A few weeks after working with Zazeannah Walker for the US Fulbright Scholar seeks Barbadian family Loop article–it was in the pipeline and hadn’t created a buzz yet–I hit a genealogy milestone.
I decided to ZR to Mount Standfast and essentially walk around and take pictures of the area where I was aware my Great-Grandma Irene lived. But as I was asking for directions (Google only gets you in the range of where you’re going out here in Barbados) I also asked a few people if they knew any Depeizas. Two of the people I asked pointed out a pink house behind a church.
But I questioned whether I should even look for this pink house. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been calling every DePeiza I could find in the phonebook and interviewing them about their family history to see if and how we could be related. (I had been planning to meet some of them but had been unsuccessful up to this point). And I didn’t want to show up at one of their homes unannounced.
I decided to ignore the directions to the pink house and instead continue walking straight ahead up on highway 1 until I came across “The Garden” street sign. I had to turn and walk it. More than half of the baptism, marriage and death records I’ve found of ancestors of yesteryear in the Barbados National Archives stated the abode was “The Garden.” So, I follow this road imagining so much. Mount Standfast was once a plantation. Where exactly on this road could my Great-great-grandparents have raised their children? But I snap out of it once I realized the Garden road had left me standing in front of the pink house.
Once I get there, I call out for a Depeiza. A lady answered from the window, “I am a DePeiza” and I told her how I was one too. “My great-grandma is Irene DePeiza who left for Brooklyn and married a Trumpet.”
“Do you know a Gladys?”
“Yes, that is my great-grandma’s sister.”
“Oh okay. Hold on.”
She called a person or two (I now know they were cousins from Canada) and then asked me if I knew someone else. “You know a Grace?
“Yes, Grace Hunnicutt is my aunt and I’m the son of her baby sister, Christine.”
“I could smell it in the blood but now I’m sure you’re family.”
Ann, my 2nd cousin once removed, let me inside her pink house and by finding her I was able to connect to some of my Bajan family.
Rashaun J. Allen (@rashaunjallen) received his MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from SUNY Stony Brook. He’s eyeing agents to help publish his coming of age story, Christine’s Dream – A Memoir of Love, Loss & Life. He is the author of A Walk Through Brooklyn & In The Moment and has been published in TSR: The South Hampton Review and is forthcoming in The Tishman Review. When not writing he runs for the thrill of crossing the finish line. Find more of his work at www.rashaunjallen.com.
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