No joy for fire victim this Father's DaySunday, June 20, 2021
MAY PEN, Clarendon — For many years, Father's Day was a calendar event that Lydon Calvert looked forward to celebrating but this year things will be a lot different because he no longer has a comfortable place to call home.
The 59-year-old father of one lost his Evans Avenue home in a fire on June 28 last year, a week after he marked Father's Day by inviting neighbours and their children to share a meal with him.
This year, he will likely be spending the day in what is left of his three-bedroom home, a back room with a tarpaulin covering the damaged roof in an often futile attempt to keep out the rain. His focus now is trying to figure out how to repair the fire-scorched, dilapidated structure that is now his home. There will be no big meals, no merry-making, no fun.
“Every year on Father's Day I usually cook and many youth come around and we eat, talk and laugh together and I share life lessons with them and educate them,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.
“I am a father not only for my daughter and grandchildren, but for other youth in the community. I get along very well with them, because I teach them about life and mentor them wherever I can.”
He was also there for his own daughter, Shanoami Calvert, raising her alone. “I went above and beyond to ensure my daughter was never in need. When you have a partner to help raise kids, it's a little easier. But as a single father I had to make twice the effort,” he said.
That love and support paid off. His 33-year-old daughter says he is her best friend. “He has always been there for me. In any circumstance I can call on him and he will be there. We talk about any and everything. He has my back and I have his, I couldn't ask for a better person to be my father,” she said. “Growing up he was a strict father and sometimes I used to think he was harsh. But now that I am a mother of three, I understand what he was trying to do and how he was trying to raise me. And that has caused us to be even closer as I try to grow my children with the same principles he taught me. Even though we are living in different parishes, we talk every day. We talk about everything, no matter how bad it is. He also visits me regularly. Sadly I will not see him this Father's Day but I will be calling him to tell him how much I appreciate him.”
Shanoami now lives in Kingston with her children, two of whom lived with their grandfather until the fire.
“After the house burn down I had to send the children back to their mother because I have nowhere to keep them and I cannot feed them because I am not working,” said Calvert who is a carpenter. His tools were lost in the fire.
He longs to be around his grandchildren.
“I miss not having my grandkids around, they bring life to my surroundings, the little things they would say and the laughter they give to me is what I miss most. The things they say amuse me so mi miss dem, miss dem really bad,” he bemoaned.
One community member who know Calvert best is Rohan Ellison who operates a shop next door to his burnt out home. He spoke glowingly of Calvert's parenting skills and his sorrow at his current state. “I know him over 23 years and I can tell you if there's only one [good] father in this community, it's him,” said Ellison.
“Him just a go through a phase ya now because him house burn down. We would love if he could get some help to buy some material and we would help him build back the house.”
That is also Calvert's dream, to see his house restored and a return to life as it was before the fire whose cause is still a mystery.
“Mi just get stranded. Mi not even know weh fi do now,” said Calvert.
“Mi just a hope and pray say things change and mi get back a start. Mi willing fi work but because of the [novel corona] virus no work not really going on for me to try to get back on my feet. So if there is any Good Samaritan out there willing to assist me I will be very grateful.”
Lydon Calvert may be contacted at (876)834-7532.
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