Louise 'Aunty Baby' Albert

94 years - La Romaine

Louise's family lived a subsistence lifestyle. She was one of seven children. "My father had a gun, double barrel, he used to hunt wild meat…We had plenty fruits." Her mother and siblings would make bread from the cassava they grew. Any extra bread they made they would walk eight miles to sell. Cassava bread was sold for 6c (large) and baked in a dirt oven, which she remembers sweeping out before baking could begin.

Making peppermint was a favourite task for Louise, "boil sugar, put in oil, wait till it thick like laglee…pull over and stretch…cut on marble stone."

Chip chip were sometimes harvested before school - "go down to the beach at low tide with a basket and step in the sand, and fill the basket with sand then wash out the sand and yuh get the chip chip. Then we would run to school."

Schools' hygienic standards were quite stiff in Louise's day. With no running water in the house, children would bathe in icy cold streams before school. This presented a monumental task to achieve true cleanliness from head to toe. "Watch your nails…stand with your hands out, if they [dirty] then you getting licks and if she [teacher] push a pencil and it cah go through yuh hair you getting licks." Louise didn't need much for school, "Walk with your slate and chalk to the government school [Buenos Ayres Government School]" as paper books were rare.

Games of rounders, marbles and cricket were common but it was the riskier exploits that forever etched groves in Louise's memory. "We would wait for the donkey to come down the road…shake the samboa [bag or pouch to carry load on donkeys] and let the balata fall into our dresses and run back under [fence] and hide it under the school."

Teens of these days stayed close to home as there were no street lights in Buenos Ayres nor were there many places for socialising. They would congregate at the home of a friend usually at the fireside in the early evening and "have a chat…about eight o' clock we would make a cook. We used to have singing competition in the kitchen…we would sing nice tune, four or five of us, while our parents were in the house."

Louise ran a parlour in Palo Seco in her early twenties - "everybody come by me for lunch." She would make milk-bob, mauby, coffee, floats and fry bake. During Christmas she would "bake meat- kill the hog and corn the meat, salt it and put it over the fireside and smoke it." Cooking was her passion and she catered and served food to all levels of society, including the first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams.