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John’s third twenty-fifth

John’s third twenty-fifth


We was talking ‘bout Birthdays and one ah we 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, One ah de Baddest Website dat Vin-sent-shuns should visit and get ah trip down Memory Lane.

Ah found de Foto on Page 106, Boys Grammar School (BGS) Old Boys (1958 Form 4B). Ah bunch ah bad boys we were eh, so much so, dat when we were promoted to Form 5, it should have bin either 5A or 5B, but we were so Rotten dey named ours 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, we all turned out to be useful citizens.

Bear wid me as ah list some ah de most ain-no-saint looking teenagers yu’ll find in ah Foto: Seated in front, Dr Jeff (swindler) Dellimore de Form Baby. Standing l-r: Cooper Prescod, Trumpeter; de Encyclopedia, Ardon “Nutty” Anderson in de UK. “Mikey Crichton, Tony Young and Dave ‘Stone Wall’ Jackson;” peeping-thru is Ex Policeman/Athlete Brian “de Robot” Charles – yuh dare not say Robot so we pronounced it backward “Tobor”; Fred Stephens USA, Edrick “Archilles” Bascombe in T’n’T, Robin “Einstein” Punnett, Maths uses to terror-eyes him; Stephen Gellizeau UK; Earl “EJ de DJ”Jack, Lab Scientist turn DJ. Middle Row: Lincoln Bowman – Auditor, Ray Dougan – Architect/Builder; Gordon “Mickey Mouse” Brisbane, UK; Retired Judge Trevor Peters T’n’T; Carl Glasgow – Lawyer/Planner, complete Sportsman; Back Row: Me myself; in de UK is Charlie Harold – he and Dellimore swiped ah lot ah chemicals from de Science Lab, made ah bomb and brought it to school! Lyden “Big Bee” Charles, USA; Olivet “Ten Cents” John; De birthday man John “John-Clarke” Horne, Rodway “Skinner” Fraser, devastating fast bowler; Carl Tucker – great voice USA; Raymond “Fuzzy” Knights – cricketer/footballer! Errie Corea, USA; Mc Kingley “Bully/ Elo man” Lawrence – fast-bowler in de US and Chesley Saunders, USA.

Great guys… most ah dem went looking foh greener pastures, some have left fh de great beyond, keep sending messages, asking when we coming! John and I are among de few who stayed back in Paradise explaining to de Powers dat Accountability and “Ah-count-ah-bail-ah Tea” are not de same.

John celebrated his birthdays using positions. At “25” he boasted dat it was de “First Twenty-fifth!” At “50,’ he was overwhelmed, pull-it-to-kill-he all over, Minister of Edgy-care-shun; so jokingly ah said to him: “today yuh ‘turn 50?” In his humour-us John Horne, Queen Elizabeth-perfect Grammar style, he said: “You always seem to have gotten it incorrectly, it is my “Second Twenty-fifth!” Ley me use his word, Alas! He’ll be 75 on Monday, de position too close foh comfort, so he hinted he want Jewellery: “Diamonds!” But ah done whisper to his daughters to get Mas Man Blondie Bird, to mek him ah Birthday Card, use silver foil, shaped like de Diamond he looking for, and write pon it: “ Dad, It’s Yuh Third Twenty-Fifth!” Happy Birthday, John! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.