Thursday 4 June, 2020

20 Things Bajan children used to do in summer vacation

Phonebook craft days.

Phonebook craft days.

They say that the Bajan culture is not being passed on. Well, here are some things that Bajan children used to do back in the day before Facebook and PS4.

Below are 20 things that some people would remember clear as day. However, don’t stop there, teach your babies, God-children, nieces, nephews and keep some of these traditions alive or even revive a few that are truly dying.

1. You used to get the old phone books and make lamp stands at home or at camp. Fold one, bend one, and you used to race to see who could finish it the fastest.

2. You used to get all the odds and end pieces of material if your mother or someone nearby was a seamstress and make rag mats or shaggy pillow cases.

3. You used to dig a small hole and pitch with your marbles. ‘Guh back tuh lines'... ‘I ain tekking nuh goots from you wid dah goofy!’

4. They used to be outside skipping and seeing who could skip to 100. Do you remember when two people would turn the rope and you could jump in? 'Mr. Jones is teaching...'

5. They used to Chinese skip - tie the rope around their legs. ‘Noooo…wunna jess had it by wunna ankles and now gone tuh wunna knees. Wunna teefing!’

6. There was always that one friend who used to play cards with in their window because their granny never let them come outside. But you loved their help during hide-and-seek. ‘Hey! Tell me part dem hiding?’

7. They used to freeze milk and Kool-aid in clear bags in the freezer and make sucka-bubbies, or they used to pour the milk and Kool-aid in the ice tray and make flavoured blocks. Really old school people used to pour custard and make custard blocks.

8. You had a granny who help you make some sugar cakes and burn some of the sugar to make black b*tch.

9. Tamarind trees did not stand a chance as everybody used to turn into a tamarind ball maker.

10. Many a night you got quarreled with as the Monopoly was game going on and on and on and no one wanted to go home. ‘REEEEENT! Gimme my rent fuh Boardwalk!’ ... ‘Wait, I tink I miscount.’ ‘You aint a bit uh nuh miscount…give my money ting!’

11. Red light, green light and hand games were very popular. ‘Red light, green light, 1,2,3… I see X move!’ Noooo! I gine home ‘cause it is always me. Wunna cheating. And others played 4 white horses in a stable, Tweet baby tweet baby, and Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack.

12. Cricket was played in the street and houses were out so batters had to be careful if they wanted to bat long. But when you hit and knock out someone’s window, everybody was out…and gone!

13. Hide-and-seek was a staple and though it takes all kinds to play a game, you hated three particular players who were in every game – the person who could climb trees and would go all up in de top; the person who was too young to ever be it, especially when playing after 6:00pm; and the person who always followed you to your hiding spots to hide with you…’I was hay first! Why you always following me?’

14. Many children went to camp, usually at the nearest church to your home if you don’t have a church or at the school nearest to you and they made things with clothes pins, they painted, coloured, learnt memory verses and formed friendships for life.

15. They played Nintendo or Sega Genesis. You could see many ticking on Duck Hunting, Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Those consoles were the bee’s knees back in the day.

16. Children used to make dial-up Internet hear as they tried to chat on MSN Messenger, chat on Yahoo, and check Hi5 and update their MySpace.

17. Girls used to get their hair plait in thousands and get beads too. 

18. Boys used to be excited to get in the barber chair and get all the designs that are not allowed in school.

19. You used to go to the beach almost daily and make new friends. But you had to be accompanied by an adult and in those days whether you could swim or not, you could not pass the adult in the water. Enjoy sunbathing and don’t even think about bringing a flotation device in the water. ‘Not uh a bit of that! Next ting you float to Trinidad! I can’t swim. I bring 6 hay and I gine carr back 6 to duh owners.’

20. Few rollerbladed and scooted but many rode their bicycles up and down. You could see people practicing de old man shuffle and if the bike was too big for them, they perfected the dismount or ‘de hop off’. If you had to go buy drinks, you tied the plastic bag full of glass bottles onto the handle and you gone to the shop ‘clanging’ all the way. Then the noisiest of the lot used to put a plastic cup or a can by their back wheel to sound like a motor bike. And then, there were the racers, who used to line up at the top of the hill and go down the hill without peddling pretending they are riding horses. 'And Blast of Storm wiiiiiiins!'

What was your favourite thing to do in the long, summer vacation?

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