Caribbean childhood 

Time seemingly operates within a different dimension and along its own continuum when it is “summer time” and you are a child. It is a slow drawl devoid of the anxious, frantic almost obnoxious pace that is experienced in adulthood.

The July and August months in the Caribbean are characterized by an unrelenting, torturous heat. It is a slow build up as if in a pressure cooker, that grows increasingly oppressive as the day goes by that could shut down even the busiest of house holds. Elongated days are punctuated with searing temperatures.

Bare footed children line themselves along back steps and galleries, grimy hands clutching an array of starch, Julie or mango verde. Yellow smears stain grinning faces as mango seeds are sucked dry.

Seeds are strewn about dusty yards or piled up to line imaginary pathways. These will become a faint reminder of overly bountiful trees (belonging to neighbours of course) that had been raided during the course of each day.

These plundered behemoths stand tall, stretching long limbs across neighbourhoods, offering shade to those feeling drained from morning chores , a hiding spot from searching siblings and protection to those escaping an angry parent.

Few memories of one’s childhood often characterize or epitomize the “feel” or experience of a particular time in one’s life. But at some point we have all caressed the bark, tasted the fruit or hid amongst the leaves of a mango tree.


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