TRIBUTES TO BEACONS…..marking the way

Fresh from condolences to the family of George “Jubay” Hamlet, we now send same to the families of two other “beacons”: Gregory “Social” Williams; and Alec “Sam” Telesford. Gregory was a close friend of Hostel Boys (Osmore Gall; Neville Glean; Sticks McLaren; Leon Wells; among others. Sam was of more recent vintage, but they both have left us with fond memories as they travel ‘beyond the moon”.

Gregory “Social” Williams
Gregory “Social” Williams was 9 years old when he gained a scholarship to enter that GBSS. You had to be unique to accomplish that, and Gregory Williams was unique. He was a great footballer and a brilliant high-jumper. He excelled in what he did. I was a pretender to his high jump throne, but managed to do him better only once, in six years. I had heard that Social had become a Pastor, but only now, form his son’s communications, do I have any details. That he was both a Doctor of Medicine and a Doctor of Divinity qualifies as being unique, but to me and his school colleagues this is not at all surprising, given Social’s intellectual capabilities. As I recall, Gregory as always ready with a laugh or a smile; ready to tell a joke, but he did not brook fools (especially aspirants from lower forms) easily. Competing in Sports or just liming after GBSS, or in LaBaye (where he taught ex-GBSS), one could hardly miss that Social was a man confident in his own capabilities, but I never saw him denigrate an opponent. Social related quite closely with Hostel Boys – two of his best friends: Osmore Gall and Neville Glean (Hostel Boys) were from his home parish of St. Patricks. In pictures provided on Facebook, Social still retains his youthful vivacity in his eyes and smile, and his son reflects that look very well. I, for one, am so thankful that we were part of each other’s lives. I am sure I speak for all of us.

Alec “Sam” Telesford (from Collis “Cortex” De Coteau)
Even though I saw it coming “with my own two eyes” when I met him back in February of this year in Grenada, it’s still very hard to accept what we all knew was just around the corner. and its final appearance yesterday afternoon, June 17th, 2013.

Alec Telesford, known more popularly as “Sam,” left us after putting up a heroic struggle to beat what he and we knew, was a losing battle. That was the quality that perhaps best defined the essence of the man! He never gave up hope despite the odds. As much as he could, he made every attempt to complete the things or “bucket list” if you will, that he considered extremely important to him. In short he saw to it that his heart and spirit went on singing and smiling despite his condition, even to the end. Mission accomplished!!

Alec and his twin brother Eric “Sandfly” or “Fly” for short, became students of the GBSS in the same year I did, 1959. Shortly thereafter we were accepted to become Hostel boys where we joined their older brother, Gordon “Mekek” Telesford. What a trio they were!!! Suffice it to say that the Hostel got an extra flair and occasional challenges to its well regulated life where “a breach of common sense was a breach of Hostel rules” because of those Telesford boys from La Digue, each as rambunctious as the other!!

Adulthood led us in different directions, but after many years of separation Gordon and I rekindled our old friendship that grew even closer upon his relocating to West Palm Beach, FL. Through him both younger brothers and I were once again reunited. How can I forget that joyful reunion when Gordon brought Sam to my home back in Miami!! All the craziness of our youthful days was recalled in the stories we remembered so well in the Hostel. That bellyful laugh that I fondly remembered from our youth, never left Sam. You found yourself laughing too when Sam laugh whether you got the joke or not. That’s how infectious our wonderful friend, Sam, was.

“The feats of fathers and brothers, are beacons marking the way.
The torch handed down by others, we must keep alive today.”

Sam’s death, as well as the many others like Dr. Gregory “Social” Williams and George “Jubay” Hamlet who have also left us, have helped to crystallize and make those lines from the school song of our Alma Mater even more meaningful. Isn’t it funny how appreciation and real meaning are the usual close followers of the aging process!! No wonder why someone observed that “youth is wasted on the young.”

To his wife, Debbie, his brothers and all other family and relatives as well as close friends, I extend my sincere condolences to a friend that added that extra something to the enjoyment of life.

May the Lord be with you. Farewell and rest in peace, our dear Sam.

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3 Responses to TRIBUTES TO BEACONS…..marking the way

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  2. Ralph Belton says:

    I really enjoyed the analysis of the school song. The song has always been near and dear to my heart. In fact I have the words framed and hanging in my office. It is a way to remind my self about how I should conduct my whole life.

    Does anyone know where I can get the music notation? Please email me directly

    • admin says:

      Thanks for appreciating our version of the GBSS School Song. I was moved again to its appreciation by hearing it sung at Alec Telesford’s memorial. I simply like the idea of the song being sung at the funeral of a GBSS boy; takes you back to school days. The song is encrusted with pearls which do enlighten our after-school lives, if we allow them to do so. I often wonder why (to my knowledge) it never was an essay or debate topic. Maybe too much a part of the school ritual/ A few years ago, I proposed to a few friends the Diaspora sponsoring an essay competition in the school (what the song means to the school and to you as a student), but that fell on deaf ears. Maybe this is an opportunity to throw out the idea again to those with interest and means to sponsor such an exercise. I have not seen music notation on the song, but I will send you a potential contact.

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