Living in our quiet suburb community across the street from our quiet, well-kept home was what my poor mother considered all at once an annoyance and a nightmare; Ms Norma. What is so special about Ms. Norma you ask? Buckle up and take this ride with me. Enfield Ave, was a place where middle class families resided and everyone took pride in their respective properties. That block shone as a direct result. The home directly across the street was no different; well kept and was a beautiful sight. That is until, one of the residents would come outside, half naked in nothing but a slip cursing at the top of her voice at everyone and the light post. Seriously. no joke. Meet my beloved Ms. Norma.
Ms Norma lived in that pretty home with her two daughters who were flight attendants and mostly gone. what I didn’t know at the time was their mother was diagnosed as bi-polar, paranoid schizophrenic. All I knew is that the neighbors gave her wide berth as she was known to get worse if she even thought you were looking in her direction. A few tried to calm her down and they limped away with verbal wounds never to recover.
there were days when she was lucid and I guess they were able to get her on the meds regularly but when she refused to take them she was off on a tangent again. That is until the day I was walking out my house and she stopped, looked at me and asked if I understood where she was coming from. In my innocence, I would stop, listen and talk to her. We became instant friends. Whenever she needed anything, she would dust off her feet, walk across the street and softly ask me for a ” Little sugga, Little, rice or little flour” I gave her whatever she wanted and freely shared my parent’s food to the point that when I left Jamaica, she spilled our secret after one of my sisters refused her..lol!!
The impact of my patience and kindness towards her was soon made evident years later when my oldest son went to Jamaica as a baby. When she found out he was my child, they formed an instant bond and Alexander was known to sit and wait for her so he could call her name and they would proceed to have lengthy discussions in a language only they understood. I am told it made her so happy and I am glad because she didn’t like too many people.
We never know the impact we have on others each time we give a little of our time; it has been two decades later and Ms. Norma has since died but she taught me a lesson in love that I will not soon forget. In her often foggy brain, she gave back to my first-born in spades, what I had given to her; kindness and love, with no judgement attached.