Friday, September 4, 2015

I had been there before ........


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 the estate. 
   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 Bubbles.  
   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.

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