What a glorious childhood my children had growing up in the tropics, raised in a small hotel where their parents both worked. Swimming in the pool, dancing with customers and receiving toys and tips for being so darned adorable, and when I wasn’t working (slogging away serving and fetching for umpteen tourists) we would set off for the palm fringed, almost idealic white sand beach, of Josiah’s Bay, just down the road. They strolled naked down the peaceful arc of the bay and built sand castles while I clicked away and shot endless photographs.
My daughter, Alana was fearless in the water, body surfing at a young age and nimbly jumping from rock to rock at the bay’s edge. At only 10 months old, she was swimming under water in the deep end of the pool; she had her own style of swimming, totally submerged at the bottom, only to surface occasionally, spurting water like a counterfeit mermaid, golden hair trailing down to her bottom. My son, Tye however, was not so brave, he had to be coaxed and sweet talked into the water and even then he would cling fast to me. Gradually though with time, he began to feel more comfortable and to enjoy himself, but he was never entirely trusting of the water and didn’t like to go under.
There was a day when my visiting father took him into the water, whilst I swam further out into the waves with Alana. And, my Dad went a little deeper than his grandson was used to (he was only 2 years old). Luckily I looked over to see how they were faring and my father was topping a small boy on his head, Tye’s little arms and legs were wrapped round his Granddad’s neck, looks of terror on both their faces, the older not being able to breathe and the younger clutching on for dear life, convinced he was going to go under. By the time I reached them, Tye looked like a wee frog sitting on a lily pad. Alana took her brother ashore to play in the sand while I led my choking father over to Rufus’s beach hut where Cane Garden Bay Rum Punches were served. He downed his Rum Punch and laughed exclaiming how he had survived WW11 but had nearly drowned with a 2 yr old boy on his head. Crikey!