There are words in the Barbadian vocabulary that are slowly slipping away. My first thought was to write a book compiling a list of the words we had used when I was young girl, but someone had already beaten me to it. When I asked a young Barbadian girl in Barbados if she knew what a wagon was, she said she knew and she did. A wagon is a compartment on a train. She was correct, but what I really wanted to know was the definition of ‘wagon’ as the older generation of Barbadians knew it. A wagon back then was a piece of furniture in the living room or front house, where one displayed the best of one’s eating and drinking utensils. It usually consisted of three shelves. The top shelf was reserved for the Royal Doulton figurines and the oil lamps, the second shelf for the glasses and the third shelf for the crockery, like the good plates and the soup tureen which were only used when guests came to the home.
Although the word wagon was never used in that context in ‘Born in the Briar Patch,’ every Barbadian knows that Nellie must have had a wagon in her living room.
I am still very happy that I wrote Born in the Briar Patch because I have seen the recognition on the many faces in the audience, when I read excerpts from the book. Write to me. Let me know what your favourite passages are from ‘Born in the Briar Patch’ or send me your best old Barbadian story.