My childhood and Preteen Years
A few years ago I was on a bus with some journalists who were visiting Anguilla. As we drove along on our way to their hotel we stopped to let some goats cross the street. One of the ladies said, ‘Anguilla is perhaps a great place to vacation but it must have been pretty boring growing up here.’ I paused before I answered as childhood memories raced through my mind. ‘Not at all’ I said. I continued ‘Anguilla was a pretty amazing place to grow up.’
I did not stop there. I shared exactly why Anguilla was a great place to grow up. Here are just twelve of those reasons.
1) As children, we had loads of yard space to run around and ride our bikes and play dolly house, marbles and engage in any other games or mischief our minds could conceive. In fact because Anguilla was so safe then and even is now, we were allowed to roam freely in our neighborhoods and our parents did not worry about where we were. Our village was our park! We roamed and discovered paths in the bushes which surrounded our house and found ready-made clearings to play and hide. My cousins, the children in the neighbourhood and I bonded together. There was always someone to play with.
2) My mom and my aunts are teachers and my grandmother was a stay at home wife so there were always family around even in the summer. We never had a stranger babysit us.
3) When we were younger before we could walk alone to the beach, I remember my auntie would call to say she was going to the beach and I would get so excited. I loved the sea even though washing my hair after was not much fun.
4) I remember dining out with my parents at Smitty’s in Island Harbour when I was still a kid. I discovered how much I loved restaurant prepared crayfish and lobster then.
5) We took long drives just for fun because gas was a lot less expensive then. Picking mangoes from the family trees on the other side of the island was an annual event and we literally picked buckets and buckets of mangoes during the season which we sold or gave away.
6) We rented movies as a family and played them in the VCR (lol). I remember watching the entire series of Roots (Yikes) and anyone remembers the movie Body Parts? It is no wonder that I can not watch scary movies now.
7) I spent time with my grandparents and I learned important values from my grandmothers and all the strong women around me because families bonded together a lot more then. Picture sitting on the porch at moonlight with your grandparents, just talking about jumbie stories and days gone by.
8) We had family events where my grandmother (my mom’s mom) would kill a goat and everyone would come by to help clean the feet, head etc and I would help my grandmother cut up the meat and after everyone had eaten their belly full of rice and peas and goat meat, they would still get an uncooked portion to take home. I have never had liver and lites that tasted as good as my grandmother’s.
9) I recall middle of the night excursions with my grandmother to check on a goat in labour and I witnessed the miracle of birth. I also remember helping my grandmother try to catch the goats when they got free.
10) I loved to read and sometimes I chose books over playing but the laughter of the other kids often beckoned me outside to join in the fun.
11) We had video games back then (I am still to master Mario Brothers) but for most children it was not a priority. We spent a lot more time in the sun then and we did not complain about it.
12) We spoke for hours on the phone with friends about everything and nothing at all because a phone call was 0.15 cents from a land line regardless of the length of time spent on the phone. We did not have cell phones and somehow we still managed to stay in touch and not to feel left out. We went to parties , sleep overs and days school was a non-stop adventure but that is another story.
By the way, sorry that I had no childhood pictures in this blog post. We did not have digital cameras at the time (gasp). I will update this blog with some scanned pictures in a few weeks.
Do you agree that growing up in Anguilla was not boring? Would you want to raise a family in Anguilla? You might also like my blog post on why I am never bored in Anguilla.
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Thanks for reading and sharing.