbados, Canada, America, Germany, UK or other countries I have lived in or visited.

    Even in the Army I was never charged with a misdemeanor during my years of service.

    I have been happily married to the same woman for more than fifty two (52) years.
    When I was placed in a position to make important decisions over others, I was at peace with myself.
    These days I enjoy my retirement and the gardening which keeps me busy.

    I have enjoyed reading “all” the comments they have been insightful.

    If you can be anything in life just be kind.

  55. I don’t think anyone was under the impression that the writer felt anything other than what he just said. It was Whitehill who expressed a different feeling according to his experience.

  56. @Skinner and all, all quite passionate and persuasive commentary above. Good stuff.

    But the overriding thrust made by @Donna re “There is nothing special about Barbados or Barbadians in that regard” in context of bad parenting/good parenting and all other evil/good is crucial…. In EVERY regard that can apply to all debates here and thus I also often feel her anger re the abject hypocrisy.

    We must be able to say strongly as an example ‘John, on this point you are talking ish’ but yet respect his views on another matter and speak to each other without puerile responses in ALL instances.

    It is the most astonishing aspectsof human hypocrisy to read the post of ANY blogger where he says one thing as a principle and then in instance after instance of practical posting diabuses the same principle he heralds.

    A few days ago two bloggers made remarks about MP Symmonds. They mused aloud how a guy who allegedly committed terrible domestic abuse and basically wore it as a badge of honour could still be elected to Parlisment?

    Yet to Donna’s point: one of said bloggers who found that so egregious supports a man who talks about the joys of harassing women; harassed a physically disabled man in a disgusting public display and has done considerably more heinous things than that of MP Symmonds… yet there is some special Bajan condition!

    I have done no research on child sexual abuse in Bim to make comparisons but based on the pervasive sex trafficking of children and overall dysfunction of family environments across the globe I do not perceive that our island stands out in any metric related to bad parenting or sex with minors .. yes we have our problems but it’s likely no more profound than in the UK or Canada or US now or frankly years previously as the episodes above note.

    And as was aptly summarized again by the blogger Donna “This corona virus crisis has exposed just how great those countries are. I could not believe that they could be overwhelmed by the numbers of patients I see in the critical care column.”

    We all have our conditions of incompetency and hubris!

  57. Strange we never mentioned another form of child abuse:
    Little primary school children lined up by the side of the road in hot broiling sun awaiting on a white car to drive past and a white woman waving a white glove. Imagine the children dressed in khaki and the sun hot hot hot.
    That too is abuse!

  58. @robert lucas April 6, 2020 12:45 AM @ Silly Woman April 5, 2020 3:38 PM “The variety of Avocado (Persea americana) you have seems to be the Lula. When I was at Soil conservation, the idea was the extension of the fruiting period of avocado to span most of the year. I imported the Lula either from Florida or California ( most likely California since Avocado is big there). It bears fruit around the time you indicated.”

    Thank you for the good work which you did while at the Soil. My aunt before she passed planted the tree for me in the late 90’s, from a seed of a tree which was in her yard. I know that this is not the scientific way but never the less after a few years it started to bear. Of course the fruit are not exactly like auntie’s but they are quite large, depending on rainfall, and delicious. The tree is large and produces hundreds. It is in bloom now, many blossoms so I am hopeful. I water it a bit on evenings when it is very dry as it is now. In my area we have not had any rain at all for about 10 to 12 days now.

    I’ve planted 25 holes of okras at home, and I have to give them a bit of water on these evenings too. They are coming along nicely

    I have not been going to the “plantation” ie. the bigger garden some distance from my home because my gardening buddy has a medical professional in the house and as we travel together we are keeping our physical distance at present. We had only planted cassava which I expect will survive the drought, and the monkeys too, I hope.

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