No, he wasn’t a deacon. Jack Deacon had no affiliation to any church. He was one of about four village tailors at a time when a man could still make a living from this profession. Jack drank a fair amount of alcohol and when he wasn’t tailoring her was in a bar, raising hell. Jack was in his late sixties, wasn’t married but lived with a woman about his age. He lived at a time when it wasn’t fashionable for men to marry a woman who had been cohabiting with them for years.
The distance from Deacon’s home to his shop was about a quarter of a mile. He would open his shop by eight o’clock every morning. His wife would bring him breakfast and lunch. He would stagger home in the late evenings after his customary round of drinks.
One day I saw his wife, Miss Darlene, coming up the road. It was a Friday evening, about seven thirty if I remembered right.
“Alwyn, is Jack still in the bar?” she asked me.
I was sure I’d seen him leave the bar and head home an hour ago and I told her so. She continued up the road nevertheless. I made my way home wond
ering where Jack Deacon was. Maybe he had passed his house and was visiting friends, I thought. As the next bar was a mile down the road I doubt if he could have gone there.
My father came home at around nine o’clock and said they couldn’t find Deacon. He said that they were searching for him. He was a few years younger than Deacon and always drank with him. Deacon was also his tailor. After he had eaten we went out on the road to join other search teams looking for Deacon. There were no breakaways over which he might have fallen and nobody had seen him.
Walking home that night my father suggested that he might have been hit down by a motor vehicle and could now be lying dead in some ravine. I remembered three school girls who had been hit down by a car with no headlights. The incident took place just after dark. None of the girls was seriously injured but the driver escaped prosecution. So the next morning we intensified our search but with no success. The police searched his house, his yard and nearby premises before listing him as a missing person. My father said that there was a possibility that he might have fallen over some sidewalk and been dragged away by wild dogs but I doubted that as I had heard no stories of wild dogs in the area.
Miss Darlene told us of a place in another parish where he was from. We went there but found the family house in ruins. Nobody knew anything about Jack. An old man told us that most of the family had died out. The few survivors had migrated to other parts of the country.
I was on King Street one day when I saw him! This was about six months later. He was sitting on a stool and selling fruits. I bought some star apples from him.
“Mister Deacon, how are you?” I asked and stretched out my hand. He did not take my hand, instead he gave me a blank stare.
I was perplexed, nobody could tell me that this wasn’t Jack Deacon. This man wore a felt hat just like Jack, had a small face and was slightly stooped just like Jack. The only this was why would a tailor be selling fruits? Despite his denials I went home determined to find the real Jack Deacon.
I took my father to the spot where I had seen Deacon selling the fruits but he wasn’t there. My father and Miss Darlene went back there but they didn’t see him. They asked around and a man told them that he was called Hepburn but he didn’t know his surname. Neither this man nor anybody else knew anything about him.
Despite the police questioning some of the nearby sellers we were never able to solve the mystery of Jack Deacon’s disappearance. I still believe that the he was the man I had seen on King. Why would a man in his late sixties, suddenly pull of a disappearing act? Pleae visit my blog at:http://stredwick.blogspot.com