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PostSubject: Fantastik Mam ! Thatís not a name!   Fantastik Mam ! Thatís not a name! Icon_minitimeMon Apr 07, 2008 9:20 pm

On the way back home after the Spring Fling in Tampico, even though there is a lot to see and questions from the children that need answers, there is time to think and dream. Think of my oldest sons, now men, living their own life, one as a naval officer, the other managing our estates in Kebec. Dreams about the future of my younger children. And think about the past.

How many times have I heard: Fantastik Mam ! Thatís not a name! In fact, that is the answer I received in Sommerset Island from the Harbour Master when I introduced myself. In the Caribbean where I sail now, people call me by this nickname, but in my back I hear them chatter ďI wonder why this woman has such a name! Itís strange, sheís weird!Ē And so on. Of course I have a real name, but seldom, if ever, used those last many years...

At that time, about seven years back from now, my parents passed away while coming back from the new continent. From what have been told me, the sailing part of the trip went well. It's on the ground the accident occurred. The horses pulling the diligence got frightened and the coachman was not able to control them. The diligence felt in a ravine and...

After this event, I took charge of the family business and of the family itself because my two older brothers were naval officers and often away. After their death in a battle against Britain, I became the eldest, my sisters being much younger, in fact very young ladies. With the help of our nanny, I took care of their education, sometimes they were telling me ęTu es comme une maman Ľ and the other one adding ęUne maman fantastique Ľ. At one point, I sent them in convent so they received education and were looked after. I was therefore free to manage our estates in the New World, specifically in Kebec.

In Les Escardines, far north in France close to the ocean, where we had a fishing trade, slavery was just a word. Of course we had heard stories about people being bought and worked for their masters, but in our small hamlet, such thing doesnít exist. When arriving in Kebec, I realised this was almost usual and I heard it was a common thing in south. I wasnít there to judge the way people were managing their own business so I took charge of mine. One of the decisions I took was to free those slaves I owed. I learnt the hard way freedom is richness so I was in no regard ready to owe people. I freed them and proposed they keep on living in my land as long as they work for their living. It has then be a common effort, some people were taking care of the fields, some other of the cattles, of the house and so on. It was different from what other landlords were doing, but it worked well and those freed slaves began to call me Fantastik Mam. The most beautiful thank you they could have told me.

True, itís not a name. Itís a loving nick name. In a time and place where slaves are a commodity, I cannot explain this nickname to no one. Most of them would not understand and be upset. Itís much easier to let them wonder and think itís my husband that gave it to me in part by love in part to tease me. Anyway, itís the way Rťjean uses it, a loving teasing name.
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