I have been kindly allowed to share the text below that recorded the memories of an elderly lady in Grenada. It reminded me of how important it is to talk to elders and record their memories.
RECOLLECTIONS OF JULIA ST. LOUIS OF HER AFRICAN ANCESTORS IN GRENADA
This interview with Julia St. Louis was conducted at her residence in Palo Seco in 2005.
“Custa’s (Mr. St. Louis) mother left him and came to Trinidad when he was seven months old. He became a fisherman’s assistant in Grenada. She had come to Trinidad (Tabaquite). There she came to meet her husband, Mr. Horsley. Mr. Custa’s father was Mosley Horsley. When she had Custa they were not yet married. He was Emmanuel Custa St. Louis.
Grenada had a few Indians and a few Portuguese. The Indians there were creolised. They were mainly in a place called Grand Bacolet, near Grenville. Before Grenville!
Miss Vigin mentioned to me that her grandmother was from Grenada. She, Vigin, was my macomere. She was a Chacon until she married to Aguillera.
When we going to school and we late, the children would tie the grass so that the headmaster (Mr. Arlette) would not beat us. That was at the Model School in St. Paul’s, which I attended. Before that I attended the Anglican School.
When we had deaths in Grenada every family had their own cemetery in their land. My mother’s mother was born in St. Georges and wanted to be buried in the government cemetery there. People bringing everything for the wake, down to the board for the funeral. They blow the shell and it is heard for miles.
There were lots of fruits in Grenada:
All these were fruits we had in Grenada. They lighted dry coconuts and tied them in bundles and lifted them over the rocks to find the lobsters.
We would bake farine and cassava bread from five o’clock in the evening. Also bam bam with coconut and sugar.
The Indians in Grand Bacolet planted coconuts.
The provision boat from Grenada to Trinidad sank with female passengers and that slowed down the trade in foodstuffs from Grenada. The boats (like the one I came on) had the crates below and the cabins on top and below.
In Grenada the pretty peas were called jen jen peas. That was the pretty grains and the pretty pods. Sometimes you could tell them from the pods. Some jen jen peas had plain green pods. The government used to send a truck by Kissoon shop. (In Palo Seco New Settlement or Sobo) We would carry four to five bags of peas on a cart. Ten cents a pound.
In my days Grand Anse was sugar cane fields and sugar mills.
The Barley Grain Rice was short and fat. When you grind it the kernel is white.
The red rice is the Black Hen. The grains were long and thin. When you grind it the kernel looks white.
Black Sam’s sister in Sobo was still planting rice up to two years ago when she died.
We planted gob gob and black eyes in the lands in Trinidad. I also bought lots of gob gob from the Indians.
The red road opened when they drilled the well on the hill. All in the alley to here had a track under the mahogany trees all the way to out here, (when we came out to live). Government police patrolled all here.
The refinery went from being that to the machine shop to the Trade School and then to Servol. Michael is fifty one going on fifty two years. He born in June 1954. There was a building on the spot.
Since I in the Alley I know Mr. Long living in Miss Payne’s house and Mr. Baldwin living below. On the track by the Trade School had two big immortelle trees.
My grandfather from Africa never ate salt. My uncles and aunts said that he flew from Africa. We knew his name as Stephen Horford. Some people called him Krooja. That may have been his African name.
In Grenville had a lot of Horford Estates.
When I knew him (my grandfather) he was still going to St. George’s to work every day. He probably died at about age sixty. He worked in the Botanic Gardens, they said. When he died I was around eight or nine years. His wife died at age 90. They called her Oda. She was a Pilgrim from Barbados. Only Grampa came from Africa. He was a dark, dark man about the height of Mr. Custa.
He spoke Patois, English and an African tongue. He spoke that (African tongue) with his wife and his big sons and daughters and even with villagers when they came to visit. We did not have time to go out. My father had sixty acres of land. Oda had twenty acres of lands. All the lands of Oda were left as minus properties so any of my children can go there and get a piece.
We would grow sugar canes, cut them and carry them to the small factories. They would grind it. If you get ten tins of wet sugar you get some, they (the factories) take some. Your house always full of wet sugar.
In our area had no hill rice. In Trinidad I learned about planting rice.“