According to my family, in the old days, children played together, ate together, slept over at one another’s homes, just like they do today. Those children who were left alone while their parents went about their daily business were looked after by other parents in the community.

In a big family like my mother grew up in, children had used things known as hand me downs (items that were handed down from older to younger children, like shoes, clothes, books, etc.). It didn’t matter to my mother and her siblings if the footwear was that of a male’s, the females would still wear it. Children used to learn certain skills from parents such as cooking, baking, sewing, crocheting (my mother tried to teach me this one, but sadly to no avail), embroideries and other regular household stuff.

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At the beginning, in my grandfather’s house, furniture was minimal as just the basic necessities were present. In the bedroom there were beds, a cupboard to store bed things and sometimes a mirror could be found. In the living room/dining room there was a table with accompanying chairs, a cabinet, a centre table and/or a corner table. For those families who had a veranda at the time, it wasn’t unusual to see benches there. Some of these benches had cushions that were made from left over material stuffed with banana trash or scraps of cloth. Cooking was done over a wood fire in an outdoor kitchen.

In the late afternoon towards the evening, the family (along with others) would gathered together to play games (board and ring games), read, do homework together and tell stories to one another. Back then, there was no electricity so glass lamps (with the Home Sweet Home shade), tin lamps (or tinning lamp made from a tin where some had handles), bottle torches, tilley lamps (mainly used in churches and shops) were used to light the darkness. No one was afraid of going out at nights, whether alone or in a group as, I had mentioned in Good Old Days Part One, they didn’t have to worry about crime. Most of these nightly ventures ended in a visit to church for women, children and some men, while most men hung out at shops playing dominoes, cards and other games The only thing they (children) were afraid of were duppy (ghosts), rolling calf (rollin’ calf), river mumma (riva mumma, ribba mumma) and three foot horse, stories of which my own grandmother and grandfather would scare me with. By the time my mother grew up, things had changed significantly.

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Well, you have reached the end of this mumble. I had missed last week’s own as I was a bit busy with work and I do apologize for that. I’ll continue the third and last part of this one next week, hopefully.

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