December 1, 2014
It is with very heavy hearts that we are here in the rain today to celebrate the life of Telford Christopher Vernon Jr. better known as Bradda or Brads in Burrell Boom and Pinky in Dangriga. Most importantly, his father called him “Bachy Boe”.
He had his own name for everyone he befriended and everyone has a Brad’s story to share. He touched everybody who met him in his journey through life.
He was born in Belize City on April 20th, 1957 to Enid Vernon nee Longsworth and Telford Sr., both deceased. Brads was a special needs child that his parents protected with much zeal.
For his first 21 years Brads grew up in Belize City a very sheltered life surrounded mostly by his immediate family. He slept with his paternal grandparents in the same family owned yard at Barrack Road until the time of their passing in the mid 70’s. They had great love for him and among other things, taught him how to kneel and pray.
During this pre-Boom time the family vacationed almost exclusively on Spanish Caye for the entire summer and Easter vacations every year and Brads was an integral part of those happy days. He mischievously loved to untie the mooring lines on the boats and we would have to scramble to retrieve them. He scared us senseless when on one trip he decided to venture off on his own in a dorey. Paso, his sister’s husband, frantically rescued him. That was the kind of love Brads was surrounded by. And the stories of good people coming to his aid are truly endless.
While as a youth he attended Lynn’s School for children with special needs. After a few years of this schooling he turned 18 and refused to stay in school and would walk back to the Barrack Road home. Eventually, he refused to take the bus that came for him every day. He told our mother, ”me man, no school”.
He enjoyed a few activities in spite of his challenges while still living in the city. He would be a regular visitor at the maternity ward at the Belize City Hospital and my mother would have to go get him for lunch if he wasn’t escorted home by some of his trusted friends.
Mom allowed him to go out weekday mornings where he would go sit at the Matus mattress making Shop, play doorman at the old Barclays Bank on Barrack Rd., or work the traffic at the corner of Barrack Road and Hyde’s Lane… all a stone’s throw from the home at #23 Barrack Road. Additionally, when he could slip away he would join in any passing procession, especially if there was a marching band involved.
These old activities came to an abrupt halt in 1978 when he was to be transformed into a villager for the next 36 years.
This entire village (Burrell Boom) welcomed him with open arms when he came to live here in 1978 with his parents. He wasn’t talking much when he came here at 21 years of age but that changed quickly almost upon his arrival. In Boom Brads roamed the village streets and picados and made many lifelong friends.
In 1987 Brads moved to Dangriga for a couple of years with Judith & husband while mom was away in New York. There in Dangriga Brads had a blast and enjoyed celebrity status.
He got to re-live some of his old practices from the latter part of his Barrack Road days but with much greater freedom and much more gusto.
He reported to work to play doorman at the ScotiaBank Office every day during this period. Again, if for any reason there was a procession with a marching band he would instantly join in at the head of it. And when there was no band he would play the role of chief mourner usually riding in the Hearst all the way to the cemetery. There wasn’t a funeral or wake he didn’t attend.
After a while in Dangriga he felt comfortable enough to visit the family owned mechanic shop some 3 miles away from the home on the Stann Creek Valley Road. If he missed his ride he would hitch hike with any available car, truck, bus or even motorcycle.
On Sundays he would stand at the church door at the end of the service alongside the priest, shaking the hands of everyone leaving.
He loved the ladies and called them all “Pinky”. His favorite line was “Pinky gal, come ya, kiss me no”. And he had his lines.
Brads was a gentle gracious soul with a warm sincere smile and anyone who knew Brads and had the privilege of meeting him experienced just how special he was. He was very sociable and made friends easily and people here in the in the village of Burrell Boom were very protective of him.
Brads passed away in the early evening of November 22, 2014 and is now with Mom and Dad…the two people who loved him the most. I know he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him. Many thanks for coming out in this inclement weather to celebrate brads’ life with us.
NOTE: Written & delivered by Trevor Vernon