Sunday school became a regular occurrence, I looked forward to meeting the other children. However, not all of them were pleasant, they would tease me and the clothes I wore, they would tease me about everything. They mainly mimic the way I spoke, as I had the strong Jamaican accent. I spoke mainly ‘Jamaican patois, a form of broken English.
The other children would bully me and get me into trouble. There was a man called elder Barnes, all the children were afraid of him but for me he had permission to hit me if I misbehave. This was the password he needed as it seems he would show his authority whenever he could. He made me a nervous wreck. I was told by the lady they called my mother that he was my godfather. I really do not know how that occurred as I had only just met the man at church. I recall he was just as cold as her. He would shout at me and humiliate me in church for no apparent reason. One day one of the children were talking beside me in church, and he marched over to me and yanked me out of the chair. Oh how all the children laughed. I did not open my mouth but what could I do. I was alone in England. I was labelled as “bad Pickney” therefore abuse was my portion and my punishments were great. smack me for any reason and because I was labelled as ‘bad’ for no apparent reasons. Thinking about this whilst writing conjures up many images and today my eyes still fill with tears. I vowed that when I became an adult I would get even with Elder Barnes. At the age of 25 I found out where he lived , but he died before I got a chance to ask him one word “why?
I was bullied for a while by the church children but as the punishment became worse in church some of the children who saw the injustice started to take pity. I became friends with one of the church children whom was of the church sisters and we use to go to her house on Sundays, I use to tell her about my home life and I think she told her mother. Her mother ,sister Brown, was a chubby woman with kind eyes and she treated me well, I wanted to be with her all the time. Occasionally I was left there and she would babysit me.
Happy times were running in and out of the cabbage patch owned by her husband Mr Brown, I was afraid of Mr Brown because of how he looked at me. Whenever he saw me he would hold his front. He would then stick his tongue out and lick his lips at the same time.
I made sure I was never ever alone with him.
I enjoyed playing in the neighborhood with the children on the street. I think they started to like me and the boys thought I was fun because I could do all they could do. I wasn’t the typical girl, this was mainly because of the tough type of upbringing I had in Jamaica. I mean, walking barefoot and doing things the children in UK, had never dreamed of doing. I could play marbles, climb trees, build a catapult. I also taught some of the boys to play GIG. which was a game I liked as simple as it was.
The. idea of this was to carve out a piece of wood like the one in the picture, then use a long piece of cord and wound it around from the bottom to the top until there was no cord left. Then you threw it on the ground while you slightly pulled on the cord, the one whose gig spun the longest was the winner.
These were happy times as I was able to be a child for a while. I had to read the bible everyday and although I didn’t like doing this, I was doing it with two other children so it became fun. As we would try to find the shortest bible verse to read.
I guess I learnt a lot of bible scriptures during that time.