Like other writers for whom writer stereotypes are ‘freakishly accurate’, my childhood was rife with invitations to isolate and better left forgotten. Enter the wordpress daily writing challenge: Write page three of your autobiography. Into that ring, I toss my cookies. Why discard a perfectly good hat when I wear it so well?
Shortly after my second birthday, legend has it that my mom put on the family’s pants and high-tailed it to ‘America’, leaving Dad, Sis and I to fend for ourselves. Judging from the letters he wrote her, (and I inherited upon their demise) the year before our reunion was an eventful one indeed. Apparently, Flora, ‘one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes on record’ visited Jamaica, and left a rather nasty calling card. There was the expected damage to roofs, landscaping and roadways but we apparently faced an additional contest -rats. Apparently, they are not given to going down with a sinking ship.
Week after week, I sat at my father’s knee as he chronicled the daily household events for my mother’s “benefit”. I am certain other descriptors could be there employed but the relationship between husband and wife, I am learning, is one hard to fathom by outsiders – even or especially, their children. Perhaps he wrote to relieve the stress that comes from having no acceptable answers for the question that was always being put to him: “Where’s Mummy?”
Week after week, another nursemaid hit the road, prompted either by my older sister or my father’s. Nurse Ratchet would pale by comparison. As the director of the island’s first private and still operating nursing home, my Aunt faced the standard-issue patriarchy and cronyism for which her era is known. Never married, she retired from day to day oversight of the nursing home only when her eyesight failed at the age of 92.
I know this was supposed to be about me – and it is in the roundabout way that all subjects one writes about are about self – but I’ve run out of time and perhaps interest. Maybe this is why I have not ‘published’. You’d never even guess this was going to be about my first kiss at 16 in that shag covered minivan…