In October 2008,in a column, which highlighted childhood memories, Mercy Williams spoke about her early life One day, when Mercy Williams was in Class 4 at the Edward Memorial school at Fort Kochi, she was told that her house was on fire.
“I immediately rushed home,” said Mercy. “The roof was burning.” The family lived in a thatched house. There was no time to call a fire engine. Instead, the neighbours threw buckets of water. Another group managed to take out a cupboard which contained all their clothes.
Eventually, the fire was doused, but one side of the roof got gutted. Thankfully, both her parents were away at work: her mother was a ‘Birth and Death Registrar’ in the municipal corporation at Fort Kochi, while her father worked in a private firm at Ernakulam.
Mercy admired her mother, Teresa, a lot. “She had a sacrificial nature and cared deeply for the family,” said the former mayor of Cochin Corporation.
When Mercy was three-years-old, her mother got transferred to Malabar for a two-year stint. “In those days the salary was paid only after three months,” she said. So the family had to buy everything on credit. It was then that she realised there was not enough money in the house.
When she was a little older she overheard a conversation between her parents: they were discussing the future marriages of the children - two girls and a boy - and wondered how they would raise the money for it.
“I felt very bad,” she said. “As the eldest, I realised I had to study hard, and get a good job, so that I could help my parents.”
Still, despite the hardships, hers was a happy family. On weekends the family, along with cousins, uncles and aunts, would go to the beach at Fort Kochi.