We lived without running water, no heated water, no indoor bathroom and a fold up table in our shack.
No one suffered.
We lived without running water, no heated water, no indoor bathroom and a fold up table in our shack.
No one suffered.
Pandy was our Shih Tzu that played outdoors, slept outdoors and literally was only allowed in the house the day she was bathed. When I read about Shih Tzu it said they are indoor dogs only. We tried that and she was not content. She wanted to play with the kids all day long and was so dirty I left her outside at night which she seemed very happy with. Her and Domino, the cat, kept each other company.
Look at the dolly inside the basket peeking out with her head full of red curls so much like the brown colored curls this little baby girl will get some day not so far in the future. The hand woven basket is from our trip to Jamaica, the New Zealand lambskin was a soft place to lay my little babies bodies. Look closely and you can see the dreads forming on the left side of Juma’s head which will stay there till he is almost five. For these two, playtime was an invention of anything that was laying around. No special toys needed or for that matter were around.
I was a working mom back then. Tiny Jewels, my children store, was a full time job that I did while my day being a mother was also happening. I just fit it in all the cracks and crannies of my day (and night).
Hurricane Marilyn 1995. (LaLa Land, Coral Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands)
That was our shed with a once upon-a-time car port after the winds blew most of it away and split the rest. The yard is full of power cords, blue tarps and lumber. The air is full of generators to run power tools for the repairs. We did not run them for long because the house’s power ran on solar. We even had a Energy Star fridge that our solar panels and batteries were able to keep cold.
Every day these little ones played in this yard. Did they ever step on things that hurt? Rarely. There was the time when Raina stepped on a screw and I learned that you can not pull out a screw, you have to unscrew it. Yuck, I know. A little soap and water, golden seal salve with a band-aide covered with a sock and she was fine.
I love Juma’s hair in this picture. He decided to play barber which explains the scalped hair on his forehead. I cut the rest short to try and match his creation.
Juma seems to have no problem emotionally holding his little sister back. There is no stress on his face because he is confident that he has her best interest in mind. She, on the other hand, looks extremely disturbed by this gesture from her older brother.
A picture a day in
hopes a reader never goes away.
My new addition to the blog will be a new picture each day from the past along with the story because we all know every picture tells a story and many of you have been asking for mine. I hope you enjoy.
This is my family at summers end. Raina looks to be a few months old and she was born in June of ’94.
Starbo’s boys would come every summer. The youngest, Denver, had not yet made his way to St John. Starbo thought he was too young so he waited a couple more years. Irvin was the oldest and close to eighteen. Jeremy is holding his baby sister. Yello has his arms wrapped around both my boys showing the love they all had for each other. Baba (Ivan) is on floor in front of Jeremy and Juma is off to the side. I am not sure how I got all their attention one time; how I get them to stop moving long enough for this picture. We must of been getting ready to head into town which was a sight to see. Raina in her car seat and everyone else pilled into the Toyota 4Runner filling every nook and cranny.
This was our living room in our five room shack. Two tiny rooms for the four boys in the middle. They shared the same age and the same room. Jeremy and Yello were 12, Brian and Baba were 10. Irvin slept on the very futon that is in the picture. So the living room became his bedroom at night. Raina and Juma slept with their mama and papa. The only other room was the small kitchen. We had no running water, no kitchen table and no bathroom this year. I’ll explain that on another day.
The walls only went half way up and the rest was screen. There was a large roof overhang to stop most the rain from coming in. Books were very important and consumed an entire wall of this tiny home.
We lived in the bush so our living space was very large, acres and acres of land with no buildings surrounding us. Very little time was spent indoors.
- Children are innocent
- Children are non-judgmental
- Children are resilient to change
- Children are trusting
- Children love unconditionally
Let’s explore Gratitude.
How many of you are lucky enough to have a child in your life?
For 30 years I woke up almost every day with a child physically present in my life.
My children are still in my life buy the closest lives three hours away.
Here is my life now:
After drumming and dancing for a few hours in my neighborhood park, I was walking back to my house with four various size hoola hoops slung around my neck and side. I’m happily taking each step, feeling content, but sometimes noticing the stares coming from passing cars. I suddenly flash on how much I would make sense to people if I had a string of children following me.
This was an easy task to accomplish over the years. I took it for granted that children would always follow me, always be around wondering what I was doing and eagerly wanting to come along.
I must confess that when I left the house I did not look around to see if anyone wanted to go with me. I am pretty independent and go when and where I want to go. I am also coherent enough to know there is no one in my house to ask anyway. I have not completely ‘lost it’ is what I am saying. But you would think that after 30 years it would feel a bit weird to go play in the park childless.
Most the time I do really well but at that moment, walking from a park with hoops slung on my body, moccasins on my feet, wearing my bright pink cut-up tee shirt, and people staring out their car windows looking for my lost kiddies, I felt the loss of children from my life.
My daughter brought back that shirt from her trip to Cambodia three years ago. It has a beautiful elephant on the front to remind me that she took care of an elephant for a week. She was so excited to give me the shirt but it was tiny and I was 20 pounds heavier. Determined to make the shirt work for me, I looked at tutorials on the computer and with scissors in hand, made my mark on the back, a heart. Still no bigger…so added side cuts…a little better so finished the sleeves with cute slits too.
I put this shirt on this morning cause I was missing her, now here it is, eight thirty at night, and my mind returns to her.
My mind takes me back in time about 15 years. My daughter and I are walking down our dirt road with a little girl Raina’s age, about five, and her mama who both live in our downstairs rental apartment. We are walking the mile long path that leads to a country store called ‘Love City Groceries’. Love City is the nickname of this Caribbean island called St John. Talking and walking in the hot summer sun, shaded occasionally with large Tamarind tress, we will soon reach the main dirt road. We see a donkey up ahead and think nothing of it. They are wild all over the island. The girls are ahead of us about twenty five feet. They pass the donkey but he starts to follow them. He seems to be showing strong interest in my daughter. She panics and starts to run, the donkey runs, I run, Raina’s little friends mama starts to run. Raina is screaming, I am screaming “Get”, Raina’s little friend’s mama is screaming “Get, Get out of here!” with her hands in punching mode. We are gaining on them, just like the donkey is gaining on my daughter. The donkey dips his head down and with his giant nostrils, he knocks my little girl onto the ground. I am ready to kill this donkey. I see that the other mama is ready to kill this donkey. In slow motion, this giant four legged hoofed monster takes another step toward my baby who is now helpless on the ground. Both mama’s are very close to this monster but not close enough. He walks over her…but does not touch her. No longer in slow motion, he runs away. I pick my little girl up who now has two holes in her polka dot stretch pants along with two dusty skinned knees. She is safe, we all are safe. I get her to laugh when I remind her what a story we have to tell her brothers when we get back home.
And when I get back home from my walk in the park, the only one I have to tell my story to is my computer. Thankfully, I have my computer.
So be grateful to walk with your children. When you just want a moment to finish telling your stories of the day to your friend who is walking with you and all your children combined, and you’re two minute story ends up being 15 minutes with all the “mom-look-at-this” or “mom-watch-me”s”, remember my story of how quickly it all disappears.
Remember that every moment for the rest of your life has a past, present and future to it. Be fully present to the moment at hand, don’t wish it away, no wishes are necessary, time is like a giant tidal wave and grabs everything in the present moment and quickly carries it to the past. Reminisce for a moment, dream for a moment and be grateful for this moment for it carries you to the next.
Be grateful for those children, for you brought them to this moment~~you carry them with you to the next.
There is a place in St John where you will find a whole community of rock people. There must be dozens of pirates.
Hike past Salt Pond Bay past the actual Salt Pond to Drunk Bay.
You will be greated by a wonderland of rock shapes ready to have you add your own creations.
Children are fascinated with chickens roaming around everywhere. It’s a special treat when they have new baby chicks to watch also.
Almost everywhere you go, there are baby and mama chicks. There are free roaming chickens everywhere; in town, out country. Unfortunately these chicks ran into trash left out side reckless.
The chickens don’t care, they find food everywhere they go: trash, bugs, seeds.
St John, Virgin Islands. This was an ongoing site there; A cow nursing a baby pig. It has been going on for as long as I can remember. Not sure which cow started it or why. It is not all the cows, usually you will just see one cow nursing a pig. These are Moses’ cows who lives in the valley, Cows run free so it is common to have to wait for them to cross the road.
Happy Birthday Moremi.
I have known you since you were two. Your mother would push you around Warfside Village in a stroller. She would come visit me when I worked at Freebird Creation Jewelry store. You did not seem to mind because you always had a big smile on your face. And oh what a face you had. You were one of the most adorable little girls I had ever seen. Your hair was black, big and beautiful. Your skin was a golden dark brown, eyes big and brown. Your mother always had lots of colors to brighten you up, lots of African bracelets and hair clips, deep greens mixed with reds and yellows. She would dress you in the softest, most comfortable, cute cotton clothes. A lot of care and love went into your day-to-day safeguarding.
I think every child comes into this world with there own agenda. You definitely had yours. As a child you were very headstrong. This might be tuff on the parents but deep down we are always happy for the headstrong children because we know they are survivors. You can come up against most anything and at the end of the battle you will be riding on top swinging your flag with a big smile and lots of people smiling with you. You just have this aura about you that people want to be around. You radiate something special.
You and your mom might of banged heads a bit but you were always polite. I loved hearing your voice. It had a little gravel but very feminine. You would say, “Hello Jeanie, Hi Jeanie, How are you doing today? Bonjoir!” as you jumped on the trampoline.
You were always nice to my kids, as you can see in this picture. When you would first see people for the day you would have a warm greeting for them as if you were truly happy to see them. Not everyone has this quality. This is a special thing, to make others feel welcomed.
Now you have a family of your own. I know you will pass on the love you were given along with plenty much more of your own.
Happy 21st. May life send you blessings and happiness.