Let me tell you how, my first job came about, age 13, well one has to work if one is living on the streets. At the time jobs were easy to get, you go from one job on a Friday and be in a new one by Monday.
well, remember I said I was a clever child with good imagination and being from Jamaica. I knew how to hustle and get by. I guess that’s what helped me to survive the streets. I told the job centre that I was 16 no one questioned this, a job as a chambermaid one who works in a hotel cleaning the rooms and getting it ready for the guests. This was such fun, I would slide down the banister amusing myself, I was use to that. One day I was told to come to the office. I was told they wanted my national insurance number. I had no idea what the lady was talking about. I was working at the Kensington palace hotel. Oh yes that’s where I was.
The lady told me I needed a form called cf109 and I needed to go to the job centre ASAP. As I was not 16 or a school leaver. I knew I couldn’t get this form so instead I went to the job centre and said, “excuse me ma’am, I have been working a while my teacher already filled out the cf109 but I have not received my national insurance number” I was told to visit child’s house in Kensington with this form to obtain my number and to bring the form back to the fifth floor reception. which I have done but I still haven’t received it. well I didn’t go obviously. She gave me a form to fill and stamp and return it to her. I threw it away but noted the number of the form, clever me I remember this day with pride. I felt so clever.
I then returned to the lady downstairs but again changed the story and told the reception. “Excuse me ma’am but the woman you sent me to has told me to collect the number from you she said she has my form I quoted the number of the form. B.I.N.G.O.. I received my first national insurance number in my new name and date of birth at 13 years old. I returned happily to Kensington place hotel to continue my job. I recall taking home 70pounds a week plus tips. Sadly I had no idea what to do with the money, so it went on food and sweets and silly things, clever as I was. I had no teaching from anyone about money. I then worked for Gordon’s dry gin in a factory.
I liked working there but the bottles always piled up and I wasn’t as quick. Then again this was an adults job. I didn’t know anyone but as I have so far spent my days alone I was becoming accustomed to being alone in England. I was earning even more than the first job but I left as I had to be awake every morning at 4am, and as I was living on the streets. I would often awake late and miss the van that collected all the factory workers. but my survival on the streets had begun…little did I know at the time that although I felt alone god was always with me…