Another beacon, gone beyond the moon…..

Our condolences to the family of another beacon, Dickson Benjamin.

A tribute to Dickson Benjamin by Anthony ‘Cortex; DeCoteau.

There were already three Benjamin brothers in the GBSS when I became a student there. During my stay the number increased to 5, from Osbert (Punjab) the oldest and a Master, to Layne the youngest. Other than my friend Michael, all the others have since departed.

The latest of the brothers to move to the world beyond is Dickson Benjamin also known as “Benji” and “Dick.”

Unlike his older brothers, Michael and Cecil, Dick was not much interested in sports, whether it was football or cricket or athletics. Despite many pleas to join us, Dick would rather watch from the sidelines. But Dick was a boy in love and that’s what he will always be remembered by his contemporary Hostel mates for. Hostel boys couldn’t just leave the Hostel to stay overnight at anyone’s home without first getting parental permission and then approval from the Hostel Master, who at that time was Sir Paul Scoon. That made sense when you consider that each year Sir Paul was ultimately responsible for the whereabouts and well-being of 52 boys varying in ages. One weekend, Dick was hell-bent on visiting his girlfriend Myrna, who eventually became his wife. So he cooked up a scheme and went to our favorite swimming place. There, he rubbed sea grapes or “manchineel”(sp) all over his face. Whether he knew how dangerous it was or not, I do not recall, but the long and short of it was the fruits turned Dick’s face into a hideous monster, the likes of which only Hollywood’s make-up men would have been proud.

That drastic measure did not help Dick one bit. Instead of him being sent home to Victoria where Myrna was sure to visit him, Dick was confined for a week or so in the Hostel’s “sick bay” room where he recovered under the loving care of the Hostel’s matron, Mrs. Brathwaite (MaBraff as we all fondly called her). Unfortunately for him, the Hostel allowed no visiting privileges to girlfriends.

We were both holidaying when I ran into Dick in Gouyave one Fish Friday night. The dark, though fading patches on his face remained with him as a constant reminder of how madly in love he was.

Dick joins his many brothers and sister(s) who have long since left us. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and relatives. May Dickson “Dick” Benjamin rest in peace.

*** The offer is still open to readers to write a blog-piece on the GBSS Hostel (or other boarding schools), the GBSS, and related experiences deriving therefrom.

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4 Responses to Another beacon, gone beyond the moon…..

  1. Astra says:

    Thank you Mr. DeCouteau for this beautiful tribute to my Father. :). I read it to my Mom while in Grenada not making her aware initially of where I was reading this from or who may have wrote it. After the confused look exited her face a huge grin and hearty laugh followed. I could not stop teasing her all day that my Father was “a man in love.” She kept telling me then she would pelt me down the cocoa. HAHA. I kept telling well at least I knew I was produced from “a man in love.” HAHA. 🙂 Thank you so much for this. It made my trip and it was a beautiful reminder of why the scars that still remained on my Dad’s face to his last day was all FOR LOVE! 🙂

    • Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

      Astra, it was a pleasure filling you in, your brother Nazim and I suppose your mom too, on one of your dad’s exploits. Just recalling that incident made me have a good laugh too. The scar on his face was a forever reminder that he was a Hostel boy in love.

      Tony DeCoteau
      Author of “A PLACE CALLED GOUYAVE”

  2. Judy Phillips Locklear says:

    Wow! Brings new meaning to “What I did for love.” My condolences to Auntie Myrna, Astra and Nazim. May he rest in peace.

  3. Remember this bright young Dickson coming to the Hostel in the late 50s and whose handwriting was very polished, his sincere discipline as a Hostel Boy was an example to his peers. His older brother Cecil my contemporary invited me for a weekend in Victoria and remember him driving that big Truck somewhere around age 12 – a skill way beyond his young age. Yes he fell hard as a teenage lover One would have thought Shakespears operator had dropped that milk in his eye while he slept. As Paul Scoon would say a Goooood Man – may he rest in peace and the L0ve he shared may that continue to flourish in all the family he left behind.

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