Preview: Sir John

One morning, decades after being separated at birth from my long-lost twin, I decided to look him up. Knowing he was English, off I toddled across the pond to Albion’s shore. Visibility over the Marmalade Hills was ruddy awful, but I knew by my watch, and by a feeling of atavistic exaltation, that a sacred ritual was in progress: Breakfast was being served.

Breakfast Island

Why look up the chap? It was important for me to know if he had become a composite of Patrick Macnee in The Avengers, Beatle John Lennon and Sidney Poitier in To Sir, With Love. In other words, how much was John a man of his time, with tastes common to Brits at the beginning of the 2nd Elizabethan reign jolly well ingrained in him?

Raised in comfortable circumstances thanks to the exertions of his father, a ringleader of Bournemouth hoodlums (see video for Da and the boys), my blood brother harbored, I realized upon making his acquaintance, great expectations for himself, even though he looked the worse for wear and was well into middle age. Indeed his expectations mirrored disconcertingly my own fantasies about dear old England. Very particular about his “tuck,” he was anxious to take me on a grand walking tour of “Breakfast Island,” as he called it. He described the excursion as his next step toward “earning a knighthood.”

Boy Golfer, British Pathé (1960)
Breakfast Island, Cyril Phillips (1953)
Hohman slide collection

Dedicated to Eleanor Ann Hohman, 1932-2019