Me and my Blazer reconciled
Bassy - Love Vine
March 1, 2013
Me and my Blazer reconciled

Dey say how death of ah loved one is usually ah time when families and friends who ain’t talk to each other foh years, does come to-gather and mend dey differences.

Since 1959, over fifty years, me and my Grammar School blazer neither talk to, nor touch each other. On de last day at school in 1959, ah heng dat up in de cupboard and ah tell it “you stop day till yuh rotten or till moth eat yuh.{{more}}

It all started ah few months earlier when ah forgot to wear my Blazer to school on the first Monday ah de month. Dat was de day fixed by de headmaster, Mr Me-Law who spared us in ah hot climate, de torture of having to wear dat warm flannel jacket and pants too every day. People cover demselves in wid blankets made from flannel.

But even though Mr Me-Law’s rule was quite reasonable, ah still uses to forget. Well ah forget to wear mine on Blazer Monday, de day dat de headmaster just happen to inspect every senior form. “Alexander, where is your Blazer?” he asked. “It’s at home sir,” too abrupt: “Well I am going to Black Book you (flog me).”

Next boy wid-out his Blazer was Erry Corea, he gave ah ton load ah excuses, how he studied late de night before, woke up late and scrambled out de house wid-out his Blazer. “Don’t let it happen a next time,” said Me-Law. No Black Book foh he. So ah turned to Erry and said: “how come yuh didn’t scramble out ah de house wid-out yuh pants?” Dat drew ah laugh from de rest ah de boys in de Form. Millar was annoyed, we had ah few exchanges, he didn’t forget to brass me up. De last thing he told me was “there is only one place for boys playing men!” and he pointed to de door.

At de end ah term ah nice lickle note was written on my Report Book: “Your son has been superannuated.” When ah look up de word it said “yuh son too manish and too old foh school!” Plus ah was not too kind wid de books either.

Ah held dat against Millar until ah went foh ah recommendation; de den headmaster told me he was trying to reach me to invite me back to school to write Senior Cambridge Exams. He told me ah was ah good boy wid lots of ability, but ah bit too comical. “Get serious Alexander” he said.

In retrospect however, Mr Millar did me ah fair-foh. I got serious and finish school later and got to be a Land Surveyor, made it like all de other lads in dat Class. Ah call it “dat class” we were so bad behaved dat dey called it “Form 5 R,” when we asked Me-Law what does “5R” stand for, he said “ R as in Removed,” one strike and yuh out!

Well de reconciliation between me and my Blazer took place last Tuesday at Mrs Keizer’s funeral. She told me once how she uses to admire the senior Grammar Boys in our full uniform colours: “Grey flannels (pants), white shirt, green and gold school tie and green blazer with the gold crest.” Ah den she said “you all looked smart and elegant.” Yuh know dat was de first time ah realized why people in our communities uses to ‘look-up’ to us Grammar School Boys, and dat ah was privileged to have attended such ah noble institution plus or minus ah hot Blazer. My encouragement to all students is to be proud ah yuh school uniform and colours, wear dem wid dignity.

So when Clare asked me to do one of the Tributes to her Mummy, Mrs Keizer, ah told me-self ah doing it right dis time foh both Mrs Keizer and Mr Me-Law. Ah went looking foh school uniform. Jacks, who now has ah franchise, didn’t have one to fit me. Look how far we come! Franchise foh school uniforms. In my day, we had excellent tailors ah dime ah dozen: Cyrus Emporium; De Shong Tailoring; Hadaway; cricketer Leon Bonadie; Patches’ father, Bobo Knights; but my Tailor was Burgin, Aubrey “Ras Boh” Burgin’s dad. So ah went hunting foh ah Tailor, dat was ah search; why are we not teaching de student to mek clothes, my last daughter started needle work at GHS, she loved de subject, but de course ended after two years.

We have one lady in Middle Street, an excellent Tailor, she was closed so ah found ah Mr Parris at Fountain along the Vigie Highway. He is ah boss Tailor, wuk fast too, when he tried de Blazer on me, perfect fit, ah look so good ah tell him tek it off quick, ah don’t want nobody see me in it yet, dis got to be ah surprise foh all my school buddies.

Tuesday afternoon in Anglican Church when ah put on de Blazer, ah felt vibes from de lickle hisses hey, dey and every-way in de congregation, and ah felt proud. Ah want to thank Mrs Keizer foh helping me reconcile wid my Blazer after so many years. She was right “ah looked smart and elegant!” Ah sorry now dat ah did forget to wear it on dat fatal first Monday 54 years ago. Ah will now wear my School Blazer wid pride and dignity. Dat out ah place Lie-Za telling me how somebody in de church say, how ah did look like ah Grammar School Boy minus me face.

And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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