I have done some extensive, unofficial research, dug up some empirical evidence on a subject that I not only know so much about but live every day. My child is gone, and I’m trying very hard to get him back. Before you get into a tizzy, I don’t mean my son. I’m talking about my inner child.
I’ve realized something, as we ‘mature’ (grow older for some); there is one unspoken rule that we apply to our lives. That rule is, walk away, bury, or forget all the things that made us happy as a child. Things we did back then that would have our stomachs in stitches from laughter. What about the things that had our hearts feel like we were in bliss? All those things go away when we get older. Why is that?
Finding the Child
So, I decided to call some friends, family, and acquaintances to find out if it was only me. Were others feeling this way? I was starting to feel lonely. Nevertheless, I couldn’t just call and ask that general question, ‘do you know where your inner child is?’. I had to ask a more pointed question, one that would evoke immediate memories of those feelings above. Almost reluctantly, I called!
“Hey, do me a favour. Do you remember when you were small, and you used to play ring games?”
“How yuh mean man, we used to play for hours and sing songs and play games and just have a ball”.
“Oh? Okay, great. Can you sing me one of those songs? The Jamaican ones. The ones that you loved so much when you were a child”.
“Aaaaahm!!!!! Rahtid!!! You ketch mi off guard!! I can’t remember any right now. There was one about ‘Room fah rent. Apply with-in.’ but I don’t remember it now. There were so many others. I can’t believe I can’t remember them now. We used to sing them all the while.
“Oh, Okay, then. Well, if you remember any, drop me a voice note in WhatsApp.”
“Yeah man, no problem!”
Helping our ‘child’ survive
That interaction got me thinking about our culture and how important it is for us to remember, cherish, celebrate, and share these things so that we don’t lose them. To that end, I knew what I had to do now. So I started calling lots of people. To my delight, the one thing that I noticed while asking the question was the number of smiles I ‘heard’ through the phone, backed up with great laughter. To my delight, people started saying things like, “Those were the good ole’ days.” “Back then was so much fun.” and so on. The theme formed. I had to find examples to share.
Below are some of the beautiful responses I received. That is to say; they put a smile on my face whenever I hear them. I hope it does the same for you.
Who remembers ‘Ole Mass Charlie’? See if you can finish the words of the song for us.
The previous audio was just the beginning of the gems that we came across. Check out these next two and tell me if you remember singing them.
Here is a video of the 24 boxes from Epworth All Age School in St. Ann.
This next one got so popular it became a dancehall hit for Lovindeer who put his spin on it. There are so many versions of the same song, which one do you remember?
I have never heard the first one in the following recording but the second one is so popular, I’m sure you will sing along. The third one is new to me, and the ending action is quite shocking.
These games bring back memories galore. I was surprised that I didn’t hear two specific songs though, so I decided to call my cultural encyclopedia. Right off the bat, Fae Ellington shot them out. Thank you for filling the gaps, Auntie. (Make sure to follow her all over the internet.)
The Future is Bright
There were two consistent sentiments when asking people to share. The first was laughter, mostly uncontrolled. The second was disappointment that they could not recall this vital aspect of their lives. Check the feeling in the following audio.
I think it was a bluebird that told me that Wolmers Girls High school has a “Pickney Day” when the teachers dress in school uniform and play ring games with the students. This type of dedication warms my heart, and I hope other schools are doing this or something like it. We have to keep our culture fresh in our minds.
Are you beginning to feel the stirrings of your super inner child? If so, now is a great time to gather your household and plan a Jamaican games event at home. After all, they are COVID friendly and can be enjoyed even within the gathering restriction limit. We have provided a splendid start, and you don’t even need a lot of space for some. Just bring your inner child and have a ball.