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Still a good month

Richard Massiah (standing) chatting with a former colleague, George Forde.

by Kimberley Cummins

For one Christ Church man, he and the month of November have a bitter-sweet relationship.

Richard Massiah said he loves November and believes it is the most important month of the year. You see, tomorrow, when thousands of people across the island and nationals across the world celebrate Barbados’ 46th Independence Day, he will also be celebrating a landmark.

He will celebrate his 54th birthday on that same day and so will his brother Wayne Massiah, who was born a year before him in 1958.

Also tomorrow he will take time to celebrate the life of his father, who died 20 years ago on the same date, while continuing to grieve for the life of his first grandchild who was a stillborn last Saturday, November 24.

“I still love November, it is still a good month,” he said. “I look at death as something everyone has to face. When my dad was sick I would tell he ‘Well, you know that one day you have to die’. When he died I didn’t cry… I couldn’t cry.†I said to myself, ‘What a birthday present to get’.†I’m happy though ’cause I was born on the day that Barbados decided to be independent, I have a brother born on that day and I can celebrate his birthday. My father died on that day but I can also still celebrate his life.

“I love November, it is a very important month…†I love it and I look forward to it more than Christmas. I look forward for the conkies.†I love it especially when the parade is at night so I could see the fireworks. I enjoy it better in the night; the sun does be too hot. I don’t have to hold a party ’cause the whole country is partying on my day – that is what I like,” Massiah added.

The siblings were among seven children born to their mother. Growing up, he and his brother were very close. When he was four years old their mother migrated to England and they, along with three other siblings were sent to live with their grandmother in Silver Sands.

She was very poor, he said, and neither he nor his brother was celebrated in a special way, even after the historic occasion.

No breaking the bond

After it became too hard for their grandmother to deal with all the children, he was then sent to live with his father in Bourne’s Land.†As a result of having different fathers the children were separated but that could not break their bond.

They would still see each other daily and would engage in cricket and football matches with each another, sometimes on opposing teams.

“We were close and up to now we are still close, always keeping in correspondence with one another. We both liked the sea a lot and he eventually end up becoming the best fisherman in Silver Sands up until he migrate to New York.

“Both of we like water bad that is probably why I am now a supervisor at the Barbados Water Authority. I start my 27th year last month.

Still in contact

“First a year separated us, now thousands of miles, but we does still keep in contact through a sister who lives in London and that keeps a bond between us,” the father of three said.

This year Massiah will celebrate his birthday without his brother since he will not be coming home for the occasion but they plan to have a post birthday celebration next year when he comes and that will be topped only by a family reunion.

Tomorrow he still plans to enjoy himself and he will do this by playing competitive dominoes for a sports club when they host a sports day at the Deighton Griffith Secondary school. He said he was hoping to enjoy a sweet sea bath and eat “a lot” of conkies.

“It was my day before it was Barbados’ day…†I am an Independence baby so I will enjoy the glory,” he said.

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