Tag Archives: Aunt-Berenice

Susú Messenger Boy and Slave

I wholeheartedly support the strong anti-child labor movement in the world as we must put an end to the attitude of adults who feel they can take advantage of the vulnerability of children.

Presently, I’d gone back to doing what I knew best to do which was helping my grandmother, but I got the impression that I was beginning to feel too comfortable being around my grandmother and her adult female friends and associates, especially running Susú. It was a time that, at every turn it seemed, I’d become so trained by my grandmother that I was feeling taken for granted. I was not only the general handyman to her but to every one of her friends. Continue reading

My Auntie’s Sleeping Sickness- Part II

Image: An old fashioned black cook’s kitchen

On other occasions I discovered that Auntie could actually hear and comprehend any conversation that was going on around her although she was profoundly asleep. We could be conversing and she would go to sleep. Some time into the conversation I would rouse her and ask her what I had been talking about and, sure enough, she would relate everything I or anyone else had said, almost word for word. This is when I knew that she was “conscious” throughout her narcoleptic “episodes” and she could reason. Continue reading

Auntie and Her “Sleeping Sickness” – Part I

My Auntie Berenice Charles (on the right) and Aunt Gweny on the left. circ. 1991

St. Paul Episcopa Church in Panama City’s Santana District hasn’t changed much even today.

Old St. Paul Episcopal Church. My Auntie really introduced
me to regular church attendance at this church and
the joy of listening to the word of God in my first Sunday School.

My Aunt Berenice always struck me as a more gifted woman than what she led on. She had a good singing voice, had taught herself to play piano, she sang in the choir at St. Paul Episcopal Church. She could write, cipher, was big and powerful and was an exceedingly good cook- a talent that would earn her work in many Canal Zone kitchens throughout her long life. I first became acquainted with my Auntie when I was eight years old under adverse circumstances- the break up of my parent’s marriage. Continue reading