fieldwork pair

Thu, 25 May 1995 11:42:26 EDT

I went to the field with my small son. The arrangements which I made for
him to attend a small preschool and his relationships with caretakers and
other people opened up many doors for me. I was in a Caribbean society
where [French] Patois was widely spoken, and my son picked up quite a bit
of it. Whereas I was only able to understand it, he chattered quite a bit
in it, always impressing people [who presumed he was far more
intelligent than his mother] and forging links for me. When I return,
the people always approach me looking around, "Where's Geerrrry?" When I
phone, the conversations are about him first, and always. Seems like
it's easy for people to cross boundaries -- bridge the gap between
"self" and "other" -- with kids, which seem to be a universal, so to
speak. Even so, there were constant comparisons made by many people
there about the differences between my son (who was 2 and 3 at the time)
and the children reared there... [e.g., it seemed amazing that he could
read EXIT signs at 2 -- which I knew was thanks to the Sesame Street
tapes I took with me] My son became a bond which is much more important
to them than my incessant questions about mundane details of life!

Patsy Evans