Page 6 - index
P. 6

those cruel days to end. Any one of us can have awful thoughts, and

some of us become angry enough to want to turn our hurt on others.
But I was too weak to fight and too frightened to let other people

know what was going on. I know I’m not alone in having felt that way;
perhaps some readers of this book will have had thoughts as tragic as

mine. However, instead of succumbing, I somehow drew on some inner
strength. I kept watching those ships intently until lunch period was over,

and I had to return to class. I hoped and prayed for a better life.

Still, my sheer hunger often drove me to weep.
You might ask why I didn’t run away. I didn’t; God only knows

why. I had many opportunities and something––anything––had to be
better than this. Still, I had no idea where to go.

Back in the hills of northern Jamaica, in Friendship, I could have
worked on my grandfather’s farm. But it would have been a life of poverty,

obscurity, and of mooching, scratching around to make some sort of living.

Friendship had been a marvelous place when I was a child, but now I was
growing up. I knew I had to be a man and make my own way in the world.

I would often hear my grandfather’s words of wisdom ringing

inside my head in sayings that poetically summarized how he saw life. He
didn’t usually invent his aphorisms; they were part of his inherited culture.

But the reverence and integrity he gave to them left me in no doubt that
they were the basis of a powerful philosophy of life. For example:

Mother may have, father may have,

but blessed is the child who has his own.

That told me that a child must one day find his own way in life and

support himself. It led to me believe that I too would one day have a better
life. I trusted in God, and I could only begin to provide for myself by

staying in school in Kingston, even if it meant remaining with a mother
who didn’t want me.
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