This is a transcript of a recording of Ivan Alleyne made in Lyda’s Bar, Charlotteville, Tobago on twenty first February two thousand and thirteen. Steve Salfield asked the questions and Lyda Murray commented.

Ivan was born on sixth March nineteen twenty four and was eighty nine at the time of this recording.

SS Ivan, who were your parents?

IA My father was Ralfie Alleyne better known as Charphilus Alleyne and my mother was Mary Alleyne better known as Disown, Mary Macpherson before she marry. My father born in Charlotteville, at Bottom Bay right to the beach at the end.

SS Did you know your grandparents?

IA My father’s mother was Abigail, she really came from Plymouth. I trying to remember the father’s name. I have it home on a paper. He came from Charlotteville.

SS Can you go further back?

IA No I can’t go further back. Charphilus was the only son and there were 5 girls.

My mother’s mother was Komcie Felix from Parlatuvier, and her father was Charles Macpherson, from Delaford.

SS Do you know where your ancestors came from in Africa?

IA They never talked about where they came from.

SS Do others?

IA I don’t believe anyone could tell you that.

SS How many children have you had?

IA Ivan laughs. Most of my children outside with different ladies, none with first wife, and five with second wife.

SS Where do your children live?

IA Some live in Charlotteville and some all about.

SS If you have children outside you had to pay for them?

IA I try to help out when they were small.

SS You had brothers and sisters?

IA A lot. My mother made fourteen children.

SS Where did you come?

IA Where did I come? I come…. let me tell you: Alvin first, Alvoseen third, Abidega fifth, I come eight.

SS Where were you born?

IA In Charlotteville, right Belle Aire I was born, where I’m living now.

SS What did your father do?

IA He was a continair on the roads, a road worker. A government job but not payable like today. In them days they was like fifty cents a day. He didn’t depend on that alone. If he had depended on that alone he couldn’t survive. During the time he was doing that he was working his land, his plantation. In them days you survive more by your land.

SS So he had a big garden?

IA Yes. Cocoa and provisions: Plantain, potato, tanya and all these things. So you sell them. Men will buy and take to Trinidad. In them days we supplying Trinidad with food. Charlotteville used to supply Trinidad with provisions. The steamer would come right here.

SS Where did the steamer come?

IA Right to Man o War Bay. Right here.

SS Was there a jetty then?

IA No. No jetty. The steamer would land over there, you see where that boat is, right there. The smaller boats would come ashore with the goods.

SS Was that a motor boat or rowing boat?

IA They row the boat from the steamer to shore. No engine then. This was in my father’s day and in my day. I grow up with that.

SS What about the cocoa?

IA In them days men couldn’t afford to buy land. The estate would give them a piece of land to work on a contract. Sometimes you work that land for twenty years, the cocoa bear, and as long as the cocoa reach so it could make money, they take it away from you They may pay you twenty cents a root for a tree. If the contract get seven hundred trees, they pay for that. When they see that this contract producing cocoa they take away the contract and pay you. The first picking they make they pay you back. After that you have to go and work somewhere else. Before they take it the cocoa was yours. That’s how the estate get so big and make the money on your head.

SS What did you think about that?

IA Well in them days you work for the white man. In them days that is the way of living here. You didn’t have no land. The Charlotteville you see now isn’t what it was then. In them days you would see about five fishing boats here. From what I could remember, fish was selling about twelve cent a pound.

SS Because there was so much?

IA There was plenty fish. Beef was selling here at fourteen cent a pound, when it make Christmas time.

SS Was it the same kind of fish you get these days?

IA Well we used to get the same kind of fish. More deep sea fish. We used to get a lot of Amblyn, Snapper, Kingfish – right where you see that boat, we used to throw right there. You would catch kingfish right there, big, big kingfish. Now they have to go outside. Things change.

We had two seine owners here, Loopy Williams and a fella called Marcus Alleyne, that was in the thirties.

SS Was it expensive to own a seine net?

IA Well you see, in them days, them people who had a seine, they called them BIg Shot. (Ivan laughed.) And a next fella come behind them a fella called Woods, Oneseat, he had a seine too.

SS What was his real name?

IA Nicholson.

SS Would they catch fish all year round in the seine?

IA Well there were times they wouldn’t catch and times you’ll catch a lot. We used to get more fish in them days and we didn’t have the amount of boats. Remember the village was not developed like today. In the thirties you wouldn’t find the amount of people.

SS What kind of fish would they catch in the seine?

IA Bonito, Kovali, Greenback, Amber fish, same fish as we getting now, and Jacks.

SS What about sugar?

IA Your parents scarcely buy sugar in the shop, we had cane. They wake you three or four in morning you had to go on mill. I’d be riding and two or three boys would ???. I used to ride, with uncle Kevin Moore. A set of big men cutting. I come up with my tin tied in a towel. That could last for two years. Them make their own mill. Dig a hole in a tree. I’d be riding. Pushing the cane to get the juice out. If we had donkeys they suck the macass. You could sell by the cup. It’s stronger than what we get in the shop. Almost every home have a mill. Our fore parents made the old time mills. I saw the mills from slavery days.

When you get a cup of cocoa tea for breakfast you work from seven to four and you can’t hungry. It’s a food.

Those days, those days!

SS When you were a boy did you go to school?

IA Yes to the methodist school. I started at five or six. My headmaster was Mr Walters. My last principal was Mr Tull. When I was small education was free up till sixteen. I didn’t go to secondary school. I had to go out and try to make ends meet. Your parents had to pay for high school but not primary.

SS Did you ever travel to Trinidad or anywhere outside?

IA I used to go to Trinidad often when I was young to watch cricket.

SS Did you play?

IA I played cricket around here, I played for Charlotteville when I was a boy.

LM Steve you know you asked some questions about some place names?

SS Do you know Congo Hill?

IA Where Mr Paul lives that was Congo Hill. It was also called Core Ridge.

SS JD Elder talked about Congo Town too.

IA I don’t know Congo Town.

SS Ma Rose point?

IA That is behind so. Quite behind Pirates’ Bay. You wouldn’t see it from here. It’s a piece of rock.

SS Do you know any stories about Ma Rose?

IA No I don’t know any stories.

SS What was life like when you were a boy?

IA Life was hard you know. In nineteen forty many Americans came here and the village start to change. In Flagstaff in nineteen forties. They paid good money for work. They employ a lot of men. Them men was the biggest paid men around. I now started to work about a year. When the truck pass they yell out to you, hello you poor house boy. They give you a joke because their salary was high. The first time I see hundred dollar was nineteen forty one. A fella working for the Americans showed me. Men started to develop themselves, Make better homes. If you work for fifty cents a day you can’t do much.

SS Did the Americans come into the village a lot?

IA Every day.

SS Black or white?

IA White. We used to go there to watch TV. They had about seven buildings there. Toothpaste, soap and them things, you could go and buy at the PX.

SS Did you make friends?

IA They were very friendly.

SS There must be people here whose father was American?

IA Yes but I can’t call names. They used to come here in the shop and drink. They used to shell ships outside. They had radar. They come here to secure T&T.

The biggest boat was the Rodney from England. Then the Delhi. The Hood. Real war boats. Frobisher from America, a training ship. They used to come ashore and play cricket and after, they invite you on board and we go and have a good time. You could go only for an hour. I saw a fella in a chain. They said he was bad and they chain him.

When the Americans were here the cocoa price was up. Right up in the air. In forties and fifties.

SS So everybody was better off?

IA It get destroyed in sixty three. When the hurricane came and destroyed the lands. After the hurricane, a lot of birds came as vermin. Birds you never see before come in from Grenada, from Barbados and they eat your cocoa flat. Who cocoa survive the hurricane, you gets nothing because a lot of birds eat your cocoa flat down.

SS Was that parrots?

IA The parrot is one. Before the hurricane we had parrot but not that amount. We would shoot them, but after the hurricane you get three or four thousand come in one time, So when you have two or three thousand parrots come in to feed, in a day your cocoa all gone. The government didn’t have no control for that.

SS Why did the parrots increase so much?

IA They come from all different countries and come in. Mr Turpin he had someone called Molochai to control them. You workin’ your land to survive, no matter what you do you can’t get cocoa. So, many men abandon their land in sixty three because nothing getting from the bird and them. Because the men get so disgusted they had to do something else to survive. You had to plant other produce like potato.

We used to ship a lot to Trinidad when the steamer come here , once a month. If it reach here at two o’clock in the day to take load, it will take cargo and it will leave with cargo. If it come at twelve it have to overnight you know, because so much produce it had to take. Trinidad was surviving from we and now we have to buy from Trinidad.

SS What cargo did they bring in?

IA They bring cargo like flour, sugar, rice, saltfish. All these things. A fellow used to buy ice from Trinidad. They shipped the ice in a barrel. They fill it with sawdust with the ice inside. When the boat reached here they roll it up the sand and that ice used to remain for months in the barrel. So you see all knowledge in the village decrease.

SS A lot of people have told me the parrots increased after the hurricane, but why?

IA The parrots fly into Charlotteville and eat our crop flat. So the estate had to close down. Charlotteville Estate was shipping three hundred bags a month, Cambleton Estate may ship sixty. Hermitage may ship twenty. Well let me tell you this. My father work in the garden and produce potato. It have people come in from Trinidad, they call them speculators. If you have five bag of potatoes the fella might tell you he don’t have enough money to buy the five bags. He gonna take the five bag of potato from you and take to Trinidad. He gonna pay you when he come back. When he come back he may tell you he meet bad marketing, he tellin’ me bad market.

SS So he take the crops and not give you money?

IA He take the crops from you. Sometime he give you money on the spot. Sometimes he say boy I done buy already when I sell I come back. When they come back they tell you they lost.

Let me tell you something about cocoa. When they ship the cocoa, a company called Alstan; they will buy cocoa. But when the cocoa dry you have to dance it. When you dance it, it come shine like. Since you have cocoa you have to have a tray to dry it. When it dry you dance it before you sell it. When it dry you put it in a box like this and dance it like that. (He demonstrates.) You gonna ship the cocoa to Trinidad and then he will pay you.

SS Who would own the tray?

LM It’s your tray. You build the tray.

IA It’s owned by you.

SS I thought the cocoa was dried at the cocoa house.

IA That is the estate.

SS So you didn’t sell your cocoa to the estate?

IA No you sell straight to Trinidad the estate is a different setup. The estate sent theirs to Trinidad. In them days the woman working as hard as men you know in the plantation. Work in the plantation like man. Now when you see women, they ain’t doing nothing you know. Them days the woman working hard like the man.

SS What about children, did they work?

IA If children used to work? You ask a nice question. In them days in the thirties and forties, your parents had cocoa, you had to work when school close. You work in the field all the time. You a boy you have a cutlass. Six of you, your partners, they work with you today, tomorrow you work with them, tomorrow with somebody else. You help your father clean the land. And the time for toting the cocoa that was something else. When you picked it you use your head. If you don’t have a donkey to assist you to tote the produce, all have to go on to your head. It’s either a donkey or your head. In them days plenty donkeys. Plenty

SS Did your father have donkeys?

IA My father had two donkeys. One at a time. One died buy a next one. Because where we land was we had to get donkey.

SS Where was his land?

IA At Wild Cow. You call it Wild Cow. It’s at L’Anse Fourmi side, past Hermitage. But remember in them days children was to work, they couldn’t be lazy like now. When your father say you have to go tomorrow and tote cocoa well you have to go. Them children now they ain’t doing nothin’. But when I was a child fifteen or sixteen years, you put a load on your head. I used to put half a bag on me head.

SS From Wild Cow?

IA No, from a place called Doctor Stout. Just before Caroline. Above up there. All there was cocoa. I took a lot of loads. I was glad to tote it.

SS Did you get paid?

IA These was your parents! Your father and mother might pick cocoa today. They have to leave it to sweat for six or seven days. When it done sweat, you have to tote it home. You children have to tote. Tote it home to dry.

SS A few days in the tray?

IA According to how much sun you have it may take a week to dry or a week and a half.

SS Then you dance it. What does that do?

IA Well when you dance it, it ready to sell. Throw a little water in the box and then you start to dance it.

SS Does that break it up?

IA No No! You dance it to get it clean. If you sell it so you get less money. The produce has to be up to a standard. Then you get money. You ever see a cow swim?

SS No.

IA Well when the steamer in and they shipping cow, they lead the cow down to the sea there, and the sailor and them take the cow, the cow swim. When it reach out there to the steamer, they put on something and pull up the cow by its sides so. Yeah.

SS So you selling cows and pigs to Trinidad. Did the pigs swim?

IA Yeah. Pigs can swim but they can’t swim too far or they cut their throats with their toes. Donkeys could swim too.

SS Did you breed donkeys?

IA Yes. You have Jack and Jenny. You have a Jenny and you want a foal. I was a good rider you know. I used to ride a horse.

SS Did you have a horse?

IA I never had you know, but I used to ride. I was a very good worker. If the overseer had a horse he used to ride to Speyside or to Parlatuvier. We had three district: Speyside, Scarborough and Moriah. Three district in Tobago in the thirties backwards. In them days for you to make a chief overseer they take you from Trinidad. They never used to make a chief overseer from Tobago.

SS Would the overseers be African or Indian?

IA Indian or nigger but most was Indian. In the fifties they stop that. They make men from Tobago chief overseer.

We used to walk from here to Parlatuvier to carry a message. We used to work in L’Anse Fourmi and walk there. We had to reach L’anse Fourmi for seven o’clock in the morning and knocking off time was four o’clock.

SS How long would it take to walk there?

IA The road wasn’t nice like it is now. we used to leave at four o’clock in the morning to reach there for seven o’clock.

SS What time would you get back?

IA We’d get back at seven o’clock in the evening.

SS Who was the man who built the first jetty?

IA That was Beresford Campbell.

LM Right in front here opposite the door.

SS When did he build it?

LM Around seventy six. I opened in nineteen seventy three. He never went to school but he was an engineer. He alone build it because he didn’t want no one to help him. He build a house on the jetty. He was living there alone. His family was living on the land.

IA He had boat. And his father was a man just like he, building something alone.

LM He alone sawed his wood.

IA And when he doing it you couldn’t ask him no question. You could watch him but don’t ask no question. He never like to answer. That was his way.

LM The only one who could ask him a question is me.

IA They were friends.

IA That man had a garden down toward L’Anse Fourmi and he go to the garden with the boat. He leave the boat in the sea and he have something set up in the garden.

LM A pulley.

IA And all the produce, he wheel it over the sea into the boat. His garden at Wild Cow.

LM He had a pole in the sea and he attach some wires over the sea go into the garden, so when he go to the garden he have a kind of thing like a box. He go in it and pulled himself up with a rope to the garden. And when he finish work he pull himself right back to the boat.

IA And the provisions.

SS I should have something like that at my house!

LM If he was alive I would have got him to do something.

IA His father was a fella called Arnold Campbell. He was my best friend. Something on his house fell down. He get a jack and he alone fixed it. He was a good carpenter. Beresford never went to engineering school. He used to knit seine. He does everything.

SS Did they have Obeah practice?

IA People in them days did know more things than we know now.

SS What kind of things? Medicine and so on?

IA Yes, in them days if you were sick they give you medicine. If a woman was having a baby they had a midwife. Like me and Lyda we were delivered by midwife. Last week a two years child gets sting in Trinidad by a scorpion. First they took the child to a hospital but they had no cure then they took the child to San Fernando, but the child died.

If you get sting by a scorpion you put some rum in a glass and lot of sugar. It make you vomit the poison and you will live. I did it. That survived me. I was about 14 or 15 years. Me and me mother went in the garden to root some potato, because of the market, and the scorpion sting me. And when the scorpion sting me my mother cut a cane, got a sugar cane for me to suck. She mix some dirt and put that in my mouth through the dirt. She say to me go home. When I walk I find me toes can’t take the earth, and all over they getting numb, and I come and I fall in the road. In them days people working garden, garden, garden garden. Some gardener meet me lying down there. She say I wonder if I could carry you. That woman bend down. She say come give me your hand and she pull me right up. All down one side dead now. We meet a young fella and he take me and put me right in the house. Me mother in the garden but she suffer something. As soon as me mother reach, all me body dead now. She gave me a little calabash. She said drink this. From the time I drink it I know was something funny because of the taste and I start to vomit. It like poison. The first nurse happen to come to Charlotteville, Nurse Douglas. She was friendly with A Nicholson. I call she. She came. She say get some rum. Me mother got a nip of rum. She made it sweet. When I drink that I start to vomit. I bring up every ounce of poison. I tell you this because you might be in need. Doctor coming here only once a month, so if anything happen your parents need to know what to do. Now if any little something, get doctor. People don’t use bush again.

Were certain people know about it. Almost everybody. No medicine doctor.

The first doctor I know is Doctor Black, a district doctor, a white man, Trinidadian.

Then there was a doctor called Dr Bishop. He was from Grenada. Tall, strapping, he was a doctor who knows everything, believe me. He know the good and he know the bad. Yes, he know the good and the bad. A fella, a schoolboy went to school in Speyside, in Lucyvale, passing through a place, it had mangoes. He saw the mango tree and he started picking mango. He shake the mango and whether it ripe or green it drop. And the owner of that mango tree was coming, he saw the boy and asked him to come down and the boy came down. The owner hit him with a one wood slap and break his knee, and when the boy started to bawl he killed the boy you know. Because if he leave him there with a broken foot the boy could talk, so what he decided is kill the boy. When the boy found dead they had to call the doctor now. And when he came Dr Bishop, it had a lot of people all around the body by now. When he sees the body, he always used to wear a black tie, he take off the tie. When he give permission to move the body, as he turn, he drop the tie. A lady went and pick up the tie and say doctor you drop your tie. He said na na, my God that is too damn fast. He know why he do it. He know why he drop the tie and he say that is too damn fast.

He drop it for a reason. The next morning they hold the man.

SS How did that work?

IA The doctor dropped the tie. I tell you he was a doctor who know. The lady pick up the tie too damn fast. He dropped the tie for a purpose.

SS What purpose?

IA He would know, I wouldn’t know. The police hold the man next morning. He was the witness. The man that commit the murder, his name Douglie Melville or Melvin. He used to work with cocoa board.

SS I don’t understand. Lyda do you understand?

LM I would understand you wouldn’t. He’s talking about Obeah.

IA I told you it was a doctor knows everything, and if I told you that you have to read it from there. He was a Grenadian. I went Grenada 1976.

IA My mother used to suffer with she heart. Anything that happen in the village from the forties is inside of here (Ivan points to his head). I’m going down with it. He was our district doctor.

He say, “Oh God Mary, you gon’ live till you old,” every time my mother used to go to that doctor. Them days there the doctor did give you good medicine. In them days the doctor did mix the medicine . He use the cork. He used to put his nail in the cork head and he talk. When they done they put the label on the bottle so you would know how to take your medicine, whether its one spoon a day or what.

SS Why did the doctor put his nail in the cork?

IA I don’t know, he would know. There are things you would do with reason. I wouldn’t know the reason, you would know. He put his nail in the cork. Not for everybody you know. He would know. Them days we had very good doctors. They were not plentiful like now.

In them days the first person I know to have a car, was my teacher, headmaster Mr Tull. The second vehicle was Mr Turpin’s. The first man to own a truck in Charlotteville was Mr Moore’s brother and DeFreitas. We used to call him Darwin Moore, Dolphy Moore’s son. He had a small truck, we used to call it Leaping Lena – it was a small truck it used to break down a lot. The owner was a good mechanic, Darwin Moore, brother of Mr Moore but not on the mother’s side, on the father’s side. Llewelyn De Freitas was an overseer on Charlotteville estate and, he bought a very big truck.

SS Not a common name here, DeFreitas.

IA No, a small family. Father was a mixed person.

SS Who were the big families in Charlotteville?

IA Well now, when I was a child, Alleyne, Murray, Moore were the 3 biggest.

LM I was a Dillon, McKenna.

SS Can you remember your grandparents?

IA Ahh. My mother father, his name Philip Macpherson. He was a wild man, make plenty babies, he like plenty ladies.

SS Do you remember when he died?

IA No

SS What were the practices when someone died?

LM They never used to put them in ice.

IA In them days when you die today they bury you tomorrow because ice didn’t come in yet. In the early days they rest you on a piece of galvanise. They rest an iron on you, like the iron you use to iron clothes or your belly swell and you would not fit in the box.

In them days when people die, many people, after they bury they do a lot of mischief. Now people have more sense, they prepare the dead better.

SS You mean their spirit would do mischief. What sort of mischief?

IA People used to see them come back. They come and interfere, live with you in your sleep, do all kind of thing.

SS And they don’t do that now?

IA They don’t do that now, knowledge increase.

SS Then what happens next? Do they have a wake or what?

IA Ivan laughs. Listen, if you die today they bury you tomorrow. All night they sit an’ do a lot of singing. Now they keep you for days. In them days you die today they try to bury you tomorrow. They didn’t use ice.

Then they bongo all night. Play drums, dance.

Ivan sings:

Arima tonight, Sande Grande tomorrow night – we oh

Gimme d’ ting

De boom de party sing

OH!!!

Them days bongo was nice, bongo was nice. In them days there, I looking out for you and you looking out for me. But now …… you know the young people today is not the young people of yesterday. Young people yesterday they had more respect, everything.

One of the most biggest cut arse I get from my father, my father was a continair on the road as I told you. He working on the line where his land is, so when he finish work, if he put 3 hours working on the road, the balance of time he go on the land to work. Our grandparents house was just above our house, and I was living alongside Lyda, so we grow up as one.

So our grandfather was there a Friday morning my mother was telling me and me bigger brother go an hook up the donkey and go and reach me father in the garden working. So we had to put the load on the donkey and we had to come to reach me father in the garden working.

So they had a treat in the school the Friday, so we know we get a mauby to drink and something to eat. So we start to get on. There would be plenty cake, and you have sweet water. So if we have to go and meet me father we lose out from that. So we displease about it. So we start to play Manisoot?? with me mother. We start to talk all.

So she father heard what we all say.

So me grandfather say hey – me not hear what you say, me didn’t hear anything what ya say, wait till me compe come tonight. We were neighbours so you call him compe.

In them days if you had a neighbour, the men call each other compe and the woman call makme. So grandfather come in the yard and call “Compe.” So when we heard the man come and say that, all we could have done now, is hook the donkey. Go and meet your father because if he don’t see you he would expect you or think something would happen. So we go down garden and meet me father and me father hook up the donkey with the load and we come back. Well we went and we meet the home and we say well that done.

Our grandfather meet at the night and he come in the yard and he say me compe, Ralphie you get two …. and when they done talking, my father gone with him. My father was short, he had a belt broad, a leather belt. When he hold it, he gonna hit you here you know. When he throw, all blade, like a blade.

Is the biggest cut arse I get, me and me next brother. It was the biggest cut arse I got that night through our grandfather, Dillon. He caused me to get the cut arse.

Them days there, if you and my father talking, I as a child can’t meet you and talk to you you know.

SS Was there much crime?

IA Man there was not much crime. Today is a different age. Let me show you something. Children today come to my house. I have fridge in the house. If you put a bottle water in the fridge, it will cold and they drink it all. But in them days you not have time to do that. We had two pipes in Charlotteville only two. Two stand pipes for government, one at the junction here and one in front Methodist church when you going up to white man. We had a spring. It still there what we call Top River and Moo Shaken is out Cambleton at Moo Shaken river. So when you come from school you had to go and take water. You lower a little calabash into water and tip into the bucket. Sometime the bucket that I take to the river, I can’t go back with that bucket. Bucket can’t carry no water. Sometimes I meet before you and you want to pull before me. Children always start to fight. So I and a girl fight. I say my turn to fill, and you go in my turn. This young girl come and meet me and say she must fill before me. We start to fight and that girl take me bucket and throw into bottom bush, and I go home crying. Me mother say I had to go and pull that out.

We had water, in Charlotteville from the fifties. They started to run it through Charlotteville.

SS What about music?

IA Well music in those days.. we used to have good music. I had a lot of girls from dancing. We used to have a dance in the village here. When we had Methodist service the church wouldn’t get a dance, we had people coming in from Thursday and they ain’t goin out till Tuesday. People from Tobago coming in to sleep. Our grandmother and them they had to cook. Sunday all day they cookin. People coming in. They feeding people. Monday somebody will give the dance, the church wouldn’t give the dance. We are dancing from 1 to 5 in the evening, and dance stop then. Dance start back at 8 till about 2 in the morning, so I got a lot of girls from dancing. In them days if some fella asking your girl to dance you using this – shows fist – this you using- we didn’t know about knife or cutlass.

IA Y’understan. I had good days on earth. My time wouldn’t come back but I had very good days. And all my days the policeman never hold me, never touch me. I never give me parents no trouble.

SS Who made the music?

IA Charlotteville had a band.

SS What would they play?

IA We had saxophone, clarinet, drums all kind of things. Good musicians. We had man playing bass. So we had good band.

SS Were there music teachers here?

IA Yeah. One time JD (JD Elder) used to teach music, and Teacher Jack.

SS What kind of music were you dancing to?

IA Foxtrot, Castian, A dance called Fox. When I take my girlfriend to a dance, and a Fox start up I used to tell her the only body to dance with her is me. You are my sweetheart. You takin’ your time and move.

LM All the fellas use to take your sweeheart when you dance. They hold you and pull you.

IA You pay for she at the door. Intermission you had benches to sit down and you would treat your partner. We had good days. When you and the girl go to a dance you deck, properly deck. You used to order your cloth from England. We had tailors here. Cloth from Bradford to make a suit. Sometimes it take three months. You ordered with a fella call Alphonse Christmas and a fella call Alcie Moore. They had pattern books and you choose what you want and the price and everything. They would order it. When the parcel come back, you pay. Sometimes it take three months.

LM My uncle was a tailor.

SS Wouldn’t you feel hot in that heavy cloth?

LM No

IA When you go to a wedding is a suit you have to wear a suit. The girl would dress her best and the man would dress to the best. A woman getting married would have ten or twenty persons to go to church with she. If wedding today at eleven o clock, you ask your partner where she dressing. I go to the house to meet me partner and walk to the church.

SS Sometimes a man and woman would live together if not married?

IA Yeah, yeah yeah, we did all that.

I married twice. My first wedding was 1961 in Trinidad. My wife was from here. Married on Sunday and came back to Tobago on Tuesday. She died in nineteen seventy six. I married back in nineteen eighty, thirteen December. Thirty-two years with my present wife. We had five children, four girls and a boy.

I want to give you something about nineteen seventy, the black power movement. I was so cut up. I was so cut up. The foolish movement they make in Tobago. The black power movement. If they got their way it would mean you couldn’t have been here. All foreigners shouldn’t own no part of Tobago. That is nineteen seventy. They march from Scarborough to Charlotteville on a Saturday evening, hundreds of men, barefoot you know. All the places in Tobago closed. People were afraid they would bash their places. Kinda violent. They was against white people. They shouldn’t own nothing. Estates. I tell you. My wife kicked me that night. I take the kick but she wasn’t having it. When I look at it she was right and I was wrong.

You see everybody was afraid of them. I took some men home by me. I know them as friends. And when they came round the bay I sitting here with Murray. They barging in. Everybody scared. They were from all over Tobago mixed up. I talkin’ about hundreds of men. When they came down here Murray closed the shop. I say Murray don’t be afraid man they can’t do nuttin’, some of those fellas I know them. So I go out and talk to them because I know some of them. One was a police. I say to him you shouldn’t be in this boy. He say I’m sorry. His name is Junior. I said to him how is you in this boy and you is a police?

“Me afraid boy.” And he said to me, “Alleyne, white people ain’t got no place in Tobago, they have to go back.” By this time it was about half past five in the evening. They need to stay you know. They marching from here again this Sunday morning. So now that Sunday is Methodist harvest. So in them days there, every home preparing for harvest. Almost every home in Charlotteville preparing for harvest because you have a lot of strangers coming in, you have to entertain them. So my wife at home baking a lot of cake and bake your beef and all kind of thing for tomorrow. These men they hungry you know. I took five of them home. My friends I knew good, so I took them home. By this time my wife, she saw me coming. So Lyda’s aunt was one of the ladies in my house with me wife and 3 other ladies. So when they saw me an’ the men coming they start to run. My wife ran off to a neighbour. When I went in the house I bring out a bottle of VAT 19. Sitting together with the men and them with the bottle. They say “me hungry boy.” I went in the kitchen I took out a long bread, I slice it up, put it in the pot. I took out some meat and I give it to the men and them. It was men I know, but I was surprised especially at the police fella.

Night come now. Now, you had to be careful. To push you out of me house that night or to tell you boy you can’t sleep here. It’s two room, me and me wife in one room. To me at the time it was looking so harsh to know that I know you and tell them you can’t stay here. But remember, my friend is not my wife friend. Your friend is not bound to be your wife friend. Me wife know the black power movement and she ain’t want to meet that. When me wife came back she meet me and the men together. And she gone in the room and she hit me woowww. She slam the door. Remember they big men. They would know that something ain’t right. She ain’t want them there. She slam the room door. She ain’t coming out back you know. I say, Ivan is only one night. I say to them, “lie down in that room there.” When I went in my room, I turn on the light, because she take off the light there, to lie down. Put on me sleeping clothes. As I stand up, I ain’t gone to bed yet, me wife give me a kick to me chest. The kick push the breath. I tell she, sh,sh. I didn’t want them to know she gave me a kick. I can’t say nuttin’. I tell she, take it easy, don’ let the men an them know. I realise she… you had to think twice you know, it’s her house. You want to please and know you have a love. When I get the kick, I say sh sh when I go on the bed me can’t guarantee.

Every morning I go pasture and I mindin cow. The men and them leaving early. So me and the men have to leave early one time. So when the men and them get up, I get up. And them come down and leave and me a go a pasture. And when I come back I didn’t say a word because I know I was the wrong one.

I married twice. Some men, some of us, know when you do something wrong. Any man who is thinking should know when you do something wrong. I ain’t fighting it. So when I come back and she started to get on, she accused me. So a’we tell our neighbours how it happen. I vex with her and she say you shouldn’t be in this march with black power.

Boy I tell you. It was a stupid movement. If I have a piece of land to sell I could sell it to who I choose to. What is the difference between me and you? So the black power movement there wasn’t a nice one.

This is a transcript of a recording of Ivan Alleyne made in Lyda’s Bar, Charlotteville, Tobago on twenty first February two thousand and thirteen. Steve Salfield asked the questions and Lyda Murray commented.

Ivan was born on sixth March nineteen twenty four and was eighty nine at the time of this recording.

SS Ivan, who were your parents?

IA My father was Ralfie Alleyne better known as Charphilus Alleyne and my mother was Mary Alleyne better known as Disown, Mary Macpherson before she marry. My father born in Charlotteville, at Bottom Bay right to the beach at the end.

SS Did you know your grandparents?

IA My father’s mother was Abigail, she really came from Plymouth. I trying to remember the father’s name. I have it home on a paper. He came from Charlotteville.

SS Can you go further back?

IA No I can’t go further back. Charphilus was the only son and there were 5 girls.

My mother’s mother was Komcie Felix from Parlatuvier, and her father was Charles Macpherson, from Delaford.

SS Do you know where your ancestors came from in Africa?

IA They never talked about where they came from.

SS Do others?

IA I don’t believe anyone could tell you that.

SS How many children have you had?

IA Ivan laughs. Most of my children outside with different ladies, none with first wife, and five with second wife.

SS Where do your children live?

IA Some live in Charlotteville and some all about.

SS If you have children outside you had to pay for them?

IA I try to help out when they were small.

SS You had brothers and sisters?

IA A lot. My mother made fourteen children.

SS Where did you come?

IA Where did I come? I come…. let me tell you: Alvin first, Alvoseen third, Abidega fifth, I come eight.

SS Where were you born?

IA In Charlotteville, right Belle Aire I was born, where I’m living now.

SS What did your father do?

IA He was a continair on the roads, a road worker. A government job but not payable like today. In them days they was like fifty cents a day. He didn’t depend on that alone. If he had depended on that alone he couldn’t survive. During the time he was doing that he was working his land, his plantation. In them days you survive more by your land.

SS So he had a big garden?

IA Yes. Cocoa and provisions: Plantain, potato, tanya and all these things. So you sell them. Men will buy and take to Trinidad. In them days we supplying Trinidad with food. Charlotteville used to supply Trinidad with provisions. The steamer would come right here.

SS Where did the steamer come?

IA Right to Man o War Bay. Right here.

SS Was there a jetty then?

IA No. No jetty. The steamer would land over there, you see where that boat is, right there. The smaller boats would come ashore with the goods.

SS Was that a motor boat or rowing boat?

IA They row the boat from the steamer to shore. No engine then. This was in my father’s day and in my day. I grow up with that.

SS What about the cocoa?

IA In them days men couldn’t afford to buy land. The estate would give them a piece of land to work on a contract. Sometimes you work that land for twenty years, the cocoa bear, and as long as the cocoa reach so it could make money, they take it away from you They may pay you twenty cents a root for a tree. If the contract get seven hundred trees, they pay for that. When they see that this contract producing cocoa they take away the contract and pay you. The first picking they make they pay you back. After that you have to go and work somewhere else. Before they take it the cocoa was yours. That’s how the estate get so big and make the money on your head.

SS What did you think about that?

IA Well in them days you work for the white man. In them days that is the way of living here. You didn’t have no land. The Charlotteville you see now isn’t what it was then. In them days you would see about five fishing boats here. From what I could remember, fish was selling about twelve cent a pound.

SS Because there was so much?

IA There was plenty fish. Beef was selling here at fourteen cent a pound, when it make Christmas time.

SS Was it the same kind of fish you get these days?

IA Well we used to get the same kind of fish. More deep sea fish. We used to get a lot of Amblyn, Snapper, Kingfish – right where you see that boat, we used to throw right there. You would catch kingfish right there, big, big kingfish. Now they have to go outside. Things change.

We had two seine owners here, Loopy Williams and a fella called Marcus Alleyne, that was in the thirties.

SS Was it expensive to own a seine net?

IA Well you see, in them days, them people who had a seine, they called them BIg Shot. (Ivan laughed.) And a next fella come behind them a fella called Woods, Oneseat, he had a seine too.

SS What was his real name?

IA Nicholson.

SS Would they catch fish all year round in the seine?

IA Well there were times they wouldn’t catch and times you’ll catch a lot. We used to get more fish in them days and we didn’t have the amount of boats. Remember the village was not developed like today. In the thirties you wouldn’t find the amount of people.

SS What kind of fish would they catch in the seine?

IA Bonito, Kovali, Greenback, Amber fish, same fish as we getting now, and Jacks.

SS What about sugar?

IA Your parents scarcely buy sugar in the shop, we had cane. They wake you three or four in morning you had to go on mill. I’d be riding and two or three boys would ???. I used to ride, with uncle Kevin Moore. A set of big men cutting. I come up with my tin tied in a towel. That could last for two years. Them make their own mill. Dig a hole in a tree. I’d be riding. Pushing the cane to get the juice out. If we had donkeys they suck the macass. You could sell by the cup. It’s stronger than what we get in the shop. Almost every home have a mill. Our fore parents made the old time mills. I saw the mills from slavery days.

When you get a cup of cocoa tea for breakfast you work from seven to four and you can’t hungry. It’s a food.

Those days, those days!

SS When you were a boy did you go to school?

IA Yes to the methodist school. I started at five or six. My headmaster was Mr Walters. My last principal was Mr Tull. When I was small education was free up till sixteen. I didn’t go to secondary school. I had to go out and try to make ends meet. Your parents had to pay for high school but not primary.

SS Did you ever travel to Trinidad or anywhere outside?

IA I used to go to Trinidad often when I was young to watch cricket.

SS Did you play?

IA I played cricket around here, I played for Charlotteville when I was a boy.

LM Steve you know you asked some questions about some place names?

SS Do you know Congo Hill?

IA Where Mr Paul lives that was Congo Hill. It was also called Core Ridge.

SS JD Elder talked about Congo Town too.

IA I don’t know Congo Town.

SS Ma Rose point?

IA That is behind so. Quite behind Pirates’ Bay. You wouldn’t see it from here. It’s a piece of rock.

SS Do you know any stories about Ma Rose?

IA No I don’t know any stories.

SS What was life like when you were a boy?

IA Life was hard you know. In nineteen forty many Americans came here and the village start to change. In Flagstaff in nineteen forties. They paid good money for work. They employ a lot of men. Them men was the biggest paid men around. I now started to work about a year. When the truck pass they yell out to you, hello you poor house boy. They give you a joke because their salary was high. The first time I see hundred dollar was nineteen forty one. A fella working for the Americans showed me. Men started to develop themselves, Make better homes. If you work for fifty cents a day you can’t do much.

SS Did the Americans come into the village a lot?

IA Every day.

SS Black or white?

IA White. We used to go there to watch TV. They had about seven buildings there. Toothpaste, soap and them things, you could go and buy at the PX.

SS Did you make friends?

IA They were very friendly.

SS There must be people here whose father was American?

IA Yes but I can’t call names. They used to come here in the shop and drink. They used to shell ships outside. They had radar. They come here to secure T&T.

The biggest boat was the Rodney from England. Then the Delhi. The Hood. Real war boats. Frobisher from America, a training ship. They used to come ashore and play cricket and after, they invite you on board and we go and have a good time. You could go only for an hour. I saw a fella in a chain. They said he was bad and they chain him.

When the Americans were here the cocoa price was up. Right up in the air. In forties and fifties.

SS So everybody was better off?

IA It get destroyed in sixty three. When the hurricane came and destroyed the lands. After the hurricane, a lot of birds came as vermin. Birds you never see before come in from Grenada, from Barbados and they eat your cocoa flat. Who cocoa survive the hurricane, you gets nothing because a lot of birds eat your cocoa flat down.

SS Was that parrots?

IA The parrot is one. Before the hurricane we had parrot but not that amount. We would shoot them, but after the hurricane you get three or four thousand come in one time, So when you have two or three thousand parrots come in to feed, in a day your cocoa all gone. The government didn’t have no control for that.

SS Why did the parrots increase so much?

IA They come from all different countries and come in. Mr Turpin he had someone called Molochai to control them. You workin’ your land to survive, no matter what you do you can’t get cocoa. So, many men abandon their land in sixty three because nothing getting from the bird and them. Because the men get so disgusted they had to do something else to survive. You had to plant other produce like potato.

We used to ship a lot to Trinidad when the steamer come here , once a month. If it reach here at two o’clock in the day to take load, it will take cargo and it will leave with cargo. If it come at twelve it have to overnight you know, because so much produce it had to take. Trinidad was surviving from we and now we have to buy from Trinidad.

SS What cargo did they bring in?

IA They bring cargo like flour, sugar, rice, saltfish. All these things. A fellow used to buy ice from Trinidad. They shipped the ice in a barrel. They fill it with sawdust with the ice inside. When the boat reached here they roll it up the sand and that ice used to remain for months in the barrel. So you see all knowledge in the village decrease.

SS A lot of people have told me the parrots increased after the hurricane, but why?

IA The parrots fly into Charlotteville and eat our crop flat. So the estate had to close down. Charlotteville Estate was shipping three hundred bags a month, Cambleton Estate may ship sixty. Hermitage may ship twenty. Well let me tell you this. My father work in the garden and produce potato. It have people come in from Trinidad, they call them speculators. If you have five bag of potatoes the fella might tell you he don’t have enough money to buy the five bags. He gonna take the five bag of potato from you and take to Trinidad. He gonna pay you when he come back. When he come back he may tell you he meet bad marketing, he tellin’ me bad market.

SS So he take the crops and not give you money?

IA He take the crops from you. Sometime he give you money on the spot. Sometimes he say boy I done buy already when I sell I come back. When they come back they tell you they lost.

Let me tell you something about cocoa. When they ship the cocoa, a company called Alstan; they will buy cocoa. But when the cocoa dry you have to dance it. When you dance it, it come shine like. Since you have cocoa you have to have a tray to dry it. When it dry you dance it before you sell it. When it dry you put it in a box like this and dance it like that. (He demonstrates.) You gonna ship the cocoa to Trinidad and then he will pay you.

SS Who would own the tray?

LM It’s your tray. You build the tray.

IA It’s owned by you.

SS I thought the cocoa was dried at the cocoa house.

IA That is the estate.

SS So you didn’t sell your cocoa to the estate?

IA No you sell straight to Trinidad the estate is a different setup. The estate sent theirs to Trinidad. In them days the woman working as hard as men you know in the plantation. Work in the plantation like man. Now when you see women, they ain’t doing nothing you know. Them days the woman working hard like the man.

SS What about children, did they work?

IA If children used to work? You ask a nice question. In them days in the thirties and forties, your parents had cocoa, you had to work when school close. You work in the field all the time. You a boy you have a cutlass. Six of you, your partners, they work with you today, tomorrow you work with them, tomorrow with somebody else. You help your father clean the land. And the time for toting the cocoa that was something else. When you picked it you use your head. If you don’t have a donkey to assist you to tote the produce, all have to go on to your head. It’s either a donkey or your head. In them days plenty donkeys. Plenty

SS Did your father have donkeys?

IA My father had two donkeys. One at a time. One died buy a next one. Because where we land was we had to get donkey.

SS Where was his land?

IA At Wild Cow. You call it Wild Cow. It’s at L’Anse Fourmi side, past Hermitage. But remember in them days children was to work, they couldn’t be lazy like now. When your father say you have to go tomorrow and tote cocoa well you have to go. Them children now they ain’t doing nothin’. But when I was a child fifteen or sixteen years, you put a load on your head. I used to put half a bag on me head.

SS From Wild Cow?

IA No, from a place called Doctor Stout. Just before Caroline. Above up there. All there was cocoa. I took a lot of loads. I was glad to tote it.

SS Did you get paid?

IA These was your parents! Your father and mother might pick cocoa today. They have to leave it to sweat for six or seven days. When it done sweat, you have to tote it home. You children have to tote. Tote it home to dry.

SS A few days in the tray?

IA According to how much sun you have it may take a week to dry or a week and a half.

SS Then you dance it. What does that do?

IA Well when you dance it, it ready to sell. Throw a little water in the box and then you start to dance it.

SS Does that break it up?

IA No No! You dance it to get it clean. If you sell it so you get less money. The produce has to be up to a standard. Then you get money. You ever see a cow swim?

SS No.

IA Well when the steamer in and they shipping cow, they lead the cow down to the sea there, and the sailor and them take the cow, the cow swim. When it reach out there to the steamer, they put on something and pull up the cow by its sides so. Yeah.

SS So you selling cows and pigs to Trinidad. Did the pigs swim?

IA Yeah. Pigs can swim but they can’t swim too far or they cut their throats with their toes. Donkeys could swim too.

SS Did you breed donkeys?

IA Yes. You have Jack and Jenny. You have a Jenny and you want a foal. I was a good rider you know. I used to ride a horse.

SS Did you have a horse?

IA I never had you know, but I used to ride. I was a very good worker. If the overseer had a horse he used to ride to Speyside or to Parlatuvier. We had three district: Speyside, Scarborough and Moriah. Three district in Tobago in the thirties backwards. In them days for you to make a chief overseer they take you from Trinidad. They never used to make a chief overseer from Tobago.

SS Would the overseers be African or Indian?

IA Indian or nigger but most was Indian. In the fifties they stop that. They make men from Tobago chief overseer.

We used to walk from here to Parlatuvier to carry a message. We used to work in L’Anse Fourmi and walk there. We had to reach L’anse Fourmi for seven o’clock in the morning and knocking off time was four o’clock.

SS How long would it take to walk there?

IA The road wasn’t nice like it is now. we used to leave at four o’clock in the morning to reach there for seven o’clock.

SS What time would you get back?

IA We’d get back at seven o’clock in the evening.

SS Who was the man who built the first jetty?

IA That was Beresford Campbell.

LM Right in front here opposite the door.

SS When did he build it?

LM Around seventy six. I opened in nineteen seventy three. He never went to school but he was an engineer. He alone build it because he didn’t want no one to help him. He build a house on the jetty. He was living there alone. His family was living on the land.

IA He had boat. And his father was a man just like he, building something alone.

LM He alone sawed his wood.

IA And when he doing it you couldn’t ask him no question. You could watch him but don’t ask no question. He never like to answer. That was his way.

LM The only one who could ask him a question is me.

IA They were friends.

IA That man had a garden down toward L’Anse Fourmi and he go to the garden with the boat. He leave the boat in the sea and he have something set up in the garden.

LM A pulley.

IA And all the produce, he wheel it over the sea into the boat. His garden at Wild Cow.

LM He had a pole in the sea and he attach some wires over the sea go into the garden, so when he go to the garden he have a kind of thing like a box. He go in it and pulled himself up with a rope to the garden. And when he finish work he pull himself right back to the boat.

IA And the provisions.

SS I should have something like that at my house!

LM If he was alive I would have got him to do something.

IA His father was a fella called Arnold Campbell. He was my best friend. Something on his house fell down. He get a jack and he alone fixed it. He was a good carpenter. Beresford never went to engineering school. He used to knit seine. He does everything.

SS Did they have Obeah practice?

IA People in them days did know more things than we know now.

SS What kind of things? Medicine and so on?

IA Yes, in them days if you were sick they give you medicine. If a woman was having a baby they had a midwife. Like me and Lyda we were delivered by midwife. Last week a two years child gets sting in Trinidad by a scorpion. First they took the child to a hospital but they had no cure then they took the child to San Fernando, but the child died.

If you get sting by a scorpion you put some rum in a glass and lot of sugar. It make you vomit the poison and you will live. I did it. That survived me. I was about 14 or 15 years. Me and me mother went in the garden to root some potato, because of the market, and the scorpion sting me. And when the scorpion sting me my mother cut a cane, got a sugar cane for me to suck. She mix some dirt and put that in my mouth through the dirt. She say to me go home. When I walk I find me toes can’t take the earth, and all over they getting numb, and I come and I fall in the road. In them days people working garden, garden, garden garden. Some gardener meet me lying down there. She say I wonder if I could carry you. That woman bend down. She say come give me your hand and she pull me right up. All down one side dead now. We meet a young fella and he take me and put me right in the house. Me mother in the garden but she suffer something. As soon as me mother reach, all me body dead now. She gave me a little calabash. She said drink this. From the time I drink it I know was something funny because of the taste and I start to vomit. It like poison. The first nurse happen to come to Charlotteville, Nurse Douglas. She was friendly with A Nicholson. I call she. She came. She say get some rum. Me mother got a nip of rum. She made it sweet. When I drink that I start to vomit. I bring up every ounce of poison. I tell you this because you might be in need. Doctor coming here only once a month, so if anything happen your parents need to know what to do. Now if any little something, get doctor. People don’t use bush again.

Were certain people know about it. Almost everybody. No medicine doctor.

The first doctor I know is Doctor Black, a district doctor, a white man, Trinidadian.

Then there was a doctor called Dr Bishop. He was from Grenada. Tall, strapping, he was a doctor who knows everything, believe me. He know the good and he know the bad. Yes, he know the good and the bad. A fella, a schoolboy went to school in Speyside, in Lucyvale, passing through a place, it had mangoes. He saw the mango tree and he started picking mango. He shake the mango and whether it ripe or green it drop. And the owner of that mango tree was coming, he saw the boy and asked him to come down and the boy came down. The owner hit him with a one wood slap and break his knee, and when the boy started to bawl he killed the boy you know. Because if he leave him there with a broken foot the boy could talk, so what he decided is kill the boy. When the boy found dead they had to call the doctor now. And when he came Dr Bishop, it had a lot of people all around the body by now. When he sees the body, he always used to wear a black tie, he take off the tie. When he give permission to move the body, as he turn, he drop the tie. A lady went and pick up the tie and say doctor you drop your tie. He said na na, my God that is too damn fast. He know why he do it. He know why he drop the tie and he say that is too damn fast.

He drop it for a reason. The next morning they hold the man.

SS How did that work?

IA The doctor dropped the tie. I tell you he was a doctor who know. The lady pick up the tie too damn fast. He dropped the tie for a purpose.

SS What purpose?

IA He would know, I wouldn’t know. The police hold the man next morning. He was the witness. The man that commit the murder, his name Douglie Melville or Melvin. He used to work with cocoa board.

SS I don’t understand. Lyda do you understand?

LM I would understand you wouldn’t. He’s talking about Obeah.

IA I told you it was a doctor knows everything, and if I told you that you have to read it from there. He was a Grenadian. I went Grenada 1976.

IA My mother used to suffer with she heart. Anything that happen in the village from the forties is inside of here (Ivan points to his head). I’m going down with it. He was our district doctor.

He say, “Oh God Mary, you gon’ live till you old,” every time my mother used to go to that doctor. Them days there the doctor did give you good medicine. In them days the doctor did mix the medicine . He use the cork. He used to put his nail in the cork head and he talk. When they done they put the label on the bottle so you would know how to take your medicine, whether its one spoon a day or what.

SS Why did the doctor put his nail in the cork?

IA I don’t know, he would know. There are things you would do with reason. I wouldn’t know the reason, you would know. He put his nail in the cork. Not for everybody you know. He would know. Them days we had very good doctors. They were not plentiful like now.

In them days the first person I know to have a car, was my teacher, headmaster Mr Tull. The second vehicle was Mr Turpin’s. The first man to own a truck in Charlotteville was Mr Moore’s brother and DeFreitas. We used to call him Darwin Moore, Dolphy Moore’s son. He had a small truck, we used to call it Leaping Lena – it was a small truck it used to break down a lot. The owner was a good mechanic, Darwin Moore, brother of Mr Moore but not on the mother’s side, on the father’s side. Llewelyn De Freitas was an overseer on Charlotteville estate and, he bought a very big truck.

SS Not a common name here, DeFreitas.

IA No, a small family. Father was a mixed person.

SS Who were the big families in Charlotteville?

IA Well now, when I was a child, Alleyne, Murray, Moore were the 3 biggest.

LM I was a Dillon, McKenna.

SS Can you remember your grandparents?

IA Ahh. My mother father, his name Philip Macpherson. He was a wild man, make plenty babies, he like plenty ladies.

SS Do you remember when he died?

IA No

SS What were the practices when someone died?

LM They never used to put them in ice.

IA In them days when you die today they bury you tomorrow because ice didn’t come in yet. In the early days they rest you on a piece of galvanise. They rest an iron on you, like the iron you use to iron clothes or your belly swell and you would not fit in the box.

In them days when people die, many people, after they bury they do a lot of mischief. Now people have more sense, they prepare the dead better.

SS You mean their spirit would do mischief. What sort of mischief?

IA People used to see them come back. They come and interfere, live with you in your sleep, do all kind of thing.

SS And they don’t do that now?

IA They don’t do that now, knowledge increase.

SS Then what happens next? Do they have a wake or what?

IA Ivan laughs. Listen, if you die today they bury you tomorrow. All night they sit an’ do a lot of singing. Now they keep you for days. In them days you die today they try to bury you tomorrow. They didn’t use ice.

Then they bongo all night. Play drums, dance.

Ivan sings:

Arima tonight, Sande Grande tomorrow night – we oh

Gimme d’ ting

De boom de party sing

OH!!!

Them days bongo was nice, bongo was nice. In them days there, I looking out for you and you looking out for me. But now …… you know the young people today is not the young people of yesterday. Young people yesterday they had more respect, everything.

One of the most biggest cut arse I get from my father, my father was a continair on the road as I told you. He working on the line where his land is, so when he finish work, if he put 3 hours working on the road, the balance of time he go on the land to work. Our grandparents house was just above our house, and I was living alongside Lyda, so we grow up as one.

So our grandfather was there a Friday morning my mother was telling me and me bigger brother go an hook up the donkey and go and reach me father in the garden working. So we had to put the load on the donkey and we had to come to reach me father in the garden working.

So they had a treat in the school the Friday, so we know we get a mauby to drink and something to eat. So we start to get on. There would be plenty cake, and you have sweet water. So if we have to go and meet me father we lose out from that. So we displease about it. So we start to play Manisoot?? with me mother. We start to talk all.

So she father heard what we all say.

So me grandfather say hey – me not hear what you say, me didn’t hear anything what ya say, wait till me compe come tonight. We were neighbours so you call him compe.

In them days if you had a neighbour, the men call each other compe and the woman call makme. So grandfather come in the yard and call “Compe.” So when we heard the man come and say that, all we could have done now, is hook the donkey. Go and meet your father because if he don’t see you he would expect you or think something would happen. So we go down garden and meet me father and me father hook up the donkey with the load and we come back. Well we went and we meet the home and we say well that done.

Our grandfather meet at the night and he come in the yard and he say me compe, Ralphie you get two …. and when they done talking, my father gone with him. My father was short, he had a belt broad, a leather belt. When he hold it, he gonna hit you here you know. When he throw, all blade, like a blade.

Is the biggest cut arse I get, me and me next brother. It was the biggest cut arse I got that night through our grandfather, Dillon. He caused me to get the cut arse.

Them days there, if you and my father talking, I as a child can’t meet you and talk to you you know.

SS Was there much crime?

IA Man there was not much crime. Today is a different age. Let me show you something. Children today come to my house. I have fridge in the house. If you put a bottle water in the fridge, it will cold and they drink it all. But in them days you not have time to do that. We had two pipes in Charlotteville only two. Two stand pipes for government, one at the junction here and one in front Methodist church when you going up to white man. We had a spring. It still there what we call Top River and Moo Shaken is out Cambleton at Moo Shaken river. So when you come from school you had to go and take water. You lower a little calabash into water and tip into the bucket. Sometime the bucket that I take to the river, I can’t go back with that bucket. Bucket can’t carry no water. Sometimes I meet before you and you want to pull before me. Children always start to fight. So I and a girl fight. I say my turn to fill, and you go in my turn. This young girl come and meet me and say she must fill before me. We start to fight and that girl take me bucket and throw into bottom bush, and I go home crying. Me mother say I had to go and pull that out.

We had water, in Charlotteville from the fifties. They started to run it through Charlotteville.

SS What about music?

IA Well music in those days.. we used to have good music. I had a lot of girls from dancing. We used to have a dance in the village here. When we had Methodist service the church wouldn’t get a dance, we had people coming in from Thursday and they ain’t goin out till Tuesday. People from Tobago coming in to sleep. Our grandmother and them they had to cook. Sunday all day they cookin. People coming in. They feeding people. Monday somebody will give the dance, the church wouldn’t give the dance. We are dancing from 1 to 5 in the evening, and dance stop then. Dance start back at 8 till about 2 in the morning, so I got a lot of girls from dancing. In them days if some fella asking your girl to dance you using this – shows fist – this you using- we didn’t know about knife or cutlass.

IA Y’understan. I had good days on earth. My time wouldn’t come back but I had very good days. And all my days the policeman never hold me, never touch me. I never give me parents no trouble.

SS Who made the music?

IA Charlotteville had a band.

SS What would they play?

IA We had saxophone, clarinet, drums all kind of things. Good musicians. We had man playing bass. So we had good band.

SS Were there music teachers here?

IA Yeah. One time JD (JD Elder) used to teach music, and Teacher Jack.

SS What kind of music were you dancing to?

IA Foxtrot, Castian, A dance called Fox. When I take my girlfriend to a dance, and a Fox start up I used to tell her the only body to dance with her is me. You are my sweetheart. You takin’ your time and move.

LM All the fellas use to take your sweeheart when you dance. They hold you and pull you.

IA You pay for she at the door. Intermission you had benches to sit down and you would treat your partner. We had good days. When you and the girl go to a dance you deck, properly deck. You used to order your cloth from England. We had tailors here. Cloth from Bradford to make a suit. Sometimes it take three months. You ordered with a fella call Alphonse Christmas and a fella call Alcie Moore. They had pattern books and you choose what you want and the price and everything. They would order it. When the parcel come back, you pay. Sometimes it take three months.

LM My uncle was a tailor.

SS Wouldn’t you feel hot in that heavy cloth?

LM No

IA When you go to a wedding is a suit you have to wear a suit. The girl would dress her best and the man would dress to the best. A woman getting married would have ten or twenty persons to go to church with she. If wedding today at eleven o clock, you ask your partner where she dressing. I go to the house to meet me partner and walk to the church.

SS Sometimes a man and woman would live together if not married?

IA Yeah, yeah yeah, we did all that.

I married twice. My first wedding was 1961 in Trinidad. My wife was from here. Married on Sunday and came back to Tobago on Tuesday. She died in nineteen seventy six. I married back in nineteen eighty, thirteen December. Thirty-two years with my present wife. We had five children, four girls and a boy.

I want to give you something about nineteen seventy, the black power movement. I was so cut up. I was so cut up. The foolish movement they make in Tobago. The black power movement. If they got their way it would mean you couldn’t have been here. All foreigners shouldn’t own no part of Tobago. That is nineteen seventy. They march from Scarborough to Charlotteville on a Saturday evening, hundreds of men, barefoot you know. All the places in Tobago closed. People were afraid they would bash their places. Kinda violent. They was against white people. They shouldn’t own nothing. Estates. I tell you. My wife kicked me that night. I take the kick but she wasn’t having it. When I look at it she was right and I was wrong.

You see everybody was afraid of them. I took some men home by me. I know them as friends. And when they came round the bay I sitting here with Murray. They barging in. Everybody scared. They were from all over Tobago mixed up. I talkin’ about hundreds of men. When they came down here Murray closed the shop. I say Murray don’t be afraid man they can’t do nuttin’, some of those fellas I know them. So I go out and talk to them because I know some of them. One was a police. I say to him you shouldn’t be in this boy. He say I’m sorry. His name is Junior. I said to him how is you in this boy and you is a police?

“Me afraid boy.” And he said to me, “Alleyne, white people ain’t got no place in Tobago, they have to go back.” By this time it was about half past five in the evening. They need to stay you know. They marching from here again this Sunday morning. So now that Sunday is Methodist harvest. So in them days there, every home preparing for harvest. Almost every home in Charlotteville preparing for harvest because you have a lot of strangers coming in, you have to entertain them. So my wife at home baking a lot of cake and bake your beef and all kind of thing for tomorrow. These men they hungry you know. I took five of them home. My friends I knew good, so I took them home. By this time my wife, she saw me coming. So Lyda’s aunt was one of the ladies in my house with me wife and 3 other ladies. So when they saw me an’ the men coming they start to run. My wife ran off to a neighbour. When I went in the house I bring out a bottle of VAT 19. Sitting together with the men and them with the bottle. They say “me hungry boy.” I went in the kitchen I took out a long bread, I slice it up, put it in the pot. I took out some meat and I give it to the men and them. It was men I know, but I was surprised especially at the police fella.

Night come now. Now, you had to be careful. To push you out of me house that night or to tell you boy you can’t sleep here. It’s two room, me and me wife in one room. To me at the time it was looking so harsh to know that I know you and tell them you can’t stay here. But remember, my friend is not my wife friend. Your friend is not bound to be your wife friend. Me wife know the black power movement and she ain’t want to meet that. When me wife came back she meet me and the men together. And she gone in the room and she hit me woowww. She slam the door. Remember they big men. They would know that something ain’t right. She ain’t want them there. She slam the room door. She ain’t coming out back you know. I say, Ivan is only one night. I say to them, “lie down in that room there.” When I went in my room, I turn on the light, because she take off the light there, to lie down. Put on me sleeping clothes. As I stand up, I ain’t gone to bed yet, me wife give me a kick to me chest. The kick push the breath. I tell she, sh,sh. I didn’t want them to know she gave me a kick. I can’t say nuttin’. I tell she, take it easy, don’ let the men an them know. I realise she… you had to think twice you know, it’s her house. You want to please and know you have a love. When I get the kick, I say sh sh when I go on the bed me can’t guarantee.

Every morning I go pasture and I mindin cow. The men and them leaving early. So me and the men have to leave early one time. So when the men and them get up, I get up. And them come down and leave and me a go a pasture. And when I come back I didn’t say a word because I know I was the wrong one.

I married twice. Some men, some of us, know when you do something wrong. Any man who is thinking should know when you do something wrong. I ain’t fighting it. So when I come back and she started to get on, she accused me. So a’we tell our neighbours how it happen. I vex with her and she say you shouldn’t be in this march with black power.

Boy I tell you. It was a stupid movement. If I have a piece of land to sell I could sell it to who I choose to. What is the difference between me and you? So the black power movement there wasn’t a nice one.

This is a transcript of a recording of Ivan Alleyne made in Lyda’s Bar, Charlotteville, Tobago on twenty first February two thousand and thirteen. Steve Salfield asked the questions and Lyda Murray commented.

Ivan was born on sixth March nineteen twenty four and was eighty nine at the time of this recording.

SS Ivan, who were your parents?

IA My father was Ralfie Alleyne better known as Charphilus Alleyne and my mother was Mary Alleyne better known as Disown, Mary Macpherson before she marry. My father born in Charlotteville, at Bottom Bay right to the beach at the end.

SS Did you know your grandparents?

IA My father’s mother was Abigail, she really came from Plymouth. I trying to remember the father’s name. I have it home on a paper. He came from Charlotteville.

SS Can you go further back?

IA No I can’t go further back. Charphilus was the only son and there were 5 girls.

My mother’s mother was Komcie Felix from Parlatuvier, and her father was Charles Macpherson, from Delaford.

SS Do you know where your ancestors came from in Africa?

IA They never talked about where they came from.

SS Do others?

IA I don’t believe anyone could tell you that.

SS How many children have you had?

IA Ivan laughs. Most of my children outside with different ladies, none with first wife, and five with second wife.

SS Where do your children live?

IA Some live in Charlotteville and some all about.

SS If you have children outside you had to pay for them?

IA I try to help out when they were small.

SS You had brothers and sisters?

IA A lot. My mother made fourteen children.

SS Where did you come?

IA Where did I come? I come…. let me tell you: Alvin first, Alvoseen third, Abidega fifth, I come eight.

SS Where were you born?

IA In Charlotteville, right Belle Aire I was born, where I’m living now.

SS What did your father do?

IA He was a continair on the roads, a road worker. A government job but not payable like today. In them days they was like fifty cents a day. He didn’t depend on that alone. If he had depended on that alone he couldn’t survive. During the time he was doing that he was working his land, his plantation. In them days you survive more by your land.

SS So he had a big garden?

IA Yes. Cocoa and provisions: Plantain, potato, tanya and all these things. So you sell them. Men will buy and take to Trinidad. In them days we supplying Trinidad with food. Charlotteville used to supply Trinidad with provisions. The steamer would come right here.

SS Where did the steamer come?

IA Right to Man o War Bay. Right here.

SS Was there a jetty then?

IA No. No jetty. The steamer would land over there, you see where that boat is, right there. The smaller boats would come ashore with the goods.

SS Was that a motor boat or rowing boat?

IA They row the boat from the steamer to shore. No engine then. This was in my father’s day and in my day. I grow up with that.

SS What about the cocoa?

IA In them days men couldn’t afford to buy land. The estate would give them a piece of land to work on a contract. Sometimes you work that land for twenty years, the cocoa bear, and as long as the cocoa reach so it could make money, they take it away from you They may pay you twenty cents a root for a tree. If the contract get seven hundred trees, they pay for that. When they see that this contract producing cocoa they take away the contract and pay you. The first picking they make they pay you back. After that you have to go and work somewhere else. Before they take it the cocoa was yours. That’s how the estate get so big and make the money on your head.

SS What did you think about that?

IA Well in them days you work for the white man. In them days that is the way of living here. You didn’t have no land. The Charlotteville you see now isn’t what it was then. In them days you would see about five fishing boats here. From what I could remember, fish was selling about twelve cent a pound.

SS Because there was so much?

IA There was plenty fish. Beef was selling here at fourteen cent a pound, when it make Christmas time.

SS Was it the same kind of fish you get these days?

IA Well we used to get the same kind of fish. More deep sea fish. We used to get a lot of Amblyn, Snapper, Kingfish – right where you see that boat, we used to throw right there. You would catch kingfish right there, big, big kingfish. Now they have to go outside. Things change.

We had two seine owners here, Loopy Williams and a fella called Marcus Alleyne, that was in the thirties.

SS Was it expensive to own a seine net?

IA Well you see, in them days, them people who had a seine, they called them BIg Shot. (Ivan laughed.) And a next fella come behind them a fella called Woods, Oneseat, he had a seine too.

SS What was his real name?

IA Nicholson.

SS Would they catch fish all year round in the seine?

IA Well there were times they wouldn’t catch and times you’ll catch a lot. We used to get more fish in them days and we didn’t have the amount of boats. Remember the village was not developed like today. In the thirties you wouldn’t find the amount of people.

SS What kind of fish would they catch in the seine?

IA Bonito, Kovali, Greenback, Amber fish, same fish as we getting now, and Jacks.

SS What about sugar?

IA Your parents scarcely buy sugar in the shop, we had cane. They wake you three or four in morning you had to go on mill. I’d be riding and two or three boys would ???. I used to ride, with uncle Kevin Moore. A set of big men cutting. I come up with my tin tied in a towel. That could last for two years. Them make their own mill. Dig a hole in a tree. I’d be riding. Pushing the cane to get the juice out. If we had donkeys they suck the macass. You could sell by the cup. It’s stronger than what we get in the shop. Almost every home have a mill. Our fore parents made the old time mills. I saw the mills from slavery days.

When you get a cup of cocoa tea for breakfast you work from seven to four and you can’t hungry. It’s a food.

Those days, those days!

SS When you were a boy did you go to school?

IA Yes to the methodist school. I started at five or six. My headmaster was Mr Walters. My last principal was Mr Tull. When I was small education was free up till sixteen. I didn’t go to secondary school. I had to go out and try to make ends meet. Your parents had to pay for high school but not primary.

SS Did you ever travel to Trinidad or anywhere outside?

IA I used to go to Trinidad often when I was young to watch cricket.

SS Did you play?

IA I played cricket around here, I played for Charlotteville when I was a boy.

LM Steve you know you asked some questions about some place names?

SS Do you know Congo Hill?

IA Where Mr Paul lives that was Congo Hill. It was also called Core Ridge.

SS JD Elder talked about Congo Town too.

IA I don’t know Congo Town.

SS Ma Rose point?

IA That is behind so. Quite behind Pirates’ Bay. You wouldn’t see it from here. It’s a piece of rock.

SS Do you know any stories about Ma Rose?

IA No I don’t know any stories.

SS What was life like when you were a boy?

IA Life was hard you know. In nineteen forty many Americans came here and the village start to change. In Flagstaff in nineteen forties. They paid good money for work. They employ a lot of men. Them men was the biggest paid men around. I now started to work about a year. When the truck pass they yell out to you, hello you poor house boy. They give you a joke because their salary was high. The first time I see hundred dollar was nineteen forty one. A fella working for the Americans showed me. Men started to develop themselves, Make better homes. If you work for fifty cents a day you can’t do much.

SS Did the Americans come into the village a lot?

IA Every day.

SS Black or white?

IA White. We used to go there to watch TV. They had about seven buildings there. Toothpaste, soap and them things, you could go and buy at the PX.

SS Did you make friends?

IA They were very friendly.

SS There must be people here whose father was American?

IA Yes but I can’t call names. They used to come here in the shop and drink. They used to shell ships outside. They had radar. They come here to secure T&T.

The biggest boat was the Rodney from England. Then the Delhi. The Hood. Real war boats. Frobisher from America, a training ship. They used to come ashore and play cricket and after, they invite you on board and we go and have a good time. You could go only for an hour. I saw a fella in a chain. They said he was bad and they chain him.

When the Americans were here the cocoa price was up. Right up in the air. In forties and fifties.

SS So everybody was better off?

IA It get destroyed in sixty three. When the hurricane came and destroyed the lands. After the hurricane, a lot of birds came as vermin. Birds you never see before come in from Grenada, from Barbados and they eat your cocoa flat. Who cocoa survive the hurricane, you gets nothing because a lot of birds eat your cocoa flat down.

SS Was that parrots?

IA The parrot is one. Before the hurricane we had parrot but not that amount. We would shoot them, but after the hurricane you get three or four thousand come in one time, So when you have two or three thousand parrots come in to feed, in a day your cocoa all gone. The government didn’t have no control for that.

SS Why did the parrots increase so much?

IA They come from all different countries and come in. Mr Turpin he had someone called Molochai to control them. You workin’ your land to survive, no matter what you do you can’t get cocoa. So, many men abandon their land in sixty three because nothing getting from the bird and them. Because the men get so disgusted they had to do something else to survive. You had to plant other produce like potato.

We used to ship a lot to Trinidad when the steamer come here , once a month. If it reach here at two o’clock in the day to take load, it will take cargo and it will leave with cargo. If it come at twelve it have to overnight you know, because so much produce it had to take. Trinidad was surviving from we and now we have to buy from Trinidad.

SS What cargo did they bring in?

IA They bring cargo like flour, sugar, rice, saltfish. All these things. A fellow used to buy ice from Trinidad. They shipped the ice in a barrel. They fill it with sawdust with the ice inside. When the boat reached here they roll it up the sand and that ice used to remain for months in the barrel. So you see all knowledge in the village decrease.

SS A lot of people have told me the parrots increased after the hurricane, but why?

IA The parrots fly into Charlotteville and eat our crop flat. So the estate had to close down. Charlotteville Estate was shipping three hundred bags a month, Cambleton Estate may ship sixty. Hermitage may ship twenty. Well let me tell you this. My father work in the garden and produce potato. It have people come in from Trinidad, they call them speculators. If you have five bag of potatoes the fella might tell you he don’t have enough money to buy the five bags. He gonna take the five bag of potato from you and take to Trinidad. He gonna pay you when he come back. When he come back he may tell you he meet bad marketing, he tellin’ me bad market.

SS So he take the crops and not give you money?

IA He take the crops from you. Sometime he give you money on the spot. Sometimes he say boy I done buy already when I sell I come back. When they come back they tell you they lost.

Let me tell you something about cocoa. When they ship the cocoa, a company called Alstan; they will buy cocoa. But when the cocoa dry you have to dance it. When you dance it, it come shine like. Since you have cocoa you have to have a tray to dry it. When it dry you dance it before you sell it. When it dry you put it in a box like this and dance it like that. (He demonstrates.) You gonna ship the cocoa to Trinidad and then he will pay you.

SS Who would own the tray?

LM It’s your tray. You build the tray.

IA It’s owned by you.

SS I thought the cocoa was dried at the cocoa house.

IA That is the estate.

SS So you didn’t sell your cocoa to the estate?

IA No you sell straight to Trinidad the estate is a different setup. The estate sent theirs to Trinidad. In them days the woman working as hard as men you know in the plantation. Work in the plantation like man. Now when you see women, they ain’t doing nothing you know. Them days the woman working hard like the man.

SS What about children, did they work?

IA If children used to work? You ask a nice question. In them days in the thirties and forties, your parents had cocoa, you had to work when school close. You work in the field all the time. You a boy you have a cutlass. Six of you, your partners, they work with you today, tomorrow you work with them, tomorrow with somebody else. You help your father clean the land. And the time for toting the cocoa that was something else. When you picked it you use your head. If you don’t have a donkey to assist you to tote the produce, all have to go on to your head. It’s either a donkey or your head. In them days plenty donkeys. Plenty

SS Did your father have donkeys?

IA My father had two donkeys. One at a time. One died buy a next one. Because where we land was we had to get donkey.

SS Where was his land?

IA At Wild Cow. You call it Wild Cow. It’s at L’Anse Fourmi side, past Hermitage. But remember in them days children was to work, they couldn’t be lazy like now. When your father say you have to go tomorrow and tote cocoa well you have to go. Them children now they ain’t doing nothin’. But when I was a child fifteen or sixteen years, you put a load on your head. I used to put half a bag on me head.

SS From Wild Cow?

IA No, from a place called Doctor Stout. Just before Caroline. Above up there. All there was cocoa. I took a lot of loads. I was glad to tote it.

SS Did you get paid?

IA These was your parents! Your father and mother might pick cocoa today. They have to leave it to sweat for six or seven days. When it done sweat, you have to tote it home. You children have to tote. Tote it home to dry.

SS A few days in the tray?

IA According to how much sun you have it may take a week to dry or a week and a half.

SS Then you dance it. What does that do?

IA Well when you dance it, it ready to sell. Throw a little water in the box and then you start to dance it.

SS Does that break it up?

IA No No! You dance it to get it clean. If you sell it so you get less money. The produce has to be up to a standard. Then you get money. You ever see a cow swim?

SS No.

IA Well when the steamer in and they shipping cow, they lead the cow down to the sea there, and the sailor and them take the cow, the cow swim. When it reach out there to the steamer, they put on something and pull up the cow by its sides so. Yeah.

SS So you selling cows and pigs to Trinidad. Did the pigs swim?

IA Yeah. Pigs can swim but they can’t swim too far or they cut their throats with their toes. Donkeys could swim too.

SS Did you breed donkeys?

IA Yes. You have Jack and Jenny. You have a Jenny and you want a foal. I was a good rider you know. I used to ride a horse.

SS Did you have a horse?

IA I never had you know, but I used to ride. I was a very good worker. If the overseer had a horse he used to ride to Speyside or to Parlatuvier. We had three district: Speyside, Scarborough and Moriah. Three district in Tobago in the thirties backwards. In them days for you to make a chief overseer they take you from Trinidad. They never used to make a chief overseer from Tobago.

SS Would the overseers be African or Indian?

IA Indian or nigger but most was Indian. In the fifties they stop that. They make men from Tobago chief overseer.

We used to walk from here to Parlatuvier to carry a message. We used to work in L’Anse Fourmi and walk there. We had to reach L’anse Fourmi for seven o’clock in the morning and knocking off time was four o’clock.

SS How long would it take to walk there?

IA The road wasn’t nice like it is now. we used to leave at four o’clock in the morning to reach there for seven o’clock.

SS What time would you get back?

IA We’d get back at seven o’clock in the evening.

SS Who was the man who built the first jetty?

IA That was Beresford Campbell.

LM Right in front here opposite the door.

SS When did he build it?

LM Around seventy six. I opened in nineteen seventy three. He never went to school but he was an engineer. He alone build it because he didn’t want no one to help him. He build a house on the jetty. He was living there alone. His family was living on the land.

IA He had boat. And his father was a man just like he, building something alone.

LM He alone sawed his wood.

IA And when he doing it you couldn’t ask him no question. You could watch him but don’t ask no question. He never like to answer. That was his way.

LM The only one who could ask him a question is me.

IA They were friends.

IA That man had a garden down toward L’Anse Fourmi and he go to the garden with the boat. He leave the boat in the sea and he have something set up in the garden.

LM A pulley.

IA And all the produce, he wheel it over the sea into the boat. His garden at Wild Cow.

LM He had a pole in the sea and he attach some wires over the sea go into the garden, so when he go to the garden he have a kind of thing like a box. He go in it and pulled himself up with a rope to the garden. And when he finish work he pull himself right back to the boat.

IA And the provisions.

SS I should have something like that at my house!

LM If he was alive I would have got him to do something.

IA His father was a fella called Arnold Campbell. He was my best friend. Something on his house fell down. He get a jack and he alone fixed it. He was a good carpenter. Beresford never went to engineering school. He used to knit seine. He does everything.

SS Did they have Obeah practice?

IA People in them days did know more things than we know now.

SS What kind of things? Medicine and so on?

IA Yes, in them days if you were sick they give you medicine. If a woman was having a baby they had a midwife. Like me and Lyda we were delivered by midwife. Last week a two years child gets sting in Trinidad by a scorpion. First they took the child to a hospital but they had no cure then they took the child to San Fernando, but the child died.

If you get sting by a scorpion you put some rum in a glass and lot of sugar. It make you vomit the poison and you will live. I did it. That survived me. I was about 14 or 15 years. Me and me mother went in the garden to root some potato, because of the market, and the scorpion sting me. And when the scorpion sting me my mother cut a cane, got a sugar cane for me to suck. She mix some dirt and put that in my mouth through the dirt. She say to me go home. When I walk I find me toes can’t take the earth, and all over they getting numb, and I come and I fall in the road. In them days people working garden, garden, garden garden. Some gardener meet me lying down there. She say I wonder if I could carry you. That woman bend down. She say come give me your hand and she pull me right up. All down one side dead now. We meet a young fella and he take me and put me right in the house. Me mother in the garden but she suffer something. As soon as me mother reach, all me body dead now. She gave me a little calabash. She said drink this. From the time I drink it I know was something funny because of the taste and I start to vomit. It like poison. The first nurse happen to come to Charlotteville, Nurse Douglas. She was friendly with A Nicholson. I call she. She came. She say get some rum. Me mother got a nip of rum. She made it sweet. When I drink that I start to vomit. I bring up every ounce of poison. I tell you this because you might be in need. Doctor coming here only once a month, so if anything happen your parents need to know what to do. Now if any little something, get doctor. People don’t use bush again.

Were certain people know about it. Almost everybody. No medicine doctor.

The first doctor I know is Doctor Black, a district doctor, a white man, Trinidadian.

Then there was a doctor called Dr Bishop. He was from Grenada. Tall, strapping, he was a doctor who knows everything, believe me. He know the good and he know the bad. Yes, he know the good and the bad. A fella, a schoolboy went to school in Speyside, in Lucyvale, passing through a place, it had mangoes. He saw the mango tree and he started picking mango. He shake the mango and whether it ripe or green it drop. And the owner of that mango tree was coming, he saw the boy and asked him to come down and the boy came down. The owner hit him with a one wood slap and break his knee, and when the boy started to bawl he killed the boy you know. Because if he leave him there with a broken foot the boy could talk, so what he decided is kill the boy. When the boy found dead they had to call the doctor now. And when he came Dr Bishop, it had a lot of people all around the body by now. When he sees the body, he always used to wear a black tie, he take off the tie. When he give permission to move the body, as he turn, he drop the tie. A lady went and pick up the tie and say doctor you drop your tie. He said na na, my God that is too damn fast. He know why he do it. He know why he drop the tie and he say that is too damn fast.

He drop it for a reason. The next morning they hold the man.

SS How did that work?

IA The doctor dropped the tie. I tell you he was a doctor who know. The lady pick up the tie too damn fast. He dropped the tie for a purpose.

SS What purpose?

IA He would know, I wouldn’t know. The police hold the man next morning. He was the witness. The man that commit the murder, his name Douglie Melville or Melvin. He used to work with cocoa board.

SS I don’t understand. Lyda do you understand?

LM I would understand you wouldn’t. He’s talking about Obeah.

IA I told you it was a doctor knows everything, and if I told you that you have to read it from there. He was a Grenadian. I went Grenada 1976.

IA My mother used to suffer with she heart. Anything that happen in the village from the forties is inside of here (Ivan points to his head). I’m going down with it. He was our district doctor.

He say, “Oh God Mary, you gon’ live till you old,” every time my mother used to go to that doctor. Them days there the doctor did give you good medicine. In them days the doctor did mix the medicine . He use the cork. He used to put his nail in the cork head and he talk. When they done they put the label on the bottle so you would know how to take your medicine, whether its one spoon a day or what.

SS Why did the doctor put his nail in the cork?

IA I don’t know, he would know. There are things you would do with reason. I wouldn’t know the reason, you would know. He put his nail in the cork. Not for everybody you know. He would know. Them days we had very good doctors. They were not plentiful like now.

In them days the first person I know to have a car, was my teacher, headmaster Mr Tull. The second vehicle was Mr Turpin’s. The first man to own a truck in Charlotteville was Mr Moore’s brother and DeFreitas. We used to call him Darwin Moore, Dolphy Moore’s son. He had a small truck, we used to call it Leaping Lena – it was a small truck it used to break down a lot. The owner was a good mechanic, Darwin Moore, brother of Mr Moore but not on the mother’s side, on the father’s side. Llewelyn De Freitas was an overseer on Charlotteville estate and, he bought a very big truck.

SS Not a common name here, DeFreitas.

IA No, a small family. Father was a mixed person.

SS Who were the big families in Charlotteville?

IA Well now, when I was a child, Alleyne, Murray, Moore were the 3 biggest.

LM I was a Dillon, McKenna.

SS Can you remember your grandparents?

IA Ahh. My mother father, his name Philip Macpherson. He was a wild man, make plenty babies, he like plenty ladies.

SS Do you remember when he died?

IA No

SS What were the practices when someone died?

LM They never used to put them in ice.

IA In them days when you die today they bury you tomorrow because ice didn’t come in yet. In the early days they rest you on a piece of galvanise. They rest an iron on you, like the iron you use to iron clothes or your belly swell and you would not fit in the box.

In them days when people die, many people, after they bury they do a lot of mischief. Now people have more sense, they prepare the dead better.

SS You mean their spirit would do mischief. What sort of mischief?

IA People used to see them come back. They come and interfere, live with you in your sleep, do all kind of thing.

SS And they don’t do that now?

IA They don’t do that now, knowledge increase.

SS Then what happens next? Do they have a wake or what?

IA Ivan laughs. Listen, if you die today they bury you tomorrow. All night they sit an’ do a lot of singing. Now they keep you for days. In them days you die today they try to bury you tomorrow. They didn’t use ice.

Then they bongo all night. Play drums, dance.

Ivan sings:

Arima tonight, Sande Grande tomorrow night – we oh

Gimme d’ ting

De boom de party sing

OH!!!

Them days bongo was nice, bongo was nice. In them days there, I looking out for you and you looking out for me. But now …… you know the young people today is not the young people of yesterday. Young people yesterday they had more respect, everything.

One of the most biggest cut arse I get from my father, my father was a continair on the road as I told you. He working on the line where his land is, so when he finish work, if he put 3 hours working on the road, the balance of time he go on the land to work. Our grandparents house was just above our house, and I was living alongside Lyda, so we grow up as one.

So our grandfather was there a Friday morning my mother was telling me and me bigger brother go an hook up the donkey and go and reach me father in the garden working. So we had to put the load on the donkey and we had to come to reach me father in the garden working.

So they had a treat in the school the Friday, so we know we get a mauby to drink and something to eat. So we start to get on. There would be plenty cake, and you have sweet water. So if we have to go and meet me father we lose out from that. So we displease about it. So we start to play Manisoot?? with me mother. We start to talk all.

So she father heard what we all say.

So me grandfather say hey – me not hear what you say, me didn’t hear anything what ya say, wait till me compe come tonight. We were neighbours so you call him compe.

In them days if you had a neighbour, the men call each other compe and the woman call makme. So grandfather come in the yard and call “Compe.” So when we heard the man come and say that, all we could have done now, is hook the donkey. Go and meet your father because if he don’t see you he would expect you or think something would happen. So we go down garden and meet me father and me father hook up the donkey with the load and we come back. Well we went and we meet the home and we say well that done.

Our grandfather meet at the night and he come in the yard and he say me compe, Ralphie you get two …. and when they done talking, my father gone with him. My father was short, he had a belt broad, a leather belt. When he hold it, he gonna hit you here you know. When he throw, all blade, like a blade.

Is the biggest cut arse I get, me and me next brother. It was the biggest cut arse I got that night through our grandfather, Dillon. He caused me to get the cut arse.

Them days there, if you and my father talking, I as a child can’t meet you and talk to you you know.

SS Was there much crime?

IA Man there was not much crime. Today is a different age. Let me show you something. Children today come to my house. I have fridge in the house. If you put a bottle water in the fridge, it will cold and they drink it all. But in them days you not have time to do that. We had two pipes in Charlotteville only two. Two stand pipes for government, one at the junction here and one in front Methodist church when you going up to white man. We had a spring. It still there what we call Top River and Moo Shaken is out Cambleton at Moo Shaken river. So when you come from school you had to go and take water. You lower a little calabash into water and tip into the bucket. Sometime the bucket that I take to the river, I can’t go back with that bucket. Bucket can’t carry no water. Sometimes I meet before you and you want to pull before me. Children always start to fight. So I and a girl fight. I say my turn to fill, and you go in my turn. This young girl come and meet me and say she must fill before me. We start to fight and that girl take me bucket and throw into bottom bush, and I go home crying. Me mother say I had to go and pull that out.

We had water, in Charlotteville from the fifties. They started to run it through Charlotteville.

SS What about music?

IA Well music in those days.. we used to have good music. I had a lot of girls from dancing. We used to have a dance in the village here. When we had Methodist service the church wouldn’t get a dance, we had people coming in from Thursday and they ain’t goin out till Tuesday. People from Tobago coming in to sleep. Our grandmother and them they had to cook. Sunday all day they cookin. People coming in. They feeding people. Monday somebody will give the dance, the church wouldn’t give the dance. We are dancing from 1 to 5 in the evening, and dance stop then. Dance start back at 8 till about 2 in the morning, so I got a lot of girls from dancing. In them days if some fella asking your girl to dance you using this – shows fist – this you using- we didn’t know about knife or cutlass.

IA Y’understan. I had good days on earth. My time wouldn’t come back but I had very good days. And all my days the policeman never hold me, never touch me. I never give me parents no trouble.

SS Who made the music?

IA Charlotteville had a band.

SS What would they play?

IA We had saxophone, clarinet, drums all kind of things. Good musicians. We had man playing bass. So we had good band.

SS Were there music teachers here?

IA Yeah. One time JD (JD Elder) used to teach music, and Teacher Jack.

SS What kind of music were you dancing to?

IA Foxtrot, Castian, A dance called Fox. When I take my girlfriend to a dance, and a Fox start up I used to tell her the only body to dance with her is me. You are my sweetheart. You takin’ your time and move.

LM All the fellas use to take your sweeheart when you dance. They hold you and pull you.

IA You pay for she at the door. Intermission you had benches to sit down and you would treat your partner. We had good days. When you and the girl go to a dance you deck, properly deck. You used to order your cloth from England. We had tailors here. Cloth from Bradford to make a suit. Sometimes it take three months. You ordered with a fella call Alphonse Christmas and a fella call Alcie Moore. They had pattern books and you choose what you want and the price and everything. They would order it. When the parcel come back, you pay. Sometimes it take three months.

LM My uncle was a tailor.

SS Wouldn’t you feel hot in that heavy cloth?

LM No

IA When you go to a wedding is a suit you have to wear a suit. The girl would dress her best and the man would dress to the best. A woman getting married would have ten or twenty persons to go to church with she. If wedding today at eleven o clock, you ask your partner where she dressing. I go to the house to meet me partner and walk to the church.

SS Sometimes a man and woman would live together if not married?

IA Yeah, yeah yeah, we did all that.

I married twice. My first wedding was 1961 in Trinidad. My wife was from here. Married on Sunday and came back to Tobago on Tuesday. She died in nineteen seventy six. I married back in nineteen eighty, thirteen December. Thirty-two years with my present wife. We had five children, four girls and a boy.

I want to give you something about nineteen seventy, the black power movement. I was so cut up. I was so cut up. The foolish movement they make in Tobago. The black power movement. If they got their way it would mean you couldn’t have been here. All foreigners shouldn’t own no part of Tobago. That is nineteen seventy. They march from Scarborough to Charlotteville on a Saturday evening, hundreds of men, barefoot you know. All the places in Tobago closed. People were afraid they would bash their places. Kinda violent. They was against white people. They shouldn’t own nothing. Estates. I tell you. My wife kicked me that night. I take the kick but she wasn’t having it. When I look at it she was right and I was wrong.

You see everybody was afraid of them. I took some men home by me. I know them as friends. And when they came round the bay I sitting here with Murray. They barging in. Everybody scared. They were from all over Tobago mixed up. I talkin’ about hundreds of men. When they came down here Murray closed the shop. I say Murray don’t be afraid man they can’t do nuttin’, some of those fellas I know them. So I go out and talk to them because I know some of them. One was a police. I say to him you shouldn’t be in this boy. He say I’m sorry. His name is Junior. I said to him how is you in this boy and you is a police?

“Me afraid boy.” And he said to me, “Alleyne, white people ain’t got no place in Tobago, they have to go back.” By this time it was about half past five in the evening. They need to stay you know. They marching from here again this Sunday morning. So now that Sunday is Methodist harvest. So in them days there, every home preparing for harvest. Almost every home in Charlotteville preparing for harvest because you have a lot of strangers coming in, you have to entertain them. So my wife at home baking a lot of cake and bake your beef and all kind of thing for tomorrow. These men they hungry you know. I took five of them home. My friends I knew good, so I took them home. By this time my wife, she saw me coming. So Lyda’s aunt was one of the ladies in my house with me wife and 3 other ladies. So when they saw me an’ the men coming they start to run. My wife ran off to a neighbour. When I went in the house I bring out a bottle of VAT 19. Sitting together with the men and them with the bottle. They say “me hungry boy.” I went in the kitchen I took out a long bread, I slice it up, put it in the pot. I took out some meat and I give it to the men and them. It was men I know, but I was surprised especially at the police fella.

Night come now. Now, you had to be careful. To push you out of me house that night or to tell you boy you can’t sleep here. It’s two room, me and me wife in one room. To me at the time it was looking so harsh to know that I know you and tell them you can’t stay here. But remember, my friend is not my wife friend. Your friend is not bound to be your wife friend. Me wife know the black power movement and she ain’t want to meet that. When me wife came back she meet me and the men together. And she gone in the room and she hit me woowww. She slam the door. Remember they big men. They would know that something ain’t right. She ain’t want them there. She slam the room door. She ain’t coming out back you know. I say, Ivan is only one night. I say to them, “lie down in that room there.” When I went in my room, I turn on the light, because she take off the light there, to lie down. Put on me sleeping clothes. As I stand up, I ain’t gone to bed yet, me wife give me a kick to me chest. The kick push the breath. I tell she, sh,sh. I didn’t want them to know she gave me a kick. I can’t say nuttin’. I tell she, take it easy, don’ let the men an them know. I realise she… you had to think twice you know, it’s her house. You want to please and know you have a love. When I get the kick, I say sh sh when I go on the bed me can’t guarantee.

Every morning I go pasture and I mindin cow. The men and them leaving early. So me and the men have to leave early one time. So when the men and them get up, I get up. And them come down and leave and me a go a pasture. And when I come back I didn’t say a word because I know I was the wrong one.

I married twice. Some men, some of us, know when you do something wrong. Any man who is thinking should know when you do something wrong. I ain’t fighting it. So when I come back and she started to get on, she accused me. So a’we tell our neighbours how it happen. I vex with her and she say you shouldn’t be in this march with black power.

Boy I tell you. It was a stupid movement. If I have a piece of land to sell I could sell it to who I choose to. What is the difference between me and you? So the black power movement there wasn’t a nice one.