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ROCKING CHAIR STORIES: Big families, big on discipline

Tony Vanterpool

ROCKING CHAIR STORIES: Big families, big on discipline

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AS A MEMBER of the Rollock family of Hannays, St Lucy, he had a Christian upbringing.
“I was very active in the church, including singing in the choir,” Reuben Rollock admitted.
One of the first things he heard from a grandmother was: “Always cast your bread on the water.”
“I did,” he said, “and I am happy to share the experiences in The Rocking Chair.”
Attending Sunday school and other church services four times a day was nothing unusual for Reuben since his father, Ashton, was the beadle at the St Lucy Parish Church while his mother was busy running the household in which there were five girls and two boys.
Now approaching his 70th birthday [he was born June 10, 1941], Reuben recalls: “In those days, there were big families.
“We had a very strict upbringing. Dad would leave home early and generally return late. Mum took over everything. But on Sunday mornings Dad would leave early and return early. There used to be 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. services.
“In those days, you had to do as you were told. You couldn’t be messing about to do what you want to do. Discipline was high, the first thing on the calendar.
“It did not come from your mother alone. It could come from your aunt, your grandmother, your brother or anyone senior to you. If you complained, you got more discipline.”
Reuben lived at Hannays until he was about 12, when the family moved to Benthams, another St Lucy village.
“After leaving St Lucy Boys’ [School] in 1958 at age 17, I discovered that there were various jobs available in the nearby Fairfield Sugar Factory – chemist, engineer and so on,” he said. “I did everything; you get a job and you work.”
Reuben didn’t stay long at Fairfield.  He ended up at Sandy Lane Hotel.
He explains how he got into the hospitality field: “I was the only guy from St Lucy who got a job at Sandy Lane.
“In those days the priest wielded a lot of influence. My priest at St Lucy Parish Church, Reverend Pestana, gave me a recommendation and I was hired.
“I got $58 a week and that was big money . . . . I started out as a waiter and ended up as a bartender.”
But “Ben” Rollock, as he was known, was not one to rest on his laurels. In the days before ZRs and PSVs, he used to hire Yearwood’s truck with canvas at the sides.
He recalled: “The first collection of passengers would be at my workplace, Sandy Lane. I would then pick up visitors from other hotels and Bajans at various points.
“Then it was off to River Banks, St Lucy, for an evening of entertainment.”
Ben Rollock, the innovator, had started to play a major role in the hospitality industry, which was experiencing its teething pains.