He never said it was love. It may have been the name Veronica Pettigrew—a Catholic—that clinched it. Most Jamaican Pettigrews are Roman Catholics, and my husband’s sister Veronica Pettigrew-East (mother of Ermin Goode, Teresa East-Headley and Howard East) died in the Kendal Train Crash on September 1st, 1957, together with her husband, two brothers-in-law, and the beautiful daughter of Mrs Clark. Only the presence of the good Lord saved Mrs Clark’s only son, Earl, who had bawled so hard and refused to board the train that they eventually left him indoors.
It has always been my ill-luck that not many people have been there for me when I needed someone. Maybe it’s because I am the sort of person who does not ask favours. Nor do I even look as if I might need a helping hand. My husband left me alone in England, after a decade of marriage. He went back home to Jamaica, taking our three-year-old son with him, alongside his mistress. The same woman I used to call my best friend.
In the first two buildings that Ralph Swimer Limited occupied, no white person would work. Not even those without qualifications. The Swimer family lived above the first shop at 22 Whitechurch Lane, and their living quarters were as disgusting as the business premises below.