Every generation lives a new manifestation of the experiences of the previous one. Often, it is difficult for us to see how much we mirror the actions and ideologies of our forefathers. This four-part series aims to be both a mirror and a looking glass. As you, the reader, look at the lives of the Windrush generation, it is hoped that you will be able to see your reflection and gain an appreciation for how their courage and sacrifice has shaped you.
The night breeze makes the stalks of sugarcane collide with each other. It will soon be harvest time. Then the canes will be hacked with cutlasses, bundled and trucked to the factory to be transformed into those tiny amber gems that have been the mainstay of the country for over 300 years. They are the reason the Atlantic breeze played its melody over this land of limestone and clay depositing the Sahara’s might. The continued reliance on them could be the reason the descendants of that might will be swept up in a different melody and through the same Atlantic breeze, be blown north and deposited on a land of coal, gravel and flint. As the crickets and grasshoppers sing their song, David reads to Gwen the latest letter from his sister.
How are you? How is mummy and daddy and everyone else? How are Gwen and the baby? Well, she’s not so much a baby now. Thanks for the pictures you sent. She’s growing beautifully. I am doing brilliantly here. I’ve just started my new placement. I’m working in Northampton Hospital as a trainee nurse. It is quite fulfilling. There is loads of need and room for advancement. I know I’m going to excel.
Have you given any more thought to joining me? I am more than sure that you’ll be able to find work. Isn’t your contract at the Deep Water Harbour about to end soon? This would be the perfect time. There are plenty of job openings at companies around here. They are desperate for good workers.
Just think about it, stepping out on your own, becoming your own man. And the schools here are much better than at home. Margaret would get a much better education, when she comes to schooling age that is. I can help you finance the boat fare if you need. Elton would love it if you came; I would love it if you came. It’d be nice to have family near. I look forward to your letter.
Your big sister Gloria
“Dear, what do you think?”
“Think about what?”
“Well, Gloria’s idea, my love.”
“I’m not too sure.” Gwen sits up and lights the kerosene lamp sitting on the bedside table. “What would you do?”
“Well, I could get a job in a factory or something along those lines.”
“Yes, but when would I see you? When would Margaret see you, David?”
“I’d send for you. The way I figure it is I’ll work for two years, save some money and then I’ll send for you and Margaret, my dear.”
“Two years! Am I supposed to be waiting on you for that long? Who says you won’t forget about me!”
“Don’t be silly now, Gwen. How could I forget about you? You are my love, dear. And we’ve only just started our life together, only just started our family.” David kisses Gwen on the cheek and wraps his arms around her. She resists at first but then gives way. “Let me go dear, it’d be a brilliant opportunity for me. There is not much for me here.”
She pushes his arms off her, “There’s not much for you here. So what am I? What is Margaret?”
“I don’t mean it that way dear and you know that. There isn’t enough scope here for me to develop to my full potential. I’m sure I could be doing so much more.”
“Oh, alright then.” The words leave her mouth as reluctantly as a baby leaving its mother’s womb.
He squeezes her tight and kisses her.
“Thank you dear, you won’t regret it. I promise I’ll make you proud.”
Jade M. Gibbons is a writer and film-maker with a passion for telling stories that matter.
To find out more visit https://www.jadegibbons246.com
Check Tuesday’s e-paper for Windrush: from whence they came from (Part 3).