Festivals of Our Lives Mrs Edwards
I was born in Jamaica in the parish of Clarendon on Friday 13th April 1945. I am the 6th child of 12 children. We lived on a big farm. On the farm we would raise all sorts of domestic animals and birds.
I came from a very religious family, we were Baptist and on every Sunday we went to church twice. I remember going to my great uncles house on a Sunday evening, he would sit on the veranda on his rocking chair telling us different bible stories. He was a very good man and lived to 107 years of age.
My father was the local butcher and a local policeman and my mother was a baker. We had our own bakery were the women in the area would come and use it to make produce to take to the market at the weekend. On Thursdays the yard would be busy with people who would come to do their baking. We as children would enjoy this because we would get the cuttings and end of cakes and things, also we would get to grease the tins and lick the bowls afterwards. Christmas was even busier for mum. The week coming up to it my mum would do a lot of baking with everything else going on.
Our home was like a community centre. We always had an open door policy despite the big family of 12, people who had nowhere to live or were in trouble knew that they would always find a roof and a meal at our house. As children back home my mother would go out shopping and buy us small cups which she hid until Christmas Day. They were pretty little cups and no one else was allowed to use them. We as children looked forward to Christmas because we got to put on our best clothes, got presents and of course the food.
I got married at the age of 17 in Jamaica and came to England on the 21st October 1962. We had three children together. I originally came to study nursing as my sister was a midwife. I didn go into nursing but found a job as a machinist in a clothing factory. In the late 60 I got a job as a Psychiatric Nurse at All Saints Hospital. During this time I split up from my husband so at the age of 22, and with three children I had to move away, but the first thing I did when I moved into a new area was to find a church and library as I loved my books. I had to give up nursing because the children were very young.
My first few Christmases as a single parent were very hard. One day I made a friend whilst on a shorthand typing course at night school. We became good friends, she was in the same situation as me, and so around Christmas time we would put our money together and do the shopping. On Christmas Day she would bring her three children and we would celebrate it in my house. In those days we didn buy any expensive presents as money was very tight and we had to watch every penny, we didn even have a Christmas tree. Any presents that we had were wrapped in silver paper and the house was also decorated in this same paper.
When the children grew up and were older, I got a full time job with Careers Service, and saved up to buy my own house. We then found ourselves in a comfortable situation and we could have a better Christmas and buy proper Christmas presents. You can really compare Christmas to back home as those were different times and different set of situations, but I do like it here.