Lawyer Walker: Early Life
At school they called her, “pig lip” because her lips were considered big.
She didn’t get even close to passing her Common Entrance examinations. But, like a soldier, she battled through years of poverty which comes with nine miles walking to the All-Age school each day, humiliated, and lots of beating from her father because of her own way. She was rude.
Today, that same pig-lip girl is attorney Denniese Walker, an up-coming singjay, who is about to release her first song “Rise up Young Men.”
She is an advocate for young marginalized men and wants her songs to inspire them and others in society.
This is Part One of a five part series titled “Lawyer Walker.”
“My family was poor, although we didn’t go to bed hungry at nights. Between mom and dad, they raise 10 children. I fall ninth in line. We lived in a board house, no electricity, no running water in a community called Bybrook in Portland, Jamaica.
Luckily, dad was a farmer who plant a lot of coffee and sweet potato, yam, dasheen, cocoa, banana, and cho cho. And mom would sell some, along with what she would buy, at Coronation Market, Downtown Kingston. There she would sleep for part of the week as did many higglers those days.
She left on Sunday, ride on a market truck to catch the market in full swing and would come home on Wednesdays.
The river was where we bathe every morning before heading to school. One could know we were there because there were some rocks where we would hang out clothes. And, we would swim and play for say an hour before heading back home,
Breakfast for us was healthy. We had corn-meal porridge with cow’s milk from dad’s cow because, apart from ground provision, he would raise a few animals.
For dinner, we ate yam and potatoes and such delights almost everyday and couldn’t complain. How could I leave out the hot chocolate tea which was included in our breakfast menu. This was a favourite of every household.
Dad who planted chocolate would reap the pods himself. This was stripped and left in the sun to dry. Dad was the same one to grate the dried seed which was then boiled to make chocolate tea.
Our grandmother, “Granny B”, would cook and give us to eat. My favourite was curry chicken with rice and peas and yam.
We were not expected to talk back to our parents. But, I couldn’t care less.
I was ready to question anything and everything I thought was not right. So, for that reason, I was not liked by many people. And I can clearly remember the principal Mr. Gutzmore saying he would not send me to represent the school after I came first my school Spelling Bee competition because I would embarrass the entire school, including the teachers.
I remember doing the Common Entrace examination and writing whatever comes to my mind, especially if I did not understand the questions. If I didn’t let go this attitude I would not be able to become a lawyer.
We grew up in church because my mother, Daphne Clarke-Walker and dad attended the More Park Seventh Day Adventist. He was an Elder in that ministry.
Church starts at 9:00 am in the morning, So we left home at about 8:00 am. We would leave at about 12 noon and return for the evening session which starts to 3:00 pm.
For us reading was a priority, as such we knew the Bible well. My father would be the one to check our books and he was a very strict man.
He used to teach adults who couldn’t read and write well for free. That was the JAMAL programme
But, tell you the truth my ears were hard as rockstone so many people never expected me to become something good in life.
Coming next. Lawyer Walker: A Silver Medallist at School Champs. Only on the Reggae-Vibes site.
(Photos courtesy of Denniese Ann Walker)