Sell Them, Don’t Eat Them – Part 1

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Year: Some 90s Summer
Place: Tortola, BVI

I started to write this blog, then when I read the title immediately remembered that there was more than one thing we were told as children not to eat, that we did anyway. Or to be more specific, more than one thing that we were supposed to be selling more of than we ate. This is part 1 of sell them, don’t eat them. Part 2 will follow later this week.

It’s a Summertime Affair

I spent some of my summers since 1993, in the beautiful British Virgin Island of Tortola (Tola as we island folks pronounce it). Both sides of my family have relatives from and still living on this island. Little did I know that I was being shipped off in 1993 to avoid witnessing the change that was headed for my life, but my parents couldn’t have picked a better place for me be that first summer.

I wasn’t alone on my summer trips. My aunts who were less than 10 years older than me, were also spending their summers in Tola. We stayed by my grandmother’s sister, their aunt, my great-aunt, but we all called her aunty just the same.

I also spent time with my other side of the family when they would come pick me up or if I saw them in the street. There was family all over the place. There wasn’t a day that would go by that I wouldn’t see a different family member somewhere while roaming the island. I guess that’s probably a big part of the reason why I always felt safe in Tortola. No matter where I went, a family member was not that far away.

One of our tasks while staying at my aunt’s house during the summer was to sell ‘special’ to anyone in the neighborhood who stopped by. So, pit stop on the post because as I learned with my husband who is from a different Virgin Island and grew up calling these treats something completely different, let me explain what a special is.

Special, Icey, Lindey…..

A special is a frozen treat that comes in a cup and has multiple different flavors like red, blue, green, and milk. Hold up. Another post pit stop. This is what I called the flavors when ordering them as a kid, who knows what some of these flavors really were; probably fruit punch, blue cherry, green apple, and milk is always milk. Like seriously, if it wasn’t a special that cost extra like milk, passion fruit, pineapple, or some other island fruit, what the heck were the other flavors? But I digress.

Look at the pic below to see a special, Lindey, or whatever you call them…..

Special Icy Cup

Photo Credit:

We were told as kids to sell these during our summers while we were at the house if anyone ever came over. Sometimes I used to have the kids who bought a special for themselves to buy me one too, even though I was the one ‘selling it’. Hey, I wasn’t reaping any benefits from the special sales other than a roof over my head that summer. They weren’t giving us these specials to eat when we spent all day selling them. We were just under orders to sell them and put the money in the jar.

Sometimes they even counted the specials to make sure that we didn’t eat any. So, we had to make sure there was enough money in the jar to account for how many specials were gone. We were just kids and I’m sure they sold these all year-round, while we just had to do it during the summer time.

Although my aunt didn’t have the flavors that I loved (milk or pink lemonade) and was used to from the special lady in Housing (St. Thomas), a special was a special and it was a great summertime treat. I loved eating them just as much as I did selling them to other kids in the neighborhood. Maybe it even allowed me to meet more kids that I could play with as I spent my summers there.

It was crazy, fun, those summer days in Tola. I will definitely be sharing more of those stories that I remember, like eating specials under the tree or stopping and dancing in the middle of the street with my cousin everytime we heard Foxy Brown’s “I taste just like candy”.  Those were the days……

Look out for part two, with one of my other favorites that I was told to sell, but ate as a kid. Right now though, I might go freeze some juice in a cup and make me a special as a treat for this post today. Until next time…….

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If you are from an island or grew up with a similar frozen treat, share with me in the comments what you called it? And what flavors did you have? I would love to know I wasn’t the only one as a child who just ordered red, green, pink, or blue.

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