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Memories of my Childhood in Phoenix Leguan December 1, 2010

Filed under: Leguan,Nostalgia,Phoenix — Leguanite @ 6:28 pm
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Leguan schoolgirl in uniform

I went home last year man and I took the big steamer to Leguan. I am afraid of dem lil ting de call speed boat.  De go too fas fuh me and I kiant swim yuh know. Anyway, when I lan pun de Island me taxi was waiting fuh me.  I tink he is one of Silas sons, yuh know Silas the Black man dat had a little night club (grocery store and rum shop) in Louisiana near papa Austin and Mrs. Barka, he was dere waiting fuh me. He only came because me cousin, James Garden son, Claudie, sen him.  It was a flying visit because when we touch down, the ship captain or somebody dere announced dat the steamer will be going back  in two and a half hours time which did not give me much time fuh visit but betta little dan non at all.  I wuz going to see me sick uncle James.  Dere were a few changes along de way like de Island now gat electric lights and de roads a little betta. Wen I get to Phoenix and passing me old School – Success CM School – it was just a shell of its farmer self. Dey really need a new school dere. It wuz depressing to look at. Memories of happy times flood over me like a big wave from the sea it overlooked. I had good times. De school was new, the yard well kept. We played rounders and all kinds of games in dat yard.  

I rememba teach Vira who used to teach Std II downstairs and the licks she’d put on you if you misbehave but she loved us – all of us kids she loved. We didn’t mind getting de lickin sometimes. 

As I passed her yard, I remember how as kids we used to call out to her “Goodaftanoon teach Vira” and she would say something sweet like, “goodafternoon sweetie” or goodaftanoon deerie” and such nice words. We na accustom to nobady taking like dat to us so we sucked it up a lat. I rememba we kids used to compare what words sheh used for us.

Anyway, Phoenix was just the same. Kids were going to school in dere brown uniform and everyting. De only ting dat changed is de people, I didn’t know many ah de young people. I could only connect dem wid through de modda or grandmodda something like dat. I felt good being dere. I felt at home. De peace and quiet, good people, boy you kian buy dat. De only school mate of sorts dat I connected wid was Desiree Nedd. Sheh still in Phoenix in her cousin Rinty House. Rinty and her Bajan husband left to go to Barbados now dat Barbados is considered a “developed country”.  Good fuh dem.

Ah saw Uncle James, me cousin ardered up some bad fried rice from  fram a caterer next door – cousin Mary Data she had a broad named Frankie Nedd (ah tink is he girlfriend) – delicious. Good Guyanese cooking wid fresh ingredients.  We washed dat down wid some coconut wata he pick from back yard and dessert was fresh sweet mango.  Yuh don’t find dat kind of smooth sweetness here in Canada. Most a de mangoes you spend big bucks on are forced ripe.  We hurried down de food and de taxi was ready to tek us back to La Bagatelle to catch de steamer.

 I felt sad leaving but even dough I liked de place it’s nat de same witout de friens I grew up wid. You  kiant really go back, you just got to move along wid yuh memories. What made Phoenix great fuh me was nat only de landscape but more importantly is de friends and de family dat were part of my life growing up.

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One Response to “Memories of my Childhood in Phoenix Leguan”

  1. Aptie Sookoo Says:

    It is always so interesting to read an article on home coming. I think that I know Mr. Silas but I have a disconnect with some of the other names that you mentioned in your article. This is certainly no surprise to me, as I have left Leguan in 1974 to pursue a career in public health and then after, my visit to the island was quite infrequent. I grew up in Enterprise, Leguan and attended St Peter’s Anglican and Maryville primary school respectively. My dad’s (God rest the dead) name was Basdeo but he was better know as “uncle half man” and he worked for umpteen years at the TH&D steamer stelling at Enterprise. He was an excellent cricketer. My mom’s name was Gobiniya (may her soul rest in peace) but she was commonly know as “auntie Betty“. Both of my parents passed away in 1991. My mom in May and six months later, my dad joined her in paradise. I always miss then and wished that they were around but fortune dictated otherwise. I was in Leguan during August 2010 and visited the Blenheim cemetery where the remains of my parents and my small brother Morgan sleep. I am always choked with emotion as I remove the weeds from around their tombs; apply a fresh coat of paint on their tombs and engage in a conversation with solitude during the activities. It is always difficult to leave the cemetery as I know, that I will not be back until another year. I looked at St Peter’s Anglican church and took out a photograph. Its tower has lost its glory and the wooden structure is decaying with the ravages of time. Yes! I was baptized there in 1955 and confirmed in the church in 1970. I attended the old St. Peter’s Anglican school and left for Maryville primary in 1965 after the school was totally consumed by fire. I visited Nuntran (Nook) an old friend of mine at his home in La Bagetelle (Sand Top). Nuntran and I were teachers at Maryville Primary school and I have not seen him since around 1996. It was interesting speaking with him after all those years. Indeed, he had some difficulty remembering me but very soon it was all smiles as he recall our lost friendship.
    I also, spoke with Chinee Boy and his wife auntie Doris. They were perched in their shop that sits in front their property. Chinee boy is the son of the late auntie Bella of La Bagaetelle, the brother of Harry Simboo (retired sick nurse dispenser). I enjoyed the company of Cheddie Dhanraj (the son of the late uncle Kurupung) of Enterprise. Cheddie is a free lance photographer. Cheddie and I had a snack of mauby and dholl puri at one of the food stalls that sits along the road that leads to the TH&D stelling. That area is known as the “bump” and historically was used as a farmers market on Saturdays. I met Reverend Albert James at the TH&D stelling and he engaged me in a conversation on Dengue fever. It was my understanding, that there were many laboratory detected cases of Dengue fever on the island let alone nationally. We also spoke about disinfecting water at the home level with 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. I said goodbye to Cheddie, Reverend Albert James, Cakes (he was my former student) and made my way down a flight of steps to a waiting “speed boat“. Around 1:30 p.m. I was fully dressed with my life jacket and sat in a small river craft and was on my way to Parika. As I departed Leguan I reflected on many of my childhood memories and peered at the shore of the Essequibo River until they disappeared from view. I will always remember Leguan and look forward with eagerness to return whenever I visit my home country Guyana.


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