Tale of two Lands

Marlon Madden,

Added 07 November 2012


Starting today, each week for the month of November we will be featuring communities in Barbados that have the same name. Today we begin with Parish Land in Christ Church and Parish Land, St George. These two communities not only share names. Residents of both Parish Lands also have similar concerns; they complain about a lack of community spirit and the death of some old practices. At the entrance to Parish Land in Christ Church fruit vendor Anthony McClarn has been plying his trade close to ten years. “We don’t get to play cricket or football at the Parish Land Pavilion any more. The pasture needs cleaning. We have no community activities there any more,” he complained. That was the cry of most of the residents, including Peggy, a former general worker who spent more than 22 years as a janitor at the pavilion and retired three years ago. “The poor little boys now that doing football [have to] go down Silver Sands and play,” she said. Asked about some of the Independence traditions that she was keeping alive, one resident said making conkies was a must. In fact, she said she made them “all through the year” and she was teaching her grandson how to make them. In that community is one man who is fighting to keep old practices alive. He is Fred Campbell, 62, a mechanic. Campbell charged that since Independence in 1966 the education system was placing greater emphasis on some professions while others were suffering and becoming extinct. “When I was a youngster they had wheelwrights, blacksmiths, [and] tinsmith,” he pointed out. “All them there so dead out now. And right now you can’t find anybody to pick pond grass, not that I am saying you should go pick pond grass, but agriculture may go dead, so that we may have to import all the food we want. If that is what Independence brings, then we in a sad state,” added Campbell. Parish Land in St George is made up of three small communities. “It was all Parish Land all the time, then we get Price Road below there and Arthur’s Road out there,” said Eileen Hall, pointing in two directions. “This one name Harry Cox Road,” she added. Hall, 79, moved to Harry Cox Road in 1964. She said she was passing on to her children some traditions, including cooking on an open fire, with wood. “People are not accustomed to that; they now accustomed to [hitting a] switch here and switch yonder and switch there. I had to use kerosene oil in a bottle. We called it a smut lamp,” she reminisced. Residents of the three communities said in days gone by they visited their neighbours during the month of November and shared conkies, fish cakes and lemonade, but not any more. Ronald Watson, 58, of Arthur’s Road, said most of the development in those communities started in the 1970s. “Back in the ’60s we only had little tracks but, look, we now have paved roads,” he said. “We used to have one standpipe in Airy Hill and one in Charles Rowe Bridge, so we had a choice. I remember people used to carry the buckets on their head . . . but since development stage nobody really go by the standpipes any more,” he said. He added: “I miss Guy Fawkes Day [November 5] because it was fun. Guy Fawkes Day was a real celebration and today is the 5th, so we would have [been having fun].” Laurine Adams has been living in the Harry Cox community since the 1960s. She said she would like to see some more activities in the area. “For Independence they should have more community activities. They have a big community centre [St George Community Centre]. They should have something there; they could have drama and different plays, but we have to go in town to see all those things,” she complained. Some St George men told the MIDWEEK NATION they missed the days when there were special activities during the month of November. “We used to have Independence cricket matches, street fairs and volleyball,” said Tony Gill, one of the first newspaper vendors in St George.


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