By John Western
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Additional info for A Passage to England: Barbadian Londoners Speak of Home
To the north and east, the North Sea, edged by white chalk cliffs. To the south, I could walk two or three miles up gentle slopes to the open skyline of Mansion airfield, and there below me again stretched the sea, the English Channel; on particularly clear days— and there were not a few in that clean maritime air—you could just make 14 Transatlantic Homes out the cliffs of France. Only to the west, from this thumb-end of Kent that was Thanet, was there a continuous land surface stretching away across the marshes toward the indistinct Bell Harry tower of Canterbury cathedral, then on into the distance.
It was like treading water. I was within reach of Transatlantic Homes 23 shore, it seemed, but I couldn't stretch my feet down far enough to touch firm sand. Treading water was fine in a way. I felt adept at it, I was confident no "harm" would come to me. But there was no longer a bedrock foundation. It was a curious sensation. It was, however, hardly a debilitating sensation. I would imagine that much more inimical to one's self-confidence, to one's equilibrium, is the sensation of a lack of cultural bedrock of one's own.
Two The Island Relinquished . . We were English. Colonial, overseas and overseered English. Austin Clarke, Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack By this study's very definition, all of the immigrant-generation interviewees, with the exception of one Jamaican-born wife, were native Barbadians. Their childhoods spanned the latter part of the 1930s and the 1940s. It was a period of economic depression, yet childhood memories are ever a pleasure to savor. Trevor Brathwaite evidently enjoyed reminiscing about his boyhood duties, although at the time they must have been onerous.