I remember CLEARLY, he told me, “My name is George Innis, but call me Fizzy.” Then he said, “I want you to stop by here every evening to say hello to me,” to which I said, “Alright.”
I would know that by now, those of my Facebook friends reading my story, who are not Barbadians from the 60’s, would never understand Bajan culture, and might be asking yourselves, why would a grown man do such a thing. But back then it was a cultural thing. And as for me and my friend walking or skipping home alone at the age of 5, that was also culturally acceptable, as most everyone walked everywhere. And it was a cultural thing for grown people to take other people’s children under their ‘proverbial’ wings. And so, Fizzy took a GREAT liking to me.
When I turned 6 years old, I transferred to St. Mary’s Junior School, but that did not stop me from visiting Fizzy several times a week. By then I had accumulated some of the most unique and prettiest toys that he had given me. And not to forget my most treasured toy, Betty my doll. I even brought my two music boxes and my doll Betty here to the US when we moved. But my loving sister gave her to a someone’s daughter that was visiting us in Brooklyn, and the first thing that little girl did with my beloved Betty was to pull off her head. In Barbados I had clothes for Betty that I would Iron and keep in a box, and I had a Teacup and Saucer set, and I would cut up Bananas and Shirley Biscuits and have Teatime with Betty. My other favorites from Fizzy were my two Music Boxes….one was pink and in the shape of a heart and played the ‘Lullaby Song’, and the other played ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’. And by the time I was 13, I would travel to school listening to music on two radios that Fizzy gave me. They were in the shape of space ships. One was bright red and the other was bright orange, and the handles were circular handles that went around each space ship.
Everyone that knew Fizzy believed that he was my father, because that is what he told them, as he had no biological children. And as I grew older and became involved in a number of clubs and organizations, my visits to Fizzy became less. But still I would pay him an occasional visit, and still he would never let me leave him without the usual $20 bill.
As my visits to Fizzy grew less, he started coming by my home instead to pay me a visit. But in all the years that we had a father-daughter relationship, he never once came inside our home. He would only stand outside, as he knew that it was just us, the Carew girls, who lived with Ma-Ma at home. He had that much respect for my family and me.
To make a long story short, after we permanently moved to America when I was 17, I wrote Fizzy often. I also sent him his first ever Television, and had planned to bring him to the US when I could. I even traveled back home with Annice to visit when I was 21, and I saw the TV that I sent him, and realized that he was using it often. We took Fizzy driving all around the island. After Annice and I returned to the US, I was concerned about not hearing much from someone that I came to care so much for. Then I received a letter from Fizzy that he was VERY ill. I could even see it in his handwriting. Annice went back to Barbados to visit him just before he passed away.
I can say a lot more about my ‘adoptive’ father, George Inniss (Fizzy), but I just wanted to honor his memory for Father’s Day, and thank him for being there for me as a very loving Dad. Happy Heavenly Father’s Day Fizzy.
With Love and greatest Appreciation, Always, your daughter,
Recently, I promised to write about the Late Mr. George Innis (“Fizzy” to me), in a Tribute to Father's Day.......... I started attending Ms. Blackman’s private Pre-School in New Orleans, the city, when I was 4, and by the age of 5, I was running back and forth from pre-school to home with my friend, Elsa. One evening, while running and skipping on home from pre-school with Elsa, I heard this voice shouting,” Hey, Little girl…..Little girl!”
Instinctively, Elsa and I stopped to see who this guy was calling to. I can hear him now as if it was just a few years ago.
“I mean you…. I know your mother…..Come here…I know your mother.”
Now those were the days when it was okay for children to talk to strangers, especially adults. So, like obedient children, Elsa and I walked over to him. He was with friends in the corner shop. He asked us, “What you want, Coke? You like Coke?” And he asked the shop owner to give both Elsa and me a Coke. The shop owner opened up the cokes so that Elsa and I could drink them right there. And all the while this man kept on talking to me. He was trying to gain my trust, and he did. After all, I was only 5. Oh well, chalk it up to the fact that I was a cute little thing and a lot of grown people tended to like me…. but it was a ‘parental’ type of liking. And this strange man went above and beyond everyone else.
That evening when I reached home, I told Ma-Ma right away about Fizzy and how he treated Elsa and me to Cokes. Then I told her about his request for me to visit him every evening after school, to which Ma-Ma told me, “Yes, he’s my friend and you can do it.”
I am sure that Fizzy asked Ma’s permission first, as she was a strict, but confident and ‘extremely protective’ and loving mother. In no way would she have allowed it if she thought that someone was trying to harm any of her daughters. I am one hundred percent sure of that.
And so started this new connection between this man called Fizzy and me. Every evening after school I would stop by, and he would be waiting. He would always ask me if I wanted anything. And at least once a week Fizzy would hand me a $20 bill. Of course I would never keep it because I was so young and would never have known what to do with it, so I would take it home to Ma-Ma.
Eventually, it was just myself alone stopping by to visit Fizzy. He lived just about 5 houses from the shop, and even closer to Ms. Blackman’s Pre-School. So, if I didn’t see him there, I would visit him at his home.