The 1980’s was eye opening for me. In 1979, just after turning 4 years old, I witnessed one of the most scary events of my life; the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I remember vividly playing outside with a hibiscus flower over my head and looking up at the clouds thinking it was going to rain. I pretended the flower was an umbrella and I twirled it around and around. As I looked up, I noticed the clouds were getting thicker and rolling faster towards me. Soon it was apparent that I wasn’t looking at clouds but rather a pyroclastic flow. I ran towards the house and yelled for my Mom and Dad, soon after I saw ashes and heard stones falling on the roof, others reported seeing lightning and hearing thunder. Ashes spread as far as Barbados which lies about 100 miles away. We managed to recover without too much damage or loss of life, as a matter of fact, later on that year in October we gained our independence from England. A great milestone.
In 1986 I entered High School. The St. Joseph’s Convent was one of the top schools on the Island run by nuns and was all girls. We had very strict rules, our uniforms had to be perfect. Crisp white shirts, pleated blue/grey skirt to the knees with a slip underneath, white socks and shoes, small sleeper earrings, not an ounce of flashiness, everyone had to adhere to these rules, no exceptions.
We carried a heavy curriculum which was quite taxing for me. Luckily there was music and singing. I knew I had to join the choir or participate in something that had to do with singing. I loved learning new songs and attending mass at the nearby Catholic Church. One thing that stood out against the colors of our uniforms was our pencil cases and key chains, everything was neon. We had no keys to our houses but we just kept collecting key chains, you can hear us coming, jingle jingle, click clacking around.
The music and movies of the 80’s also remain with me. BAD by Michael Jackson, When doves cry by Prince, Like a Virgin by Madonna and Take by breath away by Berlin were in heavy rotation so was Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean, Straight up by Paula Abdul, Wishing Well by Terrence Trent D’Arby. Blockbuster movies included The Empire Strikes back, E.T. the extra terrestrial, Back to the Future, Die Hard, The Terminator, Gremlins, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Top Gun and my favorite, Dirty Dancing.
Do you love the 80’s, let me know what aspects you love.
Born on the tiny island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines where life was simple. The grass was green and the tap water had only one temperature….COLD!! There was one television station and one radio station, most homes didn’t have a telephone and the bathroom was outside.
School days were the best. I walked to Primary School with my friends and played all afternoon; jump rope, hop scotch, moral, cricket, soccer, we would play and snack on whatever fruit was in season until it was dinnertime.
Saturday was cleaning and market day, also time for baking fresh homemade bread and cake. If you had a TV, it was time to watch WWF, which is now WWE, and in the afternoon we watched westerns such as Gunsmoke, Rawhide and Bonanza; the A Team was big also and so was Knight Rider. Going to the beach was an adventure, picking fruits along the way, teasing dogs and cows and just generally joking around; we would stay on the beach until sunset.
Sunday was all about sports and church. I would watch F1 races and soccer with my Dad and after lunch and a nap, we would get dressed in our Sunday best and take a stroll either to a local soccer match or just chatting with friends while partaking in sweet or savory items from local vendors; sugar cakes, tamarind balls, boiled and roasted corn, just to name a few.
Much of that has changed but the memories live on in my mind and have helped to shape my character and that of my friends and family. We’re easy going, fun loving people and we never miss an opportunity to tell others where we’re from, how we lived and how beautiful our island was and still is.