When I was five, back in the year a man first walked on the moon (sigh!), my parents and I went to Barbados for family vacation. My parents rented a house complete with housekeeper/babysitter, a warm woman named Anita whom I immediately took to and still remember fondly all these years later.
My parents befriended another family while we were there. They had one child too, a six-year-old boy named Shaun. I immediately fell in love. Nowadays I prefer my younger man, but back then, the older Shaun seemed exotic and fascinating. We also had matching haircuts. For reasons I am still not clear on, right before our trip, my mother decided that all my curly blonde hair needed to be lopped off. I ended up looking a bit like a miniature Twiggy.
Being a talented dressmaker, my mother used to sew all my clothes and was responsible for the ensemble in the above photo. She did beautiful work and it's a shame she never became a costume designer, a career she once dreamed of. Instead in her later life she ended up sewing a lot of Hallowe'en costumes, wedding and bridesmaid gowns, including one carefully altered to fit a very-pregnant bride! She sewed my wedding dress too, and I am still grateful for that.
I don't remember much about Shaun, except that he persuaded me to hide in a closet with him long enough to make our mothers frantic looking for us. Now don't worry, nothing naughty was going on in there! I recall sitting in the dark, trying to stifle giggles as we listened to our mums calling our names. I think Shaun ended up getting the blame for that episode.
I wonder what Shaun is up to now? I don't know his last name and I can't quite recall if his family was from England or Australia; I know they weren't Canadian. I wonder if he's gotten all decrepit and gelatinous and pasty, working as debt collector, or if he's still a sleek blonde womanizer, luring unsuspecting girls into closets? I guess I'll never know!
I have a lot of fond memories of our Barbados trip, but I also contracted a bad case of sand fleas, ending up with scabby, infected legs. I was taken to a Barbadian doctor and not allowed on the beach or in the ocean for the last week of the trip, something I found so upsetting that I still remember it 42 years later!
I could use a Caribbean vacation right about now...