Gone beyond the moon: John Watts; Denis “Moonies” Mitchell; James Salfarlie (all GBSS and the latter two Hostel Boys). Here is a eulogy from Tony DeCoteau for Moonies. I like his phrase “..thud of the fall”.
As young Gouyave boys, Dennis Mitchell was more my older brother’s friend, while his younger brother Percy and I were class mates at the RC school. Then their father moved the family to St. George’s where we lost touch until I met another of his brothers, Alfred, upon becoming a pupil at the GBSS in 1959.
Many years later, through www.goGouyave.com plus my book A PLACE CALLED GOUYAVE, Dennis and his wife, the former Margaret Williams called me from their San Francisco area home. By the way, she is the daughter of the St. John’s RC School’s former headmaster, A.E Williams, (RIP), who was also Gregory “Social” Williams (RIP) uncle. To constantly remind me of our youthful Gouyave connection, he persisted in calling me “Tone-Tone” in remembrance of how his dad, my God-father, used to call me. So began our second round of friendship until the very end when Margaret called to tell me about his illness and final demise.
I am indebted to Dennis for clarifying and filling in some information about Gouyave and the Mitchell family that I was previously unaware of. Many folks from Gouyave might have attended Mrs. Donovan’s then popular private school. It was from Dennis that I learnt the goodly lady was his fathers’ daughter, and through him I got to know who her mother was.
Helping to tie the pieces together I subsequently learnt from another Hostel friend, O’Connel Bell, that the lady’s husband, Mr. Donovan, was his uncle. Just as surprisingly, Dennis informed me that he too was not only a GBSS boy, but most importantly, a Hostel Boy. Small world indeed!!
Like ripe mangoes, my contemporaries and I are at that stage of our lives when no one should be really surprised when one of us falls, as we recently heard about James, (Harkley) Salfarlie in London.
No one lasts forever. We know that and expect it, but it doesn’t make it any easier when we hear the thud of the fall. So let’s say farewell to another GBSS and Hostel boy; and extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Margaret, and his surviving brothers.
May Dennis “Moonies” Mitchell rest in peace.
John Watts (by Bobby Phillips):
I first met John Watts on a Sunday when he, Derek Knight and a few others visited Mr. and Mrs. William Mt. Horne for lunch. I was about 14 years then, 2 years into the GBSS and Hostel, and from my young perspective these were adult men. So I was somewhat surprised when John and Derek started arguing over the last crayfish, and Derek grabbing the bowl and removing himself to a chair off the table. Now these were no ordinary crayfish – these approximated smaller lobsters – cooked in calalloo and coconut milk. Through the laughter, I still wondered that adult men should behave that way. Later, as I grew up, I realized that I and my friends were behaving in the same way like these ‘adult’ men did. In fact I then learned that they were not full adults, but young men still finding their way to adult stability.
John was a famed dentist in St. George’s, and to me seemed to be always talking to his patients. Not without ‘ego-ness’, he was always expounding on a number of subjects whether to express his knowledge, or to divert the attention of his patients. I once offered to ghost write his story, but he refused because we had a difference of opinion on another matter. Yet he would talk one’s ear off with his beginning his dental profession, his role in bringing Herbert Blaize into politics, and being at the background of the GNP. He finally diverted from Blaize and the GNP when on his ‘God send me back here’ last victory, Blaize felt he had transcended John and refused to listen to him anymore. John than joined the NNP, and became active in politics as a Senator..
John’s ‘star-boy’ smile and laughter suited him well to become and perform outstandingly as Director of Tourism, a virtual local Diplomat/Strategist on Grenada Tourism matters. He was President of the Grenada Golf and Country Club, again here with a primary and personal role in the Club’s development. As Captain of the Club for a few years, it was my great pleasure to work with John and Ernest A. “Wilkie” Wilkinson (dec.) and others expanding the activities of the Club locally and regionally. In all the above, John was an outstanding Rotarian
RIP John, Great knowing you.
And to our readers, as the song says:
“For all we know, this may only be a dream
We came and go like a ripple on a stream
So love me tonight
Tomorrow was made for some
Tomorrow may never come
For all we know.”