CHAPTER 2 ENTERING HARBOUR VIEW 1960
The community of Harbour View located some six miles east of the capital Kingston- was quite remote in terms of transportation, utilities, facilities, and the like. Traveling beyond the Cement Company in a further easterly direction...the driver of the truck took the first left turn off the main road leading into the new established community… and in a low gear moved up the fairly steep hill that was named Harbour Drive to a corner at the top where a sharp downhill right hand turn was made. The road was called Tuna Avenue and the stop was made at number 41. The house was owned by one Miss Angus who proved to be both friend and foe in my mom's personal struggles. Tuna Avenue would be my new home base until the financial and legal wrangling that enveloped my mother's state of affairs would iron out itself; so I hoped.
An important part of my family was my grandmother Mame (Ida Bryan). Mame would hold the ‘base’ while MVD did her ‘superwoman’ thing. With great curiosity I used to go to the Pocco’ Church with Mame who in her own right was a recognized healer imbued in African retentions…drumming, chanting, etc.
EARLY 1961, no sooner than we had settled in at 41 Tuna Avenue that a slow, piece by piece moving began which took furniture and household items across the old rickety 'dividing' bridge under which ran the Hope River that linked the developed western section of Harbour View with the under-developed [no streets, lights, water, etc.] eastern section of the housing scheme where we settled [Moms, Grandma, and Brother] into our own home at Lot 1532 or
42 Mars Drive.
Ownership truly is power; even when there is neither electricity nor running water.
There were no schools as yet built in this ‘pioneer’ community beyond Rock Fort so I continued bussing it the Holy Rosary prep school. The daily drive along the Mineral Bath Cement Company road was always exhilarating… like leaving town and heading into the country and vice versa. The thrills of’ bumming a ride’ was ever adventurous and a necessary economic saver of often limited monetary resources. Seeing the prisoners decked out in white being boated in from the General Penitentiary (GP) on Monday mornings to clean and upkeep the Rock Fort Mineral Baths was a strong enough motivation and reminder not to travel that route.
During my early years in the community of Harbour View I became engorged in a highly competitive sporting environment ...in a pioneering spirit of discovery and adventurism...original inhabitants of the Matalon - built housing scheme in east rural St. Andrew...driven by a hive of activities that included athletics, cricket, football, table tennis, swimming, gymnastics, music and entertainment.
My inspiration for music and the keyboards were reinforced by my affiliation with Roland Alphanso, Club La Parisienne, the Skatalites and my neighbor on Sirius Avenue in the figure of a young KC organist named Jackie Mittoo. It was only recently that I realized that I developed my ‘cross-over hand’ style of playing from the “Master” himself.
Football however, was the dominant activity in the community and sport and was a seven day a week life-style. Sometimes we played two or three times per day on the streets of Venus Avenue, Zenith Avenue, Mars Drive and eventually to a large tract of land on the other side of the St. Thomas Road and betwixt the Caribbean Sea.
In the immediate post Independent period, as youths we would be up before sunrise and head across the St. Thomas main road, just easterly beyond the Hope River Bridge. Adjacent to the community of East Harbour View was a broad expanse of woodland bordering on the Caribbean Sea. In an attempt to create space play, we spent weeks chopping out the bush land and moving wooden tree stumps with the objective in mind to create a football field with the correct international measurements. After cutting and clearing the swamp woodland, the bigger boys arranged for several trucks to dump up the field. Many mornings on our daily clearing we often met retreating sea water at least half the distance between the main road and the ocean. We know that the sea came in at nights and retreated by early morning.
We collectively called our new grounds the 'Big Field'. This playfield embodied the pioneering spirit of political independence and triggered the formation of the first senior football club in Harbour View named the Eastern Thunderbolts FC. and marked the beginning of Harbour View's emergence on the Jamaican national football scene.
The Eastern Thunderbolt FC became the first football club to represent Harbour View in the Kingston and St. Andrew Divisional League competition with the Big Field as our home field. The team had players such as Errol 'Flam' Smart, Leonard Edwards, Ludlow 'Luddy' Morrell (deceased), Trevor Bowlin, Barry Chin Fook, Roy Lee (deceased), Johnny 'Fowl' Beverley, Junior 'Jah Booka' Hines, the Meikel brothers, Philip and ‘Judge’, the Neil brothers, et al. Fortunately, I was personally able to watch and play alongside some of the island's best senior footballers at this time. This included Dr. Lascvelles 'Muggy' Graham, Nigel 'Pummie' Goodison, Donald 'Billy' Perkins (deceased), and many top class schoolboy players who played and lived in the community.
My first formal club joined was a Youth club named GALAXY YC based at Stewart 'Stumbo' Daley (deceased) home on Jupiter Road. (…From the Galaxy to the Cosmos) I played at the inside forward position (mimicking the King) for the Galaxy and was a swift and skilled youth who displayed good ability in athletics, football and versatility on the key boards. We played a few competitive matches outside of our community but the team soon dissolved after running up into a 'big-side' from August Town. I continued to be the only youth that could play with the big man dem on the Big Field. My football experiences took me beyond my eight biological years as I continued to gain deeper understanding of the beautiful game.
…VISIONING The KING PELE
One afternoon while playing ball on Mars Drive in front of Smithy gates…I recall beating two players (Shula and Tony Hayes) with one body swerve…that left a very exhilarating feeling and for a few mystic moments / seconds I was in ‘nether-land’ and clearly saw myself ‘playing on the same field with the King’…in a distant land. I was ‘shocked by the vision’. And wondered how was that possible…how would I get to Brazil? I stopped playing for a moment and wondered whether I should say anything or share my ‘vision’ with my friends…or would they begin to think that I was going ‘football crazy’. I soon regained my present disposition and mused on the possibility of the VISION formed in my youthful and fertile mind.
Excerpt from Football Autobiography titled: From Harbour View to the New York Cosmos &B(l)ack: My Rendezvous With King PELE