May 5, 2014 Obara Meji 22Comment

MEMORY

Often times when groups of people are gathered together socializing, interesting things or stories come out. Every person on the face of this earth have either experienced something usual or have heard of unusual happenings. When I was a child growing up in Jamaica my mother and her friend Miss Ruth would sit in the evenings on the veranda and talk about many things. I loved to be around my mom and her friend, although I was warned to be seen and not heard. So I, along with some of my friends who lived next door or across the street would sit around the feet of these women and listened as they chatted to each other. If something was to be said that we should not hear they would drive us away with “oonuh go play”, or they would slyly send us all to the shop giving them time before we got back to have their private chat. I always remember those days, Jamaica was such a nice place to be born and raised, playing dandy shandy and baseball with my friends or hop scotch in the yard, hoola hooping with my friends and eating the mangoes which fell into our yard from Mr.Henry’s mango tree.

On Sunday’s my mother and all the neighbors would chase me all over the neighborhood trying to catch me to wash my hair and then style it with chiney bumps, onnuh memba chiney bump! I remember looking forward to mama’s Sunday traditional rice and peas and chicken, (daddy had a chicken coop in our yard and would butcher the chicken every Sunday) and carrot or sour sop juice would be made and on this day the good china from out of the cabinet along with the pretty drinking glasses, and the good knives and forks would be used , then ice cream and jello or egg custard would be served for dessert. I remember the ice cream man on Sundays where we would buy ice cream cakes and nutty buddy and the peanut man who would pass in the nights with his hot whistling cart shouting peanut, the peanuts were always nice and hot.  I remember all the years I spent there, we migrated when I was young but those years living in Jamaica and their memories I will cherish forever.

To this day anytime my ancestors wants me to pay attention to my visions and dreams they will show me the dream in the place we lived in Jamaica before we left. I was born off Maxfied Ave In Kingston, I do not remember the house where I was born but I do remember the area. We moved when I was still wearing nappy/pampers to a place off Delacree Road and I attended Maxfield park Primary school..fun days I tell you, fun days…Our principal was called Mr. something or other, I can never remember his name because all the children called him Bull Dog, not to his face of course, behind his back, and when I look back now he really resembled an English Bull Dog…Bwoy de pickney dem did bad. Jamaica was and still is a place of fun and laughter, not only is our dialect patois colorful and funny, Jamaican people in general are very funny people. In Jamaica nicknames are used often and it was later that I found out that this came with us from Africa. Africans use nick names for almost every thing . For instance in Jamaica if you cook for a living you are called Cookie, if your skin color is very dark then you are Blacka, Blacks, Black bwoy, or Black gal, same if you are brown, Browning, Brown gal or Brown man, if you are Short, then your name is Shortie, or Short man for a woman it is Little or lickle, Tall, then you are Tall man or Tallist..and the wickedest thing about this is that they all answer to their nicknames, if you are a killer, trust me that is your name! If someone believes you resemble a Rat, your name is Ratty, or if you look like a Dog then that is your name..lolol..Sweet Jamaica, I love you so much!. I love to laugh and nobody makes me laugh more than my own Jamaican people.

Listening to My mother and Miss Ruth helped to shape and mold me into the person I am today and taught me a lot. Stories that I heard told between the two of them I have never forgotten. There was a time when Miss Ruth came to our house one evening, she usually would come in the evenings around five o’clock and stayed until nine when she would go to her house, which wasn’t far in fact it was just around the corner on Langard Avenue leading to Waltham Park road, oonuh si how mi memory good, I was about five or six those times. When Miss Ruth arrived my mother was in the kitchen in the back of the house cooking, my mother cooked and baked every day after work. I went around to the kitchen to tell my mother that Miss Ruth was here and she instructed me to tell her friend, that she will soon be there and told me to ask  her if she wanted food or some thing to drink, to which Miss Ruth said yes. I do not know why my mother would even bother to ask Miss Ruth those questions when she knew for a fact that when it came to food and drink Miss Ruth did not know the word no.

My father use to laugh when my mom would ask him to ask Miss Ruth if she wanted dinner and say “just share out de food Louise, because you know sey Ruth craven”, to which I would laugh along with my father while receiving cut eyes and bad stares from my mom. I chuckle as I write this. My mother shared Miss Ruth’s dinner and hers and brought it out so they could eat on the veranda together, of course I took my plate there and sat at the feet of my mother. We all ate in silence for a while, with Miss Ruth looking very somber, something was wrong, but whatever it was it was not enough to break her appetite. I must also tell you all that My mother was and still is a great cook, probably that’s why Ruth never declined a meal, de woman hands  sweet, and she could cook anything.

After we all finished eating, my sister and I were instructed to take the plates to the kitchen and my sister was told to wash them right away along with giving the kitchen a through cleaning. I was free to go back and sit on the veranda with them. As I joined them I heard Miss Ruth in full story mode telling my mother about her boyfriend and his wife. Boyfriend?, Miss Ruth had A boyfriend?, in my child, mind wasn’t she old, like thirty or something?,…. this was the same way I felt some years later when I found out that my mother was pregnant…. Is what Ruth ah do wid boyfriend?..(a five-year old Jamaican child has the mind of a ten-year old child, we big from we bawn) I am still chuckling here around my laptop as I am writing, children are so precious! Listen to the story Miss Ruth told my mom. Oh by the way let me not leave anything out, my mother did not know Miss Ruth had a boyfriend either, although they were close friends.

The man was a higgler/market seller On Maxfied avenue in Kingston and he was married. On Saturdays Miss Ruth would go to the market but would only go to his stall to get her produce. Being that he was her boyfriend no money exchanged hands, she never paid for anything and unbeknownst to both Ruth and him other sellers in the market noticed this as time went by and told the wife of their suspicion. The wife made some investigations about Miss Ruth and found out where she lived, (the boyfriend had alerted Miss Ruth to this one week prior), so this particular evening Ruth came home from work and according to what I heard her tell my mother, as she stepped to her front door she stepped on a black chicken head which crunched loudly under her foot causing her to scream and jump back. This drew the attention of Miss Ruth’s landlady and her husband who came rushing to the front of the house where they found a visibly shaken Ruth.

The landlady and her husband saw what Miss Ruth pointed at and inched up to see what was there. There laid a brown calabash and inside was paper with some kind of language written on it, some black and red powder, two small vials which had some liquid in them and some assortments of Obeah items and a note written on a white piece of paper was taped on her front door. On the outside of the calabash were four chicken heads laid in the position of East, west north and south. The landlady”s husband was brave enough to take a piece of cloth and remove the note ignoring the warnings of his wife and it read “Leave my husband alone, this is a warning, but not a joke the work has already began against you if you insist then so be it”! The landlady shouted the blood of Jesus and both she and her husband began to pray fervently and chanted many Psalms , after which Miss Ruth came to our house….(hearing all of this I don’t know how she could have eaten).

During the retelling of the story Miss Ruth had began to cry saying she is not a trouble maker, to which my mother replied “Yes Ruth, but what you expect when you go with married man”. My mother was a no-nonsense woman and she called a spade a spade, either you accept it or you don’t. She got up went inside and started to put some sweet-smelling liquid on Miss Ruth, but only in certain areas of her body. I remember this specifically because my mother did the same to us and called my father to do the same to him but he would not allow her to do it. She spoke sternly at him, telling him that it was to ward off evil which may have followed Ruth to our house, to which my dad replied “nutten cyaan trouble Selassie pickney”, lol.

I grew up to experience what Miss Ruth went through that day, except I was the wife and it was the sweetheart who did the Obeah. my mother helped my spiritually a lot during those terrible times. This woman who came after me with Juju/Obeah had no mercy and she not only came after me she also tried my children. She was also another one who helped in my spiritual development and to find my path and become who I am today, because without her relentless pursuit of my children’s father and trying to get rid of me, I would not have learned how to fight and stand up for myself spiritually, remember out of every bad experience wisdom is gained, and In Jamaica we have a saying…A man is a fool to what he does not know.

At the time I did not know it, but I have since come to realize that she was part of my life’s plan to lead me to Obara Meji.. She was a terrible one our spiritual war lasted for years, but from that war I learned the most …….what terror did I choose, but God is no fool!

Ọgbọ́n ọlọ́gbọ́n ni kì í jẹ́ kí a pe àgbà ní wèrè. / 
By wisely adopting the wisdom of others, an elder does not get seen as stupid.

[We can learn from anyone; don’t despise others.] Yoruba Proverb!.

 

Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden. ~ Akan proverb

 

 

 

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22 Comments on "AN EARLY CHILDHOOD MEMORY"

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Ty
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Yes it is, will drop more stories as we go. I have tons. Maroon heritage on both sides and will drop some of the stories they tell of the times before electricity where many creatures and demons existed. As they say light was a saviour for us but also killed the heritage because people did not need spiritual help as much because light is a deterrent to many.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

I always say that Ty, modernization kill true spirituality

Ty
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Last one before I bore you all. My grandfather was maroon and was thought to be powerful in his days. By the time we came about he was old and would tell us so many stories that really need to write them down for my kids. Anyway, him was what Jcans call miserable when people disrespect him property or him family. When he died, they had a real old time maroon nine night. You mourn for 8 days and the 9th night you sing, play drum, and drink from sun down to sun rise. Well it was a Saturday night and the people beside us did plan a dancehall session where people pay if come in. Maroons from all over came for his nine night. When dem well in a di drumming and a guide him spirit, here comes the set next door a rinse out di dancehall music. So the head maroon lady, the caller, because she direct which song if play and the speed a di drum. Just buss out and say ” no to rass ! not a missa Percy farewell”. I swear to you she old like the hills, and she march a di gate and do some hand signal and the electricity next door just cut off. Di whole a di people dem end up a my grandfather send off.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

I have seen it in kumina it’s amazing!!

Ty
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Alright number two, well we were told while growing up that you not to mess wid ground lizard or them will chase you. So my bad ass cousin decide seh she going to test this theory. So we see this male ground lizard wid a wicked frill round him neck and start stone him. We injured him, Him bawl out and after that a crowd a lizard start chase we, we run and run. Luckily we remember the second part of the story seh u if climb a tree if dem chase u. A di fastest we climb di tree. They kept jumping up fi get us and a swear dem was going to bite us. We were in the tree for a good half an hour until mi grandfather come find us and use a stick wid fire and chase them.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Lmao!!! I know as a fact and kumina to, when kumina play ant whey dance done!!! Power deh bout

Ty
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Yep, my favorite part is when the “falla” drummer tek a break and di drum still a beat. For all who never see it yet, it is very powerful.

Ty
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Lol, how u know? I have Nuff stories

Ok here is number one, my grandmother had a huge country home with Nuff land. As kids we run all over, we even have a river on the property. Anyway, one day me and my cousins were playing by this ” cocoa walk” ( you know every country people call a group of the same trees walk). We were playing mud pot and we’re digging up the ground. Out of nowhere we see my grandmother me a sprint like Bolt and shouting at us. We continued playing. Then out of no where cocoa start rain down on we along wid some coins. We started to scream and run. As we reach my grandmother she explained to us that there were unmarked graves over there and that we can play there but never to dig up the ground. To this day you cannot get drink cocoa tea.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Omg a bunch of them chases you both!!! Meeda peep peep up self! Omg omg! Lololol oonuh did too bad

Sa-Fo
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Sa-Fo

When I was nine, I asked my pops where did he get his nickname from which was Pineshan. And why was I called Piney? He told me the story behind it and I die every time I remember this. My grandfather is a retired inspector, him and my grandmother. When she went home, she hung up her uniform, but when he went home he was still Inspecta D. Very strict man, he kept all the boys in line. They used to hate him (still loved and respected him though). They boys gave him the name Pinehead because his head shape like one pineapple…dead it’s so trueeee. So then , they called my dad Pine-son which then evolved to pineshan. I look just like my dad, the tiny version, hence the nickname piney (tiny pine).

Oh and my mom worked for Ministry of Agriculture and they call you by your lastname except they shortened it. Examples:

Woodhouse= Woodie
Robinson= Robbie
Alvaranga= Alva

And so on.

Ty
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Lol, same so the was a mad man downtown who was always naked and whining up himself and singing, so they called him “slide and whine”. He then would shout out ” 50cents if di slide and whine” as him beg money. No where no betta dan yaad

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Mi know man

Ty
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Jamaica is a special place to grow up. Lots of laughter and fun. My father has some friends with some names like horse mouth (him mouth really look like a horse), hawk, and one dip (because of how he walks with a dip due to one foot being longer than the other). You are right, how these people answer to these names is beyond me.

There is also lots of Obeah there. My mother suffered for years with a “sore fassy foot” at the hands of another woman trying to get my dad. She was back and forth to doctors and it was not until she seeked spiritual healing from a “mother” in St. Thomas that she was cured. She was given a bath and some teas and has never had a problem since. I remember as a child going with her to St, Thomas and seeing all these women praying over her. I was also given a bath and a reading. As a 6 year old, it was a weird experience, with a woman writing funny writings in a book and then telling me about my past and future. She was gentle and loving. I often wonder how she is doing and pray that she is still able to help the sick. She right on the money with the things she told me.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Right de names dem were funny! You knowTy almost every Jamaican mi meet have ah Obeah tale fi tell, mi nah lie, all de uptown people dem who, ah dem have obeah problem, lol

Sa-Fo
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Sa-Fo

I grew up in Mona Heights and I don’t have one to tell. Lmao I think I was too sheltered. Duppy stories, yes , because my mother grew up in the country before she left for town in her teens.

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Lol no where!!!!

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