Charity Begins At Home

Standing proud at the end of Monsegue street, the left side of  the longest street in Port-of-Spain, #10 Oxford street boasts a quaint, very humble house where I grew up.

It’s been about six years since we moved next door to a slightly bigger upstairs apartment but the house next door will always be my home.

The yard I played in with my cousins and neighbours was very green. Lots of flowering trees, and one or two fruit trees made play time exciting. We ate guava and cherry ‘chow‘ until we were sick of it and drank juice made from the freshly picked limes from the tree outside.

‘As long as the door could close.’ was my Great Aunt’s rule of thumb, so the house was always full many Carnival days like this one. Everybody from ‘country side’, ‘foreign’ or ‘up de road’ would use #10 Oxford Street as the pit stop when feteing or when they were tired after jumping up in the hot sun on Monday and Tuesday and when their batteries were recharged they were gone again until nightfall.

Apart from that, the three bedroom house always had lots of people. If I remember correctly, at one time eight of us shared the space – my great Aunt (to whom the house belonged), my mother and I, a cousin, my aunt and her two children.

That is easily the biggest thing I miss about that house. It had a real homey feeling.  Twenty of us could be there and it never felt like it was too crowded. Family would always randomly drop by to check in on our beloved Aunty Esme and bring with them their stories of their childhood days, their Carnival experiences and all the times ghetto life was too real.  Sitting in that small living room bonding with my family as they reminisced is the highlight of my childhood.

We’ve all grown and moved on to bigger homes where we have all the space we need. As I mentioned before, my mother moved to a place next door and my aunt moved to a house in the back. Family still come regularly and now we don’t have to worry about the door closing because they now have three options.

Our House: What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HOME.

Sunset in Port-of-Spain and my childhood home … From #8 Oxford Street
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