An article on slave quarters reminded me of an experience I
am sharing publicly for the first time.
Many years ago when I was at CPTC in Jamaica, I went with a video
crew to interview the owner of one of our old plantation estates Good Hope in
Trelawny. As executive producer, I wasn't part of the production crew. I went
along out of curiousity and was therefore free to make my own observations of
what I saw.
The tour was intensive and extensive and our guide, Patrick
Tennyson, whose family owned the estate at that time was very knowledgeable about
He took us all over the estate, some parts in ruins, but he give
us the history of intriguing old buildings, the old slave hospital, old stone
walls, beautiful landscape, the well preserved Great House.
There was a section with just rubble with the remains of one
or two rusty old iron implements. This was the slave quarters. I have no
explanation of what I experienced on this site after he informed us that this
was the area where the slaves were housed. There are a couple seconds of my
life that time reversed and I 'met' a slave called Jacob who instructed me to
tell his story. I still get goose pimples when I recall the incident. I felt as
if I actually was transported into past time seeing huts and people dimly –
everything ghostly. It could only have been a brief time because nobody sensed that
anything was wrong with me.
For the rest of the day I followed the crew and our guide around
in a daze. But all that I saw burned into my imagination, so some time later I
wrote Jacob's story. It was published, in1991, in my collection of short stories titled Singerman by Peepal Tree Press as Jacob
This is a very scary story for which I have absolutely no
explanation. I re- read the story just now. It still scares me, and I am sad
that so much of it can still be considered contemporary, for Jacob's story got
mixed up with his descendant, Bubbles.
See review page: http://www.peepaltreepress.com/review_list.asp?au_id=10
The tour was intensive and extensive and our guide, Patrick Tennyson, whose family owned the estate at that time was very knowledgeable about the estate.