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"Awakening The French in Me" while remembering our creative and poetic poster, "Devril". Her contribution to us, with her "Land of Shallotte River" poem had served as an inspiration for my post, with all due literary imbellishments rightfully deserved.
Sitting on the land of Charlotte River river is The "Pont de L`anse Universite' "; that "school of hard knocks" that spans its breath. With its distinguished Cast Iron, Steel Knobbed Railings, it sat at the epicenter of le Boulevard de Depradine in Charlotte Town. Le Pont had served as the demilitarized zone between the waring religious factions and capitalist bourgeoisie to its South and the good decent and peace-loving residence in the French Quarters to its North hence the prefererred location for l'Universite'. It is in that school where one would get one's belly, a fitting characteristic of the Northerners......lol while jooking my Bredren, Downstreet.
In its heydays, it was intentionally purposed to be the thorofare for the economic hubb of the Northern Parishes and their interior suburbs, providing "free passage without hindrance" to enhance the Western Side (yes Sir.! Mr. DeCoteau) agriciltural initiative. It had also served the purpose of providing credentialing for the fertile minds that formed a gauntlet on its Northern walls, addressing all and sundry with no semblance of a compromise as to character or social status.
The free spirited discussions and debates that took place there, did not discriminate between the bombastic, braggadociousness of the many; the prying eyes of the "tormentous sallupues" on the passersby nor the local minds of the town's intelligencia group, despite "not receiving their proper salutations at times".
And over the years, the venue was able to retain its notoriety, so much so, that one could have observed a Clergy, attired in liturgical vestments sitting-in on one of the evening's "seminars" a direct aversion to the more distinct class structure that existed among our adopted Cousins on the South Side.
But as the elements of Mother Nature had taken its toll on Le pont, the growing inconveniences of its practicality had demanded another to take its place. So as it succumbs to the wrecking blades of the Bull Dozer and the Back Hoe, the momories of its students and the footprints imbedded in her path would always be etched in our minds.
It should be said as a fitting epithet to Le Pont, that "the narrowness of your design was antonymous to the minds you help create."
May your new version be just as strong and memorable.
Nice tribute and insights, Verne.
I hope that the many, many who do read this TalkShop but choose not to post, will drop their guard and join us in recalling their memories of this span that linked the French quarters to the English that give our Gouyave its particular character.
In more ways than one that bridge symbolized the loving arms of mama, who huddled the L'Anse and Downstreet communities together regardless of their differences. There are some downstreeters who will tell you that they NEVER EVER dared to cross her even though they continued to identify themselves as coming from Gouyave. But how could their identification be real when the fame of Gouyave could never have come to fruition without that vital span crossing over the Gouyave river to the L'Anse? That's the connection! It is like that famous bridge that links Manhattan to Brooklyn.
And curiously enough, that's where one of the curious ironies of Gouyave lies. Sophisticated as some downstreeters considered themselves, going on the other side of the bridge was like smudging themselves with indelible ink that the sophisticates of St. George's and elsewhere were not supposed to ever see. In their eyes the L'Anse symbolized barbarism, bad manners and every thing that was not supposed to be a part of "good breeding" or as our Yardie brothers in Jamaica would say "good brought-upsy."
It was therefore not surprising that the many who left Gouyave for St. George's seeking to add to, or acquiring more to their presumed sophistication came mainly from downstreet. (Hey Mr. Downstreet/Selwyn, you might be a bit too young to remember those days, but ask your parents or grands, and if they are honest about it, they'll tell you that it's true.)
Hopefully the renewed interest in Julien Fedon will help to reveal that the French Catholic North was always and continues to be the real area of resistance to the British in St. George's with the "downstreeters, their sometimes cohorts. As much as we could, we remained true to Fedon's cause, refusing to bend to the dictates of those Britishers in town. We would not yield despite the odds! (We know only too well how those terms are always applied to their fiercest resistors.) More than likely that's how our label of being ignorant, unsophisticated, fighters, and barbarous was forged. It in turn made our Gouyave even more protective of our "independence" as I referred to it in a chapter in A PLACE CALLED GOUYAVE "We versus them."
That spirit gave us life, it gave us perspective to face unflinchingly whatever challenges were thrown at us, and whomever dared to challenge us. That's how we would rather fight than accept defeat at football in our own backyard. That's how you'll still hear some of us referring to Gouyave as though it is its own independent nation within Grenada. That's how we became Gouyave, and perhaps in time historians will discover this continuing link of Julien Fedon's resistant spirit to Gouyave, the little town that never sleeps.
P.S: I earnestly beg and hope that reluctant posters will add their perspectives and their episodic stories to this landmark. There is so much to tell. Irreplaceable in our hearts as Fedon was.
Of the many excerpts in your post I could have recognized as being emblematic of our Gouyave spirit is >>>>>>>........That's how you'll still hear some of us referring to Gouyave as though it is its own independent nation within Grenada. <<<<< Lol
Indeed! some of us wear our "Gouyaveiness" on our sleeves.
I just hope that readers of this board do not think we are being divisive with our posts. As for mine, it was in my continuing little "tongue in cheek " satirical piconging with Downstreet/Selwin" which should not be misconstrued as an attempt at disparaging the character of our Brothers and Sisters Dowstreet.
As for "my Paren Selwyn", if he remembers Miss Odan Sweetie then I am sure he would recall when our Gouyave folks had to remain underground while taking up residence in the South; in some cases, not recognizing their place of birth and giving it its proper noteriety for its nation building efforts.
So yes! we have made others come a long way in recognizing their ignorance. Some have admitted to it while others still have the Deed for their parents land in a vault in Town.
When recalling past events, some choose to ignore the unpleasant and focus exclusively on the pleasantries.
Like the stories of so many others, Gouyave did have both its pleasantries as well as unpleasantries. We were Grenada's rogue when one was needed. We were like the Georgetown (basketball) Hoyers of Patrick Ewing days or the Miami (football) Hurricanes in the days of Michael Irvin.
Within our ranks there were those who joined others to view and think of us as no-goods etc. In spite of that we like the football and basketball players thrived and flourished. It completely blew my mind while enjoying one Fish Friday night I ran across quite a few of my old GBSS schoolmates. Those were among the very same guys who used to bad-talk anything that pertained to Gouyave, and as far as they were concerned would not set a ten foot pole anywhere in or near Gouyave.
Showing off who she was, the L'Anse bridge weathered all those storms, even when it was believed she should have collapsed a long, long time ago. Like the Catholic and Anglican church steeples she remained emblematic of the true Gouyave spirit, bend but don't break, and blending those on either sides of her banks into one proud community. That's why folks from the southern parts feel just as proud as the northerners in calling Gouyave the town that never sleeps, even though it is the L'Anse where the happenings take place.
That's why our friends, Downstreet and Verne can pappyshow each other about those differences but yet remain Gouyave at heart all through it. Like the Brooklyn Bridge, it's the L'Anse bridge that have us so! It is our ties that bind.
The other side of the story are the many, many fond memories she left us with to cherish. Which youngster did not like to be on the bridge to say "nice ride" when buses passed over it. Funny how we nor our parents ever considered how dangerous that could have been! Our joy was in "nice ride" without realizing that the bridge was showing how vulnerability with the passage of time.
There are endless stories of carnival bands clashing when they encountered each other on the bridge. Legend has it that Tan Jane in her Shorty-knee costume and men like Stressman literally threw their opponents (especially those from Victoria and Chantimelle) into the river beneath, during some of those clashes. Perhaps the line in one of our local songs "Mama whoolay, whoolay woola, Mama, ba Chantimelle coming" was the lasting tribute of those legendary times.
Under the bridge was our ideal locale for us little boys to build a "brassiere"(sp) deep enough to learn to swim before we dared venture into the big wide open sea. We played king of the hill from the big stones just as we were to later play from the anchored seine boats in the sea.
The story of Gouyave would be empty without the L'Anse bridge being an integral part of it. Don't be surprised to hear appreciations differing markedly from those that you or I could even recall or think of.
Well, Well, Well, who would have thought, that an innocuous public works project, such as the replacement of a crumbling bridge across the River Seine, would arouse such nostalgia and passion from agents of the Vikings of the North. In true Trumpian style, they chose to seize this as an opportunity to unleash their hostility against the erstwhile citizens of the Southern Depradine, as if is we "Dat mash up dey bridge"Obama didn't do it, nor did we. Is there any wonder that only the brave of heart ever ventured passed the Demilitarized Zone into Sin City.
Truth be told. we on the South Side never harbored any ill will against our neighbors to the North, nor do we intend to utilize the new wider span to invade or Anglocise the district. We accept as it is, and we are cool. Whatever negative perceptions that may have existed during the childhood of those two stalwart defenders here, are as passé as Hume, and may have been conjured and harbored more by the Northsiders themselves, than the residents of the genteel, Southern suburbs.
While I appreciate the human instinct to stoutly defend ones home turf, one must be careful not to sacrifice truth and reality, upon the altar of patriotic duty. There is no need for our brothers to start moonlighting as cosmeticians, lipstick in hand. I am amazed at the attempt to claim Julien Fedon, as the Hero of the L'anse. Not of Gouyave, not of St Johns, not of the French Colonists through out Grenada, but of that strip stretching from Se Cacca to Bennago. Wow.! So I racked my brain trying to find, if there is a street, a tree, a statue, a seine boat even, commemorating the exploits of the goodly monsieur. Nada, I mean "non". I even call Selwyn up in the "Camp". He say "de only ting he see up dey in manicou, tattoo and monkey,running around, but it so cold he tink he coming back down.
I agree that the school of hard knocks was the "University" of my youth. On many a night, I ventured passed the DMZ, onto the North Side. It was Las Vegas, Disneyland and Dodge City all rolled into one. From the drinking saloons from which inebriated patrons will summon schoolboys to enter and settle arguments, and would not be allowed to leave until they "take one", to Cassaman's Cellblock Casino, where one can gamble illegally on pin ball, or legally on billiards or table tennis, the ladies of the night, and characters, characters, the likes of which Disney is yet to behold. It was the only spot in Grenada's 120 sq miles alive after 10 pm and awake after midnight. As satellite pictures taken from space would have undoubtly shown shown. Fellas embrace it, I have.
It mattered not that the Christians and prudes among us characterized the place as Sodom and Gomorrah, Sin City and other bastions of ill repute, this was very unfortunate , and I took a very different view. I loved it then and I love it now, my footprints are deeply etched on the "Pons du L'anse" and I share your desire to preserve it in some way, for posterity. If you fellahs in de States, will start a fund raising drive, I will accommodate the bridge Downstreet, on the Dougaldston River, and rename it de Julien Fedon Causway. Psych! but run de bread.
Finally I must admit that Downstreet is not blameless for the Wild Wild West character of the North Side. After all it was the location of Buonaparte's Theatre, which fed wannabe desparados from a steady diet of American Westerns, featuring such luminaries of the silver screen, such as John Wayne, Lee Van Cleef, and Jack Pallance.The young cowboys voraciously ate it all up, and took it back to their hoods, acting out what they had just imbibed, as they traversed Northwards, along the Depradine. There is still a lot of Dodge in the DNA of our Northern Cuzzins.
How sacreligous! of this begotten son of ah "legeblasse"; a possible cast-away, way word Nomad, to now take up a position of slander against the cultural diversity of WE! the pure- breed descendents of Africans in the French Quaters over Pont de L'anse.
How ungreatful of him, after benefitting so much from our African ethnic cleansing initiative that now, had afforded him the luxury of a good life. He should have remembered it was WE!, with literally "wood in hand" who saved his kind from being cross-contaminated with the geneological imputities of inbreeding by the Nomadic, Norseman, (his descendents) from taking roots among our varied tribesmen.
And after we had given him the opportunity to survive and bear fruits of his own, (albethey low quality as coming from his "Hanging Chad")but in a location, far removed from the general populace; separated by our Pont de L'anse, he now wishes to malign our people.
I am ordering that his safe passage be revoked forthwith and he be subjected to "a pelt!" for these wicked and scurrilous remarks as noted further below.
These all came after we allowed for his excape from that Penal Colony on that South Side he now honors with his sobriquet, to cross over to the North and enjoy many nights of relaxation and pleasure. And after having a culinary experience of ingesting some of our best cuts of "Whild Meats"-imported from our northern parishes to supplement our daily diet of fish this troubled individual, (no doubt an accomplice of that reprobate, Selwyn) had the gaul to refer to us as "Doge City".
>>>>>>>I ventured passed the DMZ, onto the North Side. It was Las Vegas, Disneyland and Dodge City all rolled into one.....the ladies of the night, and characters, characters, the likes of which Disney is yet to behold. It was the only spot in Grenada's 120 sq miles alive after 10 pm and awake after midnight.<<<<<<
But Sello....ah mean Downstreet, it must have been a Saturday night when you decided to make that perceived perilous journey across Ponte de L'anse to engage in your "eye food expidition" to observe our young French/African ladies,("Ladies of the Night", you disparagingly referred to them as) all dressed in their nightly attire to attend "the mid-night mass" in your quarters. What you did not know is your resident Ligarous, with deep pockets had already taken up positions in every nook and cranny in the French Quarters; abandoning their socialite life style in the South to taste our French cooking and make it back down in time for church on Sundays, the good Christians they were.
But you desire to venture over the Pont was not by accident. You see, like the Wildobeast on the plains of the African Sarrenghetti, you too have that dominant gene in your DNA to find "water and good food" where ever it may be. Your Forefathers had made that trip hundreds of times in their lifetime hence laying the path for you to follow, and that you must, even as you make a brief stop at the University de L'anse to sharpen your skills...Lol
And I would be remiss in not mentioning your inability to understand that WE in the North have the innate ability to use our God given talent to carve out our own niches to supplement our survivability skills.
Your observation of >>>>>the drinking saloons from which inebriated patrons will summon schoolboys to enter and settle arguments, and would not be allowed to leave until they "take one"<<<<<<< is an attestation to our early advent into the world of mental and psychological dominance of one over the other. The application of our "Anger Management technique" where over-proofed spirits are used is mainly to calm the nerves and testosterone overload of young boys. Its debilitating effect on their minds restricts their propensity to use physical force. It is therfore best to make that intervention at an early age so they too can follow in your footsteps of "having ah Rivers" instead of paying a Psychiatrist. It seems like you had been trained very well. Why not allow the younger ones to follow in your footsteps, eh boi?. He! He! He! He!
And again, I must explain to you, the shortsightedness of one of your opined statements regarding >>>>>>Cassaman's Cellblock Casino, where one can gamble illegally on pin ball, or legally on billiards or table tennis,<<<<
My boi, what you had witness was our preparedness for future development of those with an early acumen for entrepreneurship in the Casino business; a Donald 2.0 with more sense and now possible future President. But I would add, for those who prefer to indulge in games of chance or forecast on the statistical probability of occurance, they too can find accommodations in the area commonly referred to as Gun Battle.
With this understanding now, I expect a full apology from you to Monsieur Decoteau, the Webmaster and Me as a precondition for us removing the stoning (ah mean Pelt) edict. To do otherwise is to invoke the green verbs contained in my colloquial, flowerly writing style and give you "sand for sugar in you tail".....Lol
Cuzzin Verne, you need to take a chill pill,and relax, before you blow a gasket. If you were a practicing Catholic I would have suggested, that you break bush for the first church, and douse your head with a gallon of Holy Water. If you were on the L'anse, I would have suggested that you tie you head with saffron and asseffesita and drink a young, jelly coconut from a tree that Leader Gabriel planted in his his yard in Marran. If you were Downstreet, I would have that aspiring mixologist Selwyn, concoct his brain cooler special, made up of two shots of Rivers, one shot of Clarkes Court, and 10 drops of Jack Iron, shaken not stirred. But since you live in the Belly of the Beast, I would have to prescribe Prozac, extra strength.
Your bombastic tirade, laced with vitriol and defamation, against the genteel folk of the Southern Depradine, has done nothing but exposed your aversion to having your epidermis pierced by the slightest of verbal barbs. I always knew that you were tribal, now I know that you identify with the "Dia Tribe". In other words you like to " Juke ting" but in true Trumpian fashion, you resort to your primal Stone Age" predisposition, of throwing stones, aka, that ancient L'ansian sport, the "Ground Apple Toss", perfected on the crowded streets of the Upper Depradine on Saturday nights. Fortunately this ancient contest was not adopted by the Internal Olympic Committee and the bighearted people of Downstreet, allowed Kirani to train in Their park, and the rest is History.
I thank you, for laboriously schooling me, in the complex mores, and nuances of the Northside. You enlightened me about the true meaning of my adolescent life, and through your mentorship, I discovered with fresh eyes what my young eyes, "thought they were witnessing. Thank you cuzzin Vern, from the heart of my bottom. One of the things that I did learn from your Campus of North Western University though, is that one cannot effectively throw stones with two arms simultaneously, notwithstanding the dexterity of the thrower. It is counter-intuitive to express an image of violence, hostility and retribution, as the flavor of the North side, on one hand, and have the lipstick ready to pretty it up, in the other. You may not have noticed but I deliberately left out references to "stoning, and Gun Battle in my previous post. But since you brought them up, I guess thats"s heritage talking.
You expressed with great pride in your post, how Norsemen are imbued with God given talent to carve out niches to supplement our survivability skills, but right after that, you turned into Mr Hyde, or Donald Trump, issuing not so veiled threats to stone the church going Christians of the South side. Of course such a dastardly deed, would require reprisals, like the North has yet to Imagine. Our sanctions will be immediate, and draconian. For starters we will blow all bridges across the river Seine, cutting off access to the Post office, the Bank, The Park, The Pool, The Churches, The Market, St George's, even the Cemetery.. No food, no work, no Sunday prayers,no funerals, and most hurtful of all no money from Hingland Canadah an de USA. Jeez that is harsh. Oh and if you come to bring ting, you betta land in Pearls, it is Shorter.
Oh and cuzzin Vern, Selwyn is pissed, that you are scandalizing his good name, conflating that scalawag Downstreet, with an upstanding citizen like himself. He came down from Camp yesterday, and heard the bad news, whereupon he announced to everybody in the Shop, that he had a vision while at Fedon's Camp that Vern and Tony Dee, was one and the same person. Ah had to take one on dat.
>>he announced to everybody in the Shop, that he had a vision while at Fedon's Camp that Vern and Tony Dee, was one and the same person.<<
What took you/Selwyn so long to find out the truth? He,he,he!!
He was waiting for De Donald to introduce him to his world of "alternative facts" before he figure out that you and I are one of the same.
Now that he and Selwyn have worked clandestinely together to established the notion of "fake posts", anything goes.
Personally, I think our Northern Gatekeeper, Arthur should ban him but he too may have connection with "Selwyn Lasarge's Wicked Leaks" and may find a way to get in through the back door.
Verne you going to make me belly buss, fus ah laffin.
HA! HA! HA! HA! AND HA! Is the goodly gentleman suggesting that King Arthur issue an executive order banning Downstreeters from this site? Is it true? eh? Is it true?
Selwyn used to ah song, that he uded to play on the Jukebox in Cell Block' that went like dis."Tell dem do so doh like so, Bam bah yo! Bam bah yo!"