Sports — 29 June 2016
Winty J (Vincent Johnson) – my life

 W: Yes! So now I will get to meet Randolph (Tiempo) Barrow and the whole crowd now.

A: What year was this now? When you docked up at Freetown?

W: That was about … ‘bout 1960.

A: I remember that Dunlop won the 1958-59 season.

W: Yes. Yes. So I came down, and I went to Baptist School. My mother took me to Baptist School right away. So that is three schools I already dealt with, you know – Rockstone Pond, Santana and Baptist. As I got to Baptist, I’m in the backyard where they play ball, and they got me on left wing. I didn’t last too long there; my mother decided to move over here into our own areas, which is for the family, you know? So we pay less money.

A: But at that time, from the Freetown experience, you had already started to meet and identify those star player…

W: Yeah. Yes, I lived there for about a year, for about the whole of 1960, before Hattie (Hurricane Hattie, October 31, 1961) came.

A: When did you first meet the Mugga?

W: It’s right around that same time.

A: He didn’t use to live around that area at that time, though?

W: No. But he had a girlfriend… Because Ms. Lira, Ms. King had about four or five sisters… And yo know how dat go. Mugga was dealing with one of them. And other brothers likewise; you know how that goes.

A: Yaa.

W: But, Chico (Gilbert, Jr.) Ellis was living in the yard. The Ellis family was living in the yard; Chico and “Pas” and their mother, and his sister.

A: Bertie (Gilbert Ellis, Sr.) and family..

W: Yes, two sisters. One of them had died in “Pontoon Bridge”. Remember that sad thing that happened?

A: Yaa, Pontoon Bridge (river tragedy after Hattie).

W: Yes. Yvonne went down in that; Yvonne Ellis, their youngest sister. She was going to St. Hilda’s. That was sad, man. We lost about seven or ten people (drowned) that day.

A: Yaa that was a huge tragedy.

W: Rough; two barges just let go from where they were set. Carelessness, you know. Two barges just let go that morning. It was one of the saddest news in Belize, still; Pontoon Bridge, man.

So, I came down, and my mother decided to come now on the south side. All this time now, I have friends on the north side that I had already become acquainted with, like the Coye them, who do funerals. Me and them would carry “dead box” to “dead house;” that would be nothing for us as young boys. We would be quarreling to steer the cart; you know that sort of thing, like you are driving, because they were good carts, for carrying the “dead box.” Then when the box reaches the dead house now, one of us would get in the cart, while another would be driving…

So, a team came out named Willie Whylie.

A: At that time you were living by “Scotland”?

W: Yes. I lived at the…

A: What part of Collet Canal are you talking about?

W: Alright; you know where Stanford Bridge was, where the man Stanford had a … where the bridge is.. Mex Avenue bridge? It was a little small bridge..; now it is open..; it was a one-man bridge there then.

A: On Racoon Street?

W: No, that is Mex Avenue… Mex Avenue is like you are going to Yabra; the next street from Yabra. The little bridge from Yabra Bridge? You’re leaving Yabra Bridge now, and you are coming; the next bridge there was One Man Bridge. The Prime Minister (Hon. Dean Barrow), they lived on the corner of that canal – Dean and his brother and their whole family, they lived on the corner on the next side of the canal. We lived on this side.

A: Okay.

W: So, two yards from one was Rhaburn and then we. So you are coming down the canal now, and the second yard is ours, Brown’s yard. If you can recall where Johnson Retreat was? We lived about two buildings from that.

A: So that was Scotland’s yard then.

W: Yaa, Scotland yard. And this lady, Joyce, used to have a saloon there, Joyce Cool Spot. She is Bismark’s sister from Yabra. She was well known, and she had a little thing going on in the yard right there. That yard… it was like…

Alright, let me get back to how I met the Mugga; right inside King’s yard (on Freetown). From I saw this brother, I felt something about him. The man had a flap outa sight, you know?

A: Yaa, the Mugga was a really cool brother when i di walk.

W: What!? Da like i deh pahn ice! So, from I saw him I said, “This brother here, you know.” (laugh)

And then, they started to go and practice up at… that same MCC. It was then… the T.B. Ward was there, remember the T.B. Ward?

A: Yaa, at the Barracks.

W: And just the open land was there; and I used to go with them to practice. They were Dunlop at that time; and I used to go and get the ball for them when the ball went across (the street) to the water side, to the sea side; because when those guys are defending, the ball would sometimes go way across, you know? So I got to meet all dehn bredda.

A: This was at the Barracks you were kicking ball then.

W: The Barracks, yea. So I got to meet all of those brothers… Ben Drake, Pine, Tooth Pick, I mean, the works….

So, I moved on the south side now; and then I caught Willie Whylie junior football team. I was one of the founders (founding members) of Whylie’s team, the first Whylie. Yeah. Pops Brown and his father; it is they who sewed the shirts, black and white shirts for us, from Castle Street.. Most of the guys used to live right around that area.

A: How you got in contact with Willie Whylie to form that team?

W: I caught the team because… at that time there was no Kings Park.. it was an area up there where we called Desert..

A: Yaa, I remember that… lone mangro and piles of clay fill..

W: And it is up there we would go “bang hooky” (skip school), because it had a lot of “hammands” (almond) trees and plum trees, where you could dodge…

A: They were starting to fill up the swamp land.

W: And you could dodge Mr. Flowers, “Maamy Seed,” you know; because dehn man deh run you down, man. I used to have some tough time with him… I used to bang hooky; I used to give trouble; I didn’t want to go to school. I feel it (regrets) now.

So, I caught the Willie Whylie team. Now, I was the only south side man on the team, you know? It was all north side men on the team.

A: A junior team?

W: Yaa, junior; Willie Whylie Junior. At that time they had SJC Junior, St. Michael’s Junior, Technical, all of them were involved. Because it was from there that you got to go up to senior. That’s all we had; primary school, junior, and then the big league. That was it for football in Belize. We’ve come a long way, no?

A: Some guys went straight from primary school to the big leagues sometimes, no?

W: Yes, yes, one or two guys did that; just like in the big basketball thing (NBA). Some men go straight from high school up…

So, I played for Willie Whylie, and we won our first season; and after that, I continued playing with Willie Whylie for about two more years.

And then, a different Willie Whylie team was made up. The Whylie from Castle Street, which was Butter, Steeler, Tucker, who died, Puc, from St. Mary’s, who used to mind goal for St. Mary’s, a big red brother named Tucker, then you had Edwin and Tom.

Well, as we talk about taking from (unofficial draft) early, BEC took Tom from us very early… one of our forward players. BEC grabbed him quickly. He was very young; but he was good, so they took him. And his brother was a defence named Windell. Even Ben McKoy, you know, played a defence for Whylie, the same singer. Yeah, that same Ben McKoy, with that body (later became Mr. Belize, body building champion) and everything, he defended me already. We had Haylock; we had a guy named Putuck. Those brothers never came back home from they went to the States.

A: So you played about three years at junior with them?

W: Yes, and I played with Dennis Brannon, too. Dennis Brannon was controlling the left side of Whylie before he left for the States.

A: (I remember) the Brannon brothers..

W: But Dennis, Because Edmund had gone earlier (to senior), you know. Landivar picked up those brothers from they were young. Yeah, man; because those brothers “had game” from they were coming up.

A: It is he that is in Cayo right now, Edmund?

W: Yes, Edmund now lives in Cayo.

A: Yaa, I met him the other day.

W: So, I hung with Whylie for right into ’64 into ’65; but a different crowd began taking over the Whylie (team) at that time, some from the Majestic alley area and others.

A: What happened to the other guys who were already on the team.

W: Some of the other guys went to the States or stopped playing.

Now, this is when I would get the name “Mugga” now; for real, you know. Now, I didn’t say this to myself. It is those youths; they just put that name on me, because they said I just walked lazy, and a whole heap of things… and then I used to hang out at Yabra (where the real Mugga based). I came out of Yabra. Da Yabra mek mi; trust me!

A: You didn’t have any contact with the music world at that time?

W: No. No. ’65 now, Now my music thing will come on now. After around 26 I would leave school now.

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