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Photograph of Ida Salmon, LSAH customer

Ida Salmon

I was born in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, in 1921. I am one of seven children, one brother and five sisters. I am the only one living in England. My two remaining sisters both live in America, New York and Washington, along with my brother who lives in Florida.

We lived in a nice big house in the country, with plenty of land as my father was a big cultivator and we had livestock including chickens and cows. He was a strict man but good. My mother was a housewife, and also ran the Sunday school and raised money for books. She wrote to her brother in America and he sent all over the world for leaflets etc. so all the children could have a big Sunday school anniversary convention in the month of August.

The Government wouldn't provide a good living for people then, so most of them worked for themselves. The education system was not very good then either, and there was no university, so you had to travel to England for a university education if your family had the money. But the education in Jamaica is much better now, and they have their own university.

Every day I would have to do chores around the house and help with the animals. The daily chores helped to teach you for life ahead. I started school aged six and went to Fairfax school, which was only half a mile away. My auntie was a teacher and used to help with our education; she had no children of her own so she helped out with her sister's children instead. In the school there was one class for each year, they were quite big classes. I would walk to school each day and return home for lunch.

The local market was a big one in Mandeville. They sold everything including fresh fish from alligator pond, there were no alligators though! The produce from the family farm was also taken to the market to be sold.

On Sundays we would go to church for the whole day. My auntie was an organist and would play quite a lot, including church music and gospel. Nowadays I go to the church just over the road, where I am welcomed as one of the local community.

I went back to visit Jamaica and felt I wanted to go back to live there, but my husband did not want to go at that time. Now I am on my own it would not be an easy life to adapt to. I have one daughter who is a staff nurse and lives here in England, and I have two sons, one in Jamaica and one in Florida.

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