PRAISE FOR THREE QUARTERS
Donna Kakonge’s new collection of creative non-fiction shows humanity at its best and worst, whether she is depicting malevolent teen boys and girls in the heartless school environs of Cosburn Public School or the quirky loveable family members in St. Vincent. In every story, Donna does not waver from her fearless storytelling in which the truth is told at any cost. What results are stories that will make you both laugh and cry? Kakonge’s stories never disappoint. – Laura Lush, Governor General’s nominee
Very strong, very vivid writing. I feel as if I am seeing and hearing the events right there in front of my eyes. I like the way Donna captures the language of the child, the young person, then the adult. The stories and writing are unapologetically real. She has a strong, confident style. I just really like her fresh, brave, unvarnished style of writing. – Cynthia Reyes, Author, Communications Expert
From the first chapter, Three Quarters manages to draw you in so that you sympathize with the main character who happens to be the author. She is just ten years old when we first meet her, and both the tone and writing style match her age. The innocent and tender language makes you feel as if this story is crafted by a child. As the young girl ages though, so does the method of expression. Suddenly the writing is too mature to be written by a child. There is a simple description of sitting on a bench at a mall with her siblings and another touching scene describing the day she brought her Dad to class, but then we move closer to current day and a harsher tone as author, Donna Kakonge describes the offensive language she encounters on a bus ride. Stark reality kicks in as she is reminded on that bus ride of a horrible incident from her childhood- Donna’s innocence is lost and the writing turns candid. How appropriate that the writing style transitions as the character ages. After all, Three Quarters is about growth and change. It traces the stages of the writer’s life, including success and disappointments from childhood to present day. The story is often warm and tender. At other times it is frank. – Teresa Madaleno-Long, Freelance Writer and Media Relations Consultant
First Canadian Edition
Published by Donna Kay Kakonge, M.A.,
Stories Copyright @ 2014 by Donna Kakonge
Library and Archives of Canada
Cataloguing in Publication
Kakonge, Donna Kay Cindy, author
Three quarters / Donna Kakonge.
- Kakonge, Donna Kay Cindy. 2. Toronto (Ont.)–Biography.
FC3097.2.K35A3 2013 971.3’54105092 C2013-900971-X
Editors: Laurie Kallis, John Dunford and Katherine Kristalovich
Cover Design: Donna Kakonge
Printed and Bound in Canada
To my maternal grandparents, as a woman who worked as a principal of a school and a man who was governor of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, as well as working with the United Nations – you were revolutionaries of your time.
To my paternal Grandparents, as leaders of your village and both teachers, you left too soon.
I know you are all some of my foremost angels.
To my Mother, for using reverse psychology to get me to write and to my Father for helping me get my first job at ten years old.
Both of you are the hardest working people I will ever know.
Well, to be perfectly frank with you, I have suffered greatly under racism, but it really hasn’t bothered me. Because I feel there are its checks and balances. For every racist, I’ve found at least ten people who are not racist. And I’m having such a grand time with them that I wasn’t worried about the racists. He’s got his problems, he has his high blood pressure, and he has his high cholesterol, he deserves it, let him have it. I was so busy having the friendship, the love, and the companionship, you saw them here today.
- Carrie Best on her ninety-fourth birthday back in 1994 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
This bipolar thing does not seem like such a bad thing.
- Sandra Kryzakos, co-host of Liquid Lunch on ThatChannel.com in an interview in 2012 with me
THE FIRST SCAM
I am nine years old and sitting on a bench at Eglinton Square Mall in East York, Ontario with my brother and sister. My father and mother break up the year before and the three of us kids are living with my mom. We live on Sunrise Avenue, and I have a fifty dollar bill I find in the hallway to one of the exits of the condo. I marvel at the money, the beautiful crimson red bill. I want to keep it. My mom and dad say to put it in the bank.
My brother, sister and I get tired of waiting in the long line up for the Bank of Nova Scotia, so we are resting on the bench outside the bank in the mall. I have the fifty dollar bill floating in a plain white plastic bag. The bag with the bill rests to my left, and my brother and sister are on my right.
A middle-age white man with balding brown hair sits beside me. I look up at him. I look over at my brother and sister. I feel a tug and with shock, I look back to my left at my hand. The bag is gone and the man is running into the mall.
The following pages are stories of some of the scams and successful moments, big and small that happen in my life. The big one is an over two hundred thousand dollars loss stemming from a lucky find in the newspaper at the age of thirty-one. These are also stories of how I continue to work my way back financially and continue to fight to keep what I got and to get more.