In about 3 hours it will have been a year since my dad Gerry left the body and went off to sing and dance with Baba and the angels. He had had a busy day in the office, as usual, and after supper and finishing up he said to my mum that he would give me a quick call. She told him not to as Spain is an hour ahead and that was it. He went to bed and never woke up on earth again.
Words from me will fail to describe him to do justice as to his greatness. When I was a little girl and we would be walking down a street, he would say hello to everyone. “Good morning” he would boom, most often frightening the life out of someone strolling along in a daze! I would always ask who that person was and he would always say he didn’t know but that didn’t stop me believing that my dad knew everyone!
We went everywhere with mum and dad and I especially loved seeing him perform. Poetry, song, words of wisdom – I was always so proud of my dad and his charisma and how he kept an audience enthralled. He was my headmaster in Jamaica when I was about 3yrs but I don’t really remember much of that time. He was again my headmaster when I was at the Mold Alun comprehensive in North Wales at 11yrs until he got the sack for being far too much for the local establishment. I was proud to be the headmaster’s daughter – I was a pretty cool kid with a dad like him.
I remember the school bullies, there were two especially who were scary people – Austin Boden and Milly. My dad loved those kids and boy, did they adore him. When he got the sack and after the 1100 pupils walked out in protest, Milly was expelled shortly after – something my dad had never even threatened her with.
I got the shock of my life up town one day. One of Milly’s henchgirls called me over saying “Milly wants to talk to you”. OMG, my stomach did a double back flip – remember, I had seen her in action in the school loos and knew what she was capable of! So, with heavy legs refusing to walk, I shuffled over to where she was sitting on a wall surrounded by her heavies.
“Are you studying?” she asked me, in her brusque manner. Now what an earth could I say to that! Was it a right answer to say yes or better to say no to fit in with her history of skiving lessons at the school. Quickly I stammered a muffled yes and was given the lecture of my life. To sum up, if I wasn’t studying and if I didn’t make my dad proud, I would have her to answer to. To say my grades went up is the truth!
George Boden also collared me in the school corridor – we are talking seriously cool bad boy. He, as Milly, was in year 5 to my year 2 and those kids never spoke to sprogs like me. He didn’t have to say much, his look did more to frighten me as he growled “studying are ya? Ya better be”
Dad, you impressed so many kids in your 60yrs of working in education. You believed in each and everyone of them. When I was in my 20s, ex pupils would track him down to tell him how they had gone on to university and it was thanks to him that they did. Still today pupils from Jamaica, England, Wales and Nigeria remember Gerry German – teacher, headmaster, son, brother, husband, uncle and father – father in spirit to so many.
We miss you Gerry but you left your mark and I, for one, am proud to call you my Dad.