I promised to pass on some of the family tales that Mum related to me when I saw her over the New Year. Here are a couple:
Mum’s great-grandfather was a GP in Parham Harbour, on Antigua. He died young and left his wife and children in abject poverty, which was extremely incongruous in the white population of the island at the time. Great-grandmother took to sewing crinoline hoops into dresses to make ends meet and somehow retained her social status and raised her children as a consequence.
Mum also told the tale of a strange journey she made to Jamaica in 1942 when she was only eleven years of age. She was travelling by plane from Antigua to Jamaica to stay with relations when she was put off the plane at Puerto Rico to make room for someone more important – this was wartime and transportation was an uncertain business at the best of times, but for an eleven-year-old girl travelling on her own this was more than a little unfortunate. She was put into an hotel by the airline where she was left alone for a month. She had a vast suite of rooms to herself on an upper floor. Frightened, she would check under her bed every night before going to sleep. She took her meals in the dining room and American GIs would buy her comics to amuse her. She eventually arrived in Jamaica just after her twelfth birthday.