I was born in British Guiana in 1942 – By Geoff Burrowes

was born in British Guiana in 1942

By Geoff Burrowes

1942 was a different world from today. Many of the buildings were the same – white wooden buildings with red roofs but cars all looked like black shoe boxes with silver bumpers, front and back. And they were any colour as long as it was black. There was a war on in faraway Europe and the Middle East and Far East, although we didn’t see much of the fallout.

I didn’t know my Uncle Angus who was a navigator on a Fleet Air Arm Liberator flying out of Gander in Newfoundland. But I didn’t know that I didn’t know him so I guess that was OK.      

If you wanted to phone someone you picked the phone up and waited until the operater said “Number please?” and then you’d tell her “717” for dad’s office or “1219” for Auntie D and she’d connect you with a click.

We didn’t have TV and if my father wanted to follow our West Indian cricket team in Australia he would have to  tune our brown wooden-cased Philco radio to short wave and hope that we could hear the commentary through the static that plagued the short waves.

We didn’t have cell phones or video games but what we did have was far better. We had community.

Let me tell you about our neighberhood! We lived on the corner of Brickdam and Brummel place,the continuation of Cumming St., once you crossed the wooden bridge over the Croal St trench.

Next to our house were the Willems Flats a gigantic greenheart building with two rows of five storied flats and with a concrete courtyard in the middle. The yard of the flats and the concrete courtyard made a wonderful neighborhood playground and fortunately the Willems and their tenants were very tolerant toward us children.

And there were nough children: My sister Mary and me, and my cousin Arthur, aka Archie, the Da Silvas, Barbara Ann and Leslie, who lived across Brickdam, Ian Glasford and his sister Marg in Brummel Place and the Parsleys Dianne, David, Max and Michael, who lived in a large two storied house on the corner across from Croal St trench and Yvonne, Donald and Sue Willems also from Croal St. My cousins, Uncle Charlie’s, family Wendy,Penny Christopher and Brenda Mae.  There were always the children from the Flats: Peter Willems, Terry and Robin Logan, Peter and Luke Gorinsky, the Solomans Howard Welshman and his family and of course all our friends such as Sam Driver and Ronald Westmaas and to name just two.

To  be fair Barbara Ann, Diane, Marg and Wendy were older than us and felt we were beneath their notice and therefore rarely played with us.

Once we had an awesome rubber gun fight under the Da Silva’s house. Sam Driver loved any wutlassness and was  front and centre! Boy those buck beads stung!

We used to play chaser around the flats. When you were caught the chaser gave you a cut with a leather belt so that lent wings to our feet and we often ran across the garage bridges hoping to drop the chaser behind and ignoring the danger of falling painfully between the concrete bridges.

The courtyard between the flats was our cricket pitch, football field and we once strung a cord across between the flats as to take the place of a volleyball net and played our own brand of volleyball!

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  • Brenda Tubach  On July 8, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    So many familiar names,Geoff. I enjoy your posts.

  • Tony Bollers  On July 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the memories Geoff. My memories were very similar to what you have written! I knew all of the names you mentioned here. I also remember my rubber gun too!

  • Elizabeth Abdool  On July 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Nice Geoff! Those were the days my friend … I thought they’d never end!

  • Clyde Duncan  On July 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    “Once we had an awesome rubber gun fight under the Da Silva’s house. Sam Driver loved any wutlassness and was front and centre! Boy those buck beads stung!”

    Could someone please tell us if Sam Driver is related to Richard Driver??

  • Clyde Duncan  On July 18, 2018 at 10:34 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On July 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

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