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The way we were

Monday, June 9, 2014

• Continued from last week



I chat with two of the elders of the Yahweh Foundation. “It’s a pleasure to tell you,” Vince responds, when I ask him if he minds telling me his age. “I’m 82.” As teenagers growing up in Black Rock, Vince and friends used to pick fruits at night from neighbouring gardens, then walk along the beach in the dark, eating their fruit loot. “We used to walk with knives in those days,” he says, “to peel the oranges.” (A far cry from what the modern-day version of “we walk with knives” means).  


They would fish from rocks using kite thread, a bent pin and a long piece of bamboo, catching small jacks with bait acquired from early-morning seines. “It used to be fun being a child,” Vince says, voice and eyes softening. “No TV, not even radio. You had to make your own games to enjoy. Not like now. All their senses in their fingers now.”


He stops and mimics the act of texting, rapidly moving his thumbs on an imaginary device. “You see a child walking down the road so … then peep peep, a car!” He stops, looks up quickly, then returns even more quickly to his “texting.” “They come home from school … straight to the computer. They don’t converse. All they do is on their fingers.” Tommy, a 77-year-old drummer and dance teacher who looks like 40, grew up in Trinidad, but lives in Tobago now.