The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes 1897-1991

By Alfred H. Mendes; Michèle Levy | Go to book overview

Appendix D

FROM THE REMEMBRANCE DELIVERED
BY STEPHEN MENDES AT HIS FATHER'S
FUNERAL SERVICE, 30 AUGUST 1991

Our father's wish would have been that we have the simplest of ceremonies when he passed away, and we have remained true to his wishes: no priest and no religious ceremony.

Our father was an indomitable figure who roared through life and, in the words of Sparrow's calypso, "was always on the go with little time to train". In current parlance, he was proactive as opposed to reactive. He made his mark on life, more so than life leaving its mark on him. ... Some human beings lash out a little more vigorously and effectively than others. In my father's case, his weapons were a resonant voice, a strong command of the English language and a social conscience, writing as he did with both sympathy and stark realism about the lives of the labouring classes in Trinidad: about the underworld characters; the sweetman and his women; and the life of the barrack-yard.

As a child, my father provided a strong and supportive influence for me. For many of my early childhood years he read every night from wondrous adventure stories such as Coral Island, South with Scott and The Kontiki Expedition, essentially about the indomitable spirit of man ...

He never pampered or over-indulged his children, but by his presence gave us a deep sense of security. He was always there, entertaining, story‐ telling, joking, with his riotous sense of humour, his own laughter invariably punctuating his endless stream of stories. By example, and less by

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