St. George's College Old Boys' Association, ON, Canada

Newsletter, Issue # 53, November 2008







St. George's College
Old Boys'

ON, Canada


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Just My Views
Neil Dalhouse


Neil Dalhouse

        We lost a few great Georgians this year. Some, I didn't know at all, but others left a mark in my life, and in My View, yours too. I will begin with The Rev. Fr. Quinlan S.J., because he is the one whom I spent the most time with as a teenager, being within 100 yards of me, 5 days a week, 6.5 hours per day for 6 years. He was ordained in '45, and came to Jamaica in '49, taught at George's for 11 years, and was Headmaster for 8 years after that, right up to 1970, as a matter of fact. He then worked at a number of other posts on campus through to 1980.
        He taught me Latin and Religion back in the early 60s, but alas, I wasn't one of his favourite students, as my schoolboy ethics weren't what he wanted them to be. It wasn't until I became involved with the O/Bs here in Canada back in the 80's that we became close, as I had to speak to him on a number of occasions re a variety of school issues for the newsletter. Many-a-time he would call me on the phone from Boston, and with that whispering voice he seemed to have to squeeze out from deep within his body, he would say in his make-believe Jamaican accent, "Hello up de, maun!!" He wrote me many letters too, mostly indented with humorous little quips. He forever used an old key-stroke typewriter that had a couple keys missing, making his letters difficult to read at times.

At Fr. Quinlan's funeral: L-R Clem McCalla, Fr. Larry OToole, Fr. Jim Hosie, Del Chai Onn,
Howard Shearer, Heather Vernon, Fr. Carl Clarke, Robbie Vernon

         As he became frail in his latter years, his last letter to me was on Aug. 26, 2005 and he addressed the envelope to "The Right Hon. Neil Dalhouse, Director, School Liaison & Other Things," another funny little quip of his. He ended many of his statements with "Don't it?" Fr. Q, or "Quintus Uponus" as he was respectfully called by many of us, was a great teacher, one who left his mark on all those who came under his tutelage, especially the many whose weddings he presided over. He passed away July 10, 2008 at Weston Centre, Boston, was a fatherly figure to many of us during his tenure at school, and will be sadly missed by many.
          God bless Robbie Vernon and his dear wife Heather, for traveling all the way down to Boston, representing us all at his funeral. Fr. Q would have loved this one: When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her someplace, I took her to a gas station..... and that's how the fight started.....
          Another memorable Georgian was Delroy Dacosta, and like his brothers, was an athlete who excelled in track & field while at 2 North Street, especially at the 100 yard dash. Fast! That's what he was, or so they told me. Del, as he was known to us, graduated before I dreamt of crossing the threshold of the school, so I didn't have the privilege of seeing him in action. But I really got to know him when he served with me on the board of Directors of our O/B chapter here in Canada.
          He was a great guy, just happy to be able to wake up every morning and be wherever he was on any given day. He hid his Jamaican accent under a make shift twang I have never heard anyone else use to this day. Many a Canadian, (and sometimes Jamaicans too) had no idea where in the world he was from, when they heard his accent. He loved life, loved to sit and chat over a few pints with several of his favourite friends, two of whom were Lloydie Chung and Uncle P. (Ferguson).
         He loved his music, especially Jazz, and had a fantastic collection of music of all sorts. Like many of us, he enjoyed sharing old school-yard stories with whomever would listen. I especially loved to watch him throw back his head and have a hearty laugh, one that would cause him to cough and gasp for breath after a long 30 seconds of laughter. Some 5 or 6 years ago, Del moved out to a little town called Newcastle, beyond the nuclear plant in Oshawa, with his lovely wife Cheryl and daughters. He called it God's country, a place where he said Torontonians would have to go to confession before being allowed to enter.
         Sadly, Del passed away this summer from a long bout of illness. I miss him already. Don't laugh too long at this one Del - I rear-ended a car this morning. So, there we were pulling over to the curb when his door flew open and the other driver got out of his car, mad as hell. I couldn't believe it.... he was a DWARF!!! He stormed over to my car, looked up at me, fist in the air and shouted, 'I AM NOT HAPPY!!!' So, I looked down at him and said, 'Well, then which one are you?' And that's how the fight started.....

At Mrs. Alexander's memorial ; Eva Lue, Robbie Vernon, Beverley Valentine (nee Alexander),
 Mary Ann Alexander,  Neil Dalhouse

          Mrs. Phyllis Alexander was the school's secretary for many years. I remember waiting on many occasions to see the Dean of Discipline for demerits received, and was always embarrassed to answer to her as to why I was waiting. She would then say, "Naughty Neil, Naughty!" Mrs. Alexander was like a mother to us boys, and as a result, was never given a nickname. She was always "Mrs. Alexander" to us, a dear lady.
           Sadly, on October 18, 2008, she too passed away. I wasn't able to go to her funeral, but did go to her memorial service. And what other Georgian did I see there as well? Robbie Vernon. And brother, did he give a heart wrenching speech about her after the service. It brought tears to the eyes of many a family member. No wonder the man is a Hall of Famer. Know what the law of Biomechanics is? The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach…...

Byron Lee

          All Jamaicans will miss Jamaica's first Ambassador of Music, Byron Lee. What a character! What an athlete! As a Georgian, he was feared in the boxing ring. He knocked out a great (JC old boy) friend of mine during an inter-school boxing match back when StGC had Fr. Hannas as trainer for the sport.
          Byron was also a great footballer, and those of his era will remember the many goals he used to score on the Manning or Old Boy teams he played on. He also played on the National Team as well. After attending StGC, he taught himself to play the bass, and never looked back.
          Forming the Byron Lee & the Dragonaires band, he took Jamaica's music to all corners of the world, made Ska a household word long before the name Bob Marley was ever posted in a newspaper. A shrewd businessman, he kept a very tight band together and commanded respect from all those he worked with in the music business. Byron was also innovative, constantly creating new music business ventures, creating new sounds, and acquiring gigs all over the world.
         His band backed almost every prominent vocalist Jamaica produced, from the '50s right up to the present. As well the Dragonaires backed other International Stars like Harry Belafonte, Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino and many others. He even sometimes allowed the band I used to play in, The Virtues, to play during his band breaks while they played at "The Glass Bucket." Amongst his other musical achievements, The Dragon as he was known to many, received the Jamaican Order of Distinction in 1982, which was upgraded to Commander class in 2007, and on Oct. 26, 2008 received the order of Jamaica from Gov. General Sir Kenneth Hall. The day after, he received the Knight of St. George Medallion from Archbishop Burke. Byron was simply an institution that made a massive impact on the lives of many. The Law of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with!! Which one of you dares to challenge me on that one???
        It was recently discovered that the O'Hare building is now considered a safety hazard, as many parts of the ceiling and walls have crumbled, and some pieces have fallen to the ground. The building is overrun with termites. The entire building needs to be gutted, sprayed, sealed and rebuilt on the inside. Carl Chang has been leading the charge to refurbish the building completely, and has had old boy Tommy Lyew, a structural engineer, create the plans to rebuild. This has all been done, free of charge. Carl has been actively seeking donations towards this great project as well. For those of you, with even $50 to spare towards restoring this historic building, please send your cheque to the school, addressed to Principal Margaret Campbell, with a note indicating the cheque is for the restoration of the building. Law of the Alibi: If you tell your boss you were late for work because of a flat tire, more than likely, the next morning you will have a flat tire.
          This is the saddest MY VIEWS column I have written to date, but it is my way of remembering some very important people, Georgians that played an important role in my life….. I must end however, on a positive note by congratulating Bertis Bell for taking the Manning Team to the winner's circle after a 16 year drought. I am told the game was fantastic to watch. Congratulations, too, to the members of the team who worked so hard to capture the coveted Manning Cup. Good on you Lads!!! The Law of the Theatre: At any event, the people whose seats are furthest away from the isle, usually arrive last.

A Gaaaannnneee

Neil Dalhouse


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