See that beautiful woman?
Well, that was my grandmother whom everyone affectionately called “mum.” An indigenous Kalinago woman who helped raise me until she passed when i was 10. I’ve missed her so much since then but am so thankful to have had her in my life.
At secondary school, we were told rough things about kalinago people (then called “Caribs”) – they said there were no more on the island yet most evenings, i returned from school to the home of this gentle, loving soul who made the best lentil soup and “smuggled” Shirley biscuits to her then three grandchildren when my step-grandad wasn’t closeby. When two boys in class found out my grandmother was of indigenous heritage they decided to nickname me “Injun Joe” (or “Jo Jo”) from Tom Sawyer book we were reading. ‘Injun Joe’ was – yes, you guessed it – the protagonist’s ‘ethnic’ sidekick. Didn’t take offense then or now, but I understood it meant something and it was some kind of teasing.
Her mum was from Grenada and her lineage traces to a Kalinago queen named “Xie Lor” or “Selah” in Waitukubli (Dominica) referred to by French travelers as “C’est L’or” (it is gold” – yes – ‘it’) and her love for and protectiveness over me was no secret. There was no question in my mind then or now about it. A woman who imprinted on me the habit of decorating as many rooms as possible with fresh flowers and greenery, she was so nurturing everybody who knew her (including grandchildren and grown unrelated adults) called her ‘Mum.” My other grandmother from Trinidad & Tobago called “Mama” was miles and miles away in Canada so this one was my main reference and influence for the cosy kind of love grans are known to shower on their beloved grandchildren.
A contented homemaker who owned 24 or 25 plots of agricultural land on what’s now “the Gold Coast” of Barbados. They were assigned to her by her trusting husband. Years passed and deeds “lost” (somehow blown away by hot air blown from high places) and now 2 plots remain…but that’s a whole other page in the story. Read about it here if you like.
If The Most High moulds me to be even so much as half the gentle, quiet, faithful, enduring and loving soul she was, that would be a blessing from above i’d receive with open hands. Just thought to share these pics i found of her today with y’all.
That’s all for now. See ya and thanks for reading.