What a night!
First of all, thanks to Dean Straker for sending me the ticket for the appreciation dinner for former Harrison College headmaster, Albert Williams, known to all Kolij students as “Tank”.
I was working on the night, covering the event for the NATION. To tell the truth, if Dean hadn’t sent the ticket and I didn’t have to cover it myself, I probably would not have gone.
As it is, I’m glad I went. I didn’t really need the re-affirmation but from the time I walked through the door I saw that, over the 33 years since I left the school, things seemed not to have changed that much.
With few exceptions, the same divides were there. It is true that people tend to gravitate towards others they know but cuddear, you mean that in over 30 years people don’t have any wider a circle of friends? The more things change the more they remain the same, as they say.
Of course there were exceptions because there are some Kolij boys that always mixed with everybody and they haven’t changed, praise Jah.
Life is a funny thing, though. When I was at school, “Tank” appeared a huge figure, one who struck fear into many a schoolboy. Now that I’m a grown man, on Saturday night he looked like just any other man.
There are many stories I could tell of our clashes at Kolij but I believe one should let bygones be bygones, especially at his age.
That doesn’t mean that I am unaware of the tensions that existed at my old school but I promised myself that when I wrote this I would observe the classical dictate - “nihil nisi bonum” (literally, “nothing but good”).
The part of the night that was really funny, apart from the anecdotes of former students, was when those old boys that had been flogged by “Tank” came forward and lined up. Some well-known people, I tell you, including Li’l Boy. Apparently “Tank” didn’t go in for a lotta long talk either!
And no, I wasn’t in that line. I never got flogged at Harrison College. I was sent for a flogging once but I had too many lyrics. I put so much talk on John Hammond that he forgot I was in his office to be flogged. He started telling me about his travels and all kinds of things. The last thing he did was to invite me to visit him for a chat any time. And I was in Prep then!
I wish my former headmaster long life and good health in his retirement. I understand he still plays a regular game of lawn tennis, at age 76. Good for him!