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Jacques

 

My name is Jacques… a French name… a patois name… I speak in patois… oh yeah… yeah… I speak patois… speak patois… two languages… two in one… yes sir…

Yes.

I was born in nineteen zero naught five… 1905… yeah… August 12th 1905… I’m 99 years old… I get a letter from the queen next year… I don’t think so. I was born in St Lucia… an island in a lot of other islands… it’s where I was born… a small little island with a lot of things… St Lucia a small place like the Canaries… a long, long time ago… August 12 1905… yes… that’s right… and my parents?

My parents are dead now of course… I’m the only one left. From the day they died I ran the farm… when I was a boy I was managing the estate. Yes! They had cattle… cattle… yes sir… managing cattle and so on… I managed the cattle farm… yes… that’s it… a cattle farm it was then… yes… I was doing that… I remember… on the island of St Lucia I was doing just that…

I always thought I’d get to a hundred… why not? The lesson is two in one… you get two lives at a time… two in one… yes sir… two lives in one on the island of St Lucia… I came to England in 1950… I was doing the work of two people… two jobs… two in one… hard work… but it was nothing to me… easy after working in St Lucia…

St Lucia was nice… nice people… and so on… I’m the only one left… my father’s dead… my mother’s dead… and brothers… two brothers and two sisters… all spread out… two brothers died at the same time… their names? Lillian, Marie and Ellen… and so on… I was the youngest… the youngest of the children… I never married… from the time I came here I lived on my own… my mother and father died and I was still a bachelor… a bachelor… I was never lonely… I played my own music… the mandolin… my father was playing the mandolin in Cuba… he said, “This is yours I bring for you”. I played my music all the time… especially love songs… I played them all the time… in a big house alone by the sea in St Lucia.

I don’t know why I moved to England… I don’t know why… it was cold… I remained in two persons… two persons in one… I don’t know how but I managed it… and… yes sir… now… I remember the cattle… and the ranch… I was a cowboy!