The first day I met Johnny
According to Tony Roy, born Fitzroy Gordon, “He wasn’t called Bad Boy Johnny or seemed to be a bad boy when I met him.”
“I was about eight years old attending Seaforth Primary School, St. Thomas. This was made of board and concrete, accommodating a few hundred students. I was placed in Grade Two. It has been such a long time that I don’t remember the name of my former teacher. But, teacher Higgins was my principal.”
“In those days, principals were mostly males and teacher Higgins stood out because he was stern and fearless. He was a bit on the muscular side, tall and fair in complexion, low cut hair with the middle completely bald.”
“He would be at the school gate early with his big strap, ready for latecomers, the punishment being two to three strokes in your hand middle.”
“I was never late for school. I lived just around the corner, some five minutes walk. And, I had to do chores before I left for school. I got up about 5:30 in the mornings to feed the hogs, about six of them, along with some 13 piglets.”
“We also had goats, cows, and guinea pigs. I also had to sweep the yard. I sometimes had this feeling that I was given too much to do. I was the wash-belly (last) of four children.”
Tony was introduced to Johnny, who was one grade ahead of him, during a game of marbles, one of the most popular games during recess or school break.
“I had two friends who apparently were close to Johnny. We all lived in the same neighbourhood. The school was situated near a Methodist church where we would play.
“The church compound had a burial ground and people would talk a lot about duppies (ghosts), but I didn’t believe everything they said. For example, there was a Mr. Brown who owned a horse that could never keep still for five minutes. And, people claimed this was so because duppy was riding the horse.”
“Even though Johnny had a mean look, I accepted him as a friend the very first day we met at school. There was nothing more peculiar about Johnny. But that night my thoughts ran wild. I always wanted friends with positive role models. I finally decided to roll with Johnny because he was a friend and neighbour of two of my classmates. My eyes were shutting down and I finally fell asleep.”
Tony Roy – Bad Boy Johnny