De Love Vine: Reposting from 2017 “OUR CLASSMATE JOHN HORNE”
Ah was talking ‘bout Birthdays and one ah our Classmates reminded me dat John Horne’s Big Birthday coming up and ah must wish him “Ole Boys Greetings”, and why not? Ah thought of all de boys who sat in class wid John in 1958, how we would all gladly want to congratulate him on his Diamond Due-Billy. Ah can’t remember who all dem guys were, nobody keeps dey middle school friends forever, but Fotos help. So ah went on de Website, looking foh an Ole Foto filed on “Toney Oldies Homestead”, dat’s Toney Hadley’s archive of “Vin-see His-story in Photography.” Nuff respect to Toney.
Ah found de Foto on Page 106, BGS Old Boys (1958 Form 4B). Our mathematics teacher and form master Percy De Gannes, fresh out ah school from Grenada (GBSS), thought we were ah special bunch ah lads, he loved his “Form 4B” and one day he brought photographer Rogers to get him ah souvenir of his boys.
Dey we were! All twenty-nine ah we! Some ah de most ain-no-saint looking teenagers yu’ll find in ah Foto. Sixteen-year-ole John is standing in the back row, fifth from the left, I am at the extreme left. We were de normal challenging youngsters, ah remember during chemistry, two of our classmates had found ah popular mechanics magazine wid directions on how to “mek ah bomb”. Dem two ‘de-link-went’ swiped ah lot ah chemicals from de science lab, made ah bomb and ain-no-saintly brought it to school! Somebody lit de fuse and de bomb was activated, started to take off, man scattere and one ah de guys stamped on it and de class-room was in smoke. No damage though.
Ah bunch ah bad boys we were eh, except John Horne, not because he gone, but he was of ah different breed. A simple description of de youngster is dat he was humility wid all its graces! Those of us wid ruff er edges, made up foh John’s deficiency in bad behaviour. “Now Alas!” (one of John’s favourite phrases) when we were promoted to Form 5, it should have bin to either 5A or 5B, but we were so Rotten dey named us 5R, so we objected and were told, “de ‘R’ was foh Remove, one bad-stroke and yuh out ah school!”. But out ah evil cometh good and all-in-all, most ah we turned out to be useful citizens, some less troublesome dan others. Ah love me Class of 1958 (Form 4 B). Great guys, most ah dem went looking foh greener pastures. Ah spot check of de photo indicates dat eight, including John, have left foh de great beyond.
It all started foh John when Barclays Bank wid ah near 100 percent white staff decided to get ah “Face Lift”. De Tea had too much milk, it needed some chocolate to give it colour. So management, assisted by de heads of BGS and GHS, recruited ah number of brilliant, young, coloured, students to join de staff. Four members of de Bad Boys in my form went, and of course, Mr Gentleman, an elegant and handsome seventeen-year-ole future star, John-Clark Alexander Horne was among dem.
As was expected John made great strides wid Barclays Bank in de region and left his foot-prints way-ever he worked. We never lost touch. When he came on vacation he would pull dat same photo and ask me foh everybody.
After ah successful stint of 20 years ah banking, John returned to SVG to shake up his home-land, beginning wid Carnival. Molly Arthur was Chairman of CDC and John was de driving force and Carnival became Vincy Mas in July. It was not only Carnival, but de whole country needed ah real change. Cato’s Labour Party had become a Form 5R..Rotten, and Alston Becket Cyrus de ABC of Calypso, landed ah master piece ah pun/ Double Entendre: “Horn Foh Dem”.
Is like yesterday, ah could still see Roy Ralph’s “Dragons Mas Band” outside Singer’s Building coming up Back Street. Becket’s new Road March Song: “Horn foh Dem” blasting down de place. At de front was Mr King of Carnival himself, stingy brim hat, Bermuda shorts, white sneakers and socks. His towering “5 feet 18 inches” was too much to miss. About two dozen ladies formed ah human “Jump-up shield” around him, fighting to get ah piece… oops, ah honk on de human Horne.
When he spotted me on de side-walk, he came straight at me: “I want you to be the first to know dat I have decided to enter the race in West Kingstown and win that seat!” Right dey and den, my crystal ball lit-up and ah had just seen de birth of a Super Star in Vincy Politics! So long my friend. Go blow your Horn in the Heavenly Chorale. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is
a land surveyor,
folklorist and social commentator.