Long ago Christmas in Wakenaam

Eighty-eight-year-old Meldy Smith who was born and grew up in Wakenaam recalled that Christmas in her days was wonderful but now she is unable to celebrate because “I don’t have money.”

According to her, “They have a lot of nice things selling and that makes the Christmas brighter than in my days. But then if you don’t have money all you have to do is watch them and pass them.”

Times are rough for Meldy and she cannot afford to prepare any special meal. She too would spend Christmas like any ordinary day.

Meldy Smith boiling provision for dinner
Meldy Smith boiling provision for dinner

As a child she “had a nice time with my parents. We used to put up stockings and they would fill it with presents and balloons. In those days we weren’t sensible like children nowadays to know that Santa was not real,” she laughed.

She said they “used to make sure we have our pepperpot and homemade bread and plenty fancy food. She baked the black cake in a drum oven. We used to have nice time,” despite living in a small shack made with troolie leaves.

She enjoyed it even more when persons went around and sang Carols and when the masquerade bands came out and entertained everyone.

Meldy moved to Stewartville with her husband shortly after getting married and Christmas there was good too. But since his death over 20 years ago, life became a struggle.

“Christmas used to be a little better when I was strong to help myself.” Though frail, she still does her own chores and told this newspaper, “I want to rear some chickens to get an income.”

She does not enjoy the luxury of electricity and recalls that her husband had asked the power company to disconnect it while doing some repairs to their house.

He died two months later and she still is unable to raise the money to have it reconnected. “I am studying how I gon mek it to get the current back,” she said sadly. Meldy is hoping that the “government would be able to help me.”

Her only son lives nearby and she contends with “whatever little he gives me. He has his own family to take care of.”

Comparing life now with long ago, Meldy said, “In those days we had fireside and we used to dab it, now people using stoves. These are civilized days, but only the funds keeping people back.”

She said too that people “shop at supermarkets now; in our days we didn’t know what is supermarket. Even to where we lived the yards were opened because we couldn’t afford to build fence.”

Meldy knows that she is not the only one who is suffering in that way and said “other elderly people who depend only on old age pension are finding it tough too.”


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