August 2010 Volume 7

The Bajan – James A. W. Crick (Deputy Headmaster at K.C.)

Horace E. Minott
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Prior to my entry as a bonafide student, the mystique of Kingston College had always intrigued me. The many stories of daily happenings on the Campus at North Street as relayed to our family and directed particularly at me, by my older brother Dennis, was enough to motivate any boy to be part of that fabled institution. The fact that I was still in Prep School made it imperative that I took note, so much so that I was ordered to attend every Sunday Service the Bishop Percival W. Gibson celebrated at St. Augustine’s Chapel  on Campus, Sports Day, Choir Recitals, Cadet Inspections, Prize-Giving and all other functions held at Kingston College.

On the 8th of January 1962, the mystique was removed as my entry as a full- fledged student was now a reality. My earlier conditioning to revere or rather fear certain personalities would now be invaluable.  Faculty Members, whose names reverberated frequently in my years prior, were now visualized as a matter of course. The sound of “DOUGS” (headmaster) was enough to silence 960 boys all at once. ”BULLDOG”(Mr. C.I. Bruce) , “BEANHEAD”( Mr. Bailey) were other  notables.  But, to us 1st, 2nd and 3rd Formers, the intonation “Crick”, “Jonathan”, “Nose” drove the fear of God into our every vein. This 6’ 6” lanky Barbadian with the largest, cratered nose I had ever seen, was a legend in his time.        

Deputy Headmaster James A.W. Crick graduated from Harrison and Codrington Colleges in Barbados and went to University in England. He came to KC in 1946 where he was dubbed ‘Jonathan’, and remained there until 1966, the year he became Headmaster of Cornwall College.  At KC, he taught Latin, Gallic and Greek. Notwithstanding his academic prowess, and his animated delivery of the subjects he taught, this gentleman will forever be remembered by the young men whose lives crossed his path as the Drill Sergeant of discipline for boys ages 10 through 14.

My first day at K.C. gave notice as to the man my brother spoke of in my early life.  Mr. Crick’s early admonition to us newcomers, “Do not line the corridors,” was a warning we would heed throughout our days at the school.  His response to the slightest infraction by a 1st, 2nd 3rd  former, or an entire class, was to administer six strokes of the cane. He kept handy, a full box of them since most were doctored by his favored recipients.

Admittedly, I avoided him like the plague. However, time was on his side, so on this day in 2nd form I had not done my Latin homework as prescribed by the Rev J.A.H Ramsey, a fellow Barbadian/Latin teacher who sent all the errant boys, including myself, to line the corridor.  Mr. Crick on his way to his office realized the anomaly and enquired as to the reason. Then with those piercing, steely, small black eyes staring and a quick tug of that large, cratered nose, he sent us to the ‘Calaboose’.

In short order he dispensed his antidote (six stokes).  When my time came, my right hand was raised, open – palm up –  as he lifted his cane. On his first mighty down stroke, I, with the ultimate timing moved my hand so that his ankle felt what I would have. “At you Boy” he snorted.

I cautiously raised my hand and asked “Please sir, do you think it is right to punish a boy for something that boy never did?”  “Of course not, son,” was his retort. “Well sir, I did not do the Latin homework last night”.  A large smile lit his face.   “Come back after school with the whole Clovelly Park full of excuses and I’ll deal with you then” he thundered.

So entrenched was Mr. Crick in the lives of boys in my era at the ‘College,” every hymn book in the Chapel had a portrait of ’Jonathan’.

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