Key announcements

Due to scheduled maintenance, our housing repairs service may be unavailable for periods from 5pm Friday 12 April to 9am Monday 15 April. To find out more about the section 114 notice, visit our section 114 page

Ethline Worms

I was born in Jamaica 1927, in the district of Clarendon at Crofts Hill; just a few miles from May Pen, the main town. My husband was from St Thomas. I am the oldest of seven children, three brothers and three sisters. My family lived in the country, in a farmhouse with two floors, which was added onto as the family grew.

My parents cultivated the land and also kept some pigs and chickens. Some of the fruits we grew were oranges, tangerines, grapes, breadfruit, coconut and mangoes. Often there would be too many mangoes growing, they would be everywhere, all sorts of mangoes growing in the streets.

School was somewhere you could go if you wanted to, but you did not have to go. It was a short walk to school, but the eldest children got the least education as we had to get the others ready and do the housework. I did enjoy school when I could go. School meals were provided, but only really for the needy so I went home for dinner, and picked fruit from the trees on the way.

The sort of games we played were baseball and jacks with marbles. When you had finished your duties you could do what you wanted. I would go to the big river every Friday and do the washing while there.

I received a small amount of pocket money, half a penny or a penny, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but you could buy quite a few things with it back then. There was a shop at the school gates selling pop and sweets. If you hadn't any money on you, the shop would let you buy on credit and your parents could settle the bill at the weekend.

Summer holidays were more or less the same. Some children went on the coach to Milk River Baths, a healing spa, which is a popular tourist spot. I joined YWCA aged fourteen and went to Kingston for training at Domestic Science College for two years. While there I took full use of the facilities and liked to play tennis. It was nice to live in the city for a while. I enjoyed the time in Kingston as it was a change, and I was sorry to go home.

I went to Baptist Church, as my Uncle was the Deacon, every Sunday. Kellits held the local market. It was open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The big market was at Chapletown, where the courthouse was. My Mother would go there every Saturday, and sometimes I went with her to help with the shopping. Another market was Luton Market, where we would sell sugar cane from the estate.

I liked Calypso music and country music, but I wasn't allowed to go into town. A lot of the shops had music on when you went to the bakers, butchers etc.

I came to England when I was sixteen years old, so I was quite young. Now, I only have one sister left in Jamaica. I went to visit my parents’ grave by Montego Bay about five years ago. I would like to return, but to live there now you need to be fit and have a husband and a strong motive.

rating button