Author Topic: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.  (Read 3993 times)

rosemurray

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This is a long-shot, but....
My name is Rosemary, I'm writing from Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
Fourteen months ago, I befriended a wonderful and fascinating coworker, John H.G. Dixon, about whose childhood I would be thrilled to hear stories.  John was born April 12 1946 in Northern Ireland (Belfast, I think, but I can't precisely recall).  The following details are sketchy, at best, and I only wish I had been listening more intently when he spoke to me of his youth.
John's mum still resides there (don't know her name, she would be in her mid- to late-eighties), and when John was a toddler, his parents separated or divorced (his dad moved to South Africa), and he lived with, as an only-child, and was raised by his uncle and aunt, John and (Charlotte?) McMurray.  I don't know where John lived, nor where he went to school and only recall he studied briefly at Queen's U. in his late teens.  In his pre-teens, John worked in a pawnshop.  John loved to ride his bike, was an avid soccer player, and a bit of a pool shark, by his own reckoning.  He was a huge rock music fan (still is) and attended numerous live performances by big-name artists all over the U.K., accompanied by numerous mates, many of whom have since passed on.  John moved to England where he did his studies all through his teen years from the early to late 60's.  He returned to N.I., met and married Mavis, then emigrated soon afterwards to Ontario, Canada where he has lived ever since.
What attracted me to John is his fearless, feisty, intelligent, "larger-than-life", witty character.  He has rather distinctive shoulder-length, once pitch-black now salt-and-pepper corkscrew curly hair, a style he has maintained, he claims, since the early 60's.  Reminds me a bit of history schoolbook pictures of King Billy!  He has numerous tattoos on his arms, all Irish icons, most prominently one on his forearm that reads, "Ulster".
I would LOVE to connect with anyone who knew him "back when" and would be willing to share stories about him and his soi-disant mis-spent youth <smile>.  If you grew up with "Little Johnny Dixon", or know someone who did, kindly contact me directly at rosemary @ ca dot inter dot net.
Thanks, in advance, for reading, and for your help.
Rosemary B-Chiu

teragram

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2009, 09:22:11 AM »
Did he have a hair lip?
If you don't do it you won't get caught.

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 02:34:00 AM »
Until you mentioned it, it NEVER occurred to me that he might, but it's such a coincidence that you ask.  On Tuesday, I happened to mention to John that I was formerly a school photographer North of Toronto for 5 years, and took over 70,000 photos of kids every year, but that I myself was pathalogically camera-shy and have almost NO pictures of myself (I was also always a big-boned, slightly overweight Ukrainian girl until recent years, and still am uncomfortable about my body image).

I consider John to be very good-looking by my own standards, and out of curiosity I asked him the other day if he would kindly show me pictures of him as a child and he very cryptically replied that that wasn't going to happen, implying he was ashamed of his childhood photos.  I was puzzled, but didn't pursue the inquiry, but it *did* cross my mind for a split second that a hair-lip could be the reason why, for lack of any other obvious reason.  I tend to be rather oblivious to physical aspects when I find a strong, swaggering, confident character so much more distracting!  When I worked at a fitness club, I worked alongside my weight-trainer co-worker for six months before I noticed he had a mechanical prosthetic arm!!

Thing is, I've spend dozens of hours sitting across the work place cafeteria table from John conversing with him, mainly because I'm so utterly enamoured with his exotic Irish brogue accent -- my heart thrills when he pronounces my name "Rrrrrrrrosemarrrrrrry" and rolls those "r's".  His voice has an adenoidal quality to it, and his teeth are somewhat unusual and wide-spaced, but that only adds to his charm, to my thinking.  John sports a goatee and soul-patch, so if he indeed has a hair-lip I'm amazed to say I have never noticed it, not that it would matter to me one bit if he did.  As a matter of fact, I spent 20 minutes talking to John just this morning, but that was before I read your post.  I will see him again tomorrow morning at work and I guess I'll know the answer definitively in less than 8 hours from now.
Meanwhile, thank you SO MUCH, teragram, for responding, and if indeed we are speaking of the same John Dixon, I would be hungry for ANY and ALL anecdotes or tidbits of information you could impart to me, who his friends were, on what street did he live, where did he go to school, what kind of character he was then (because I can tell you he's one helluva character now!), what kind of mischief he got himself into, and how you came to know him.  Pictures would be an incredible bonus.  John is, without reservation, my most favourite friend and cherished confidante in the world; we have so many interests in common, he respects me and makes me laugh like no other, and if you indeed knew him, as I am daily enjoying coming to know him now, you would understand why my mantra is, "Is it any wonder I luv him like thunder?"

DO write again!!!

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 04:32:58 PM »
Plied my Johnny with a Bud Light (isn't that a drink for wuss's? wot hoppened to this Guinness elixir he's allus talkin' about?) yesterday, eeked a few more deets from him about his childhood.
John used to live on Newtownlands Road (1946 - '65, roughly).  He told me the name of his primary school, but 3 Irish Whiskies (I never drank a whiskey in me life before meeting Johnny, now I take a bottle of Jameson's to bed with me nightly, Bushmill's being too dear...oh dear) seems to have drowned the memory of it. I'll ask him again, Monday, at work.  Says he played on a soccer team that often played against St. Malachy's.
Tryin' to piece together Johnny's past is like putting togidder one of those 1,000 piece puzzles.  Luckily, I have the patience of Job, and what a job I have ahead o' me.

Jack The Kipper

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 06:03:55 PM »
rosemurrey, would it not be easier and cheaper
to bring Johnny on here himself?
God Bless President Trump! God Bless Israel....and God Bless Big Rosie up our street!!!

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 06:22:43 PM »
John's well aware that I'm on some kind of Belfast-centric forum, and he's rather bemused by my intense curiosity about all things Belfast and all the trivia I pick up on this fascinating website, but as for him joining, well, I don't know.  When next we're in a situation where I can bring my laptop and show him what forums are all about, maybe he'll reconsider.  But I've watched him bumbling on his laptop ( he was trying to find me a website with pictures of the Bushmill's Distillery, and the basalt columns at  Giant's Causeway ) and I simply don't think he has the time, patience or inclination to diddle on a computer, more's the pity.  Now, I'm a perpetual student and not a little bit of a detective, and so I perservere in trying to seek out relics from John's past, though joker that he is, will tell you I'm the "relic of his present!"  Nonsense!  Fifty is the new thirty, right?

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2009, 04:39:17 PM »
My friend John Dixon attended Mersey Primary School.  He lived on (29?) Redcliffe Drive in East Belfast in the mid 40's through 1950's.  Alas, a peek on Google Earth reveals that all the rowhomes in his former neighbourhood have apparently been razed.  Hard to tell from the satellite picture, but it appears the vacant lot is now bordered with either large stones, or perhaps they are trees.

I'd love to hear any stories about that old neighbourhood, or any stories about Mersey  Primary, Mrs. Grace (Pollock?) Foster, etc.  Thanks in advance.

Rosemary

Christopher

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2009, 05:08:39 PM »
Redcliffe Drive was still in existence in the 1960s. It ran from Mersey Street to Harkness Parade. You may have a story for the East Belfast Herald. Some of that paper's readers may remember John.

pussy-galore

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2009, 06:36:52 PM »
There is a whole new housing complex nearing completion on the site. Mersey Street Primary School is ear-marked for development into apartments - it is currently boarded up  :( :( :( :(

pussy-galore

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2009, 11:19:14 PM »
I have a list of every single resident that lived in Redcliffe Drive during 40's and 50's - even the 60's/70's/80's and 90's - not a single Dixon.  :)   I gather from your posts, that you consider John a "confidante" - ever thought of asking him firsthand? :-\ O0

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2009, 04:22:01 AM »
At some point, John's parents split up, and he was sent to live with an uncle John McMurray (sp?) and aunt Charlotte, I believe.  Do your records show any McMurrays?

Meanwhile, many thanks for the infor!  My son reminded me that Google Earth isn't necessarily current, that some of the satellite images can be dated back to as far as 2003.  Even so, it is extremely fascinating to me to be able to "travel" all over Ireland (such a ruggedly beautiful coastline!), while reclining in bed in my pyjamas!  I even found Bono's house!


Jack The Kipper

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2009, 08:02:45 AM »
Rosemurray! .I think YOU are John H.G.Dixon!
God Bless President Trump! God Bless Israel....and God Bless Big Rosie up our street!!!

pussy-galore

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2009, 09:54:35 AM »
RoseMurray - There's so many holes in your "story"  ;) - it reminded me of a sieve   :)

A famous saying goes: "It takes all sorts" - but that's what makes this world more interesting in my opinion.  :) O0

rosemurray

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2009, 04:45:17 AM »
Alas, I am NOT John Dixon....though I might wish I possessed some of his finer attributes!  He is quite possibly one of the finest men I've met in my life -- kind, generous, responsible, a civic leader and larger-than-life character -- and it's my distinct honour and privilege to call him my friend, a sentiment I put into a letter to him this week, that he might know how proud I am of him.

Tomorrow morning, I will suggest to John to contact the East Belfast Herald.  Not sure if he will -- his innate humbleness would probably prevent him from "blowing his own horn" -- but that's at his discretion, of course.  A former radio and newspaper journalist, I would love to write his life's story, and with his permission, I most certainly would.

John's had a remarkable life and career with Canada Post, approaching 33 years, two years short of retirement, and he is our shop steward and President of the local Canadian Union of Postal Workers.  His strength lies in mediation and arbitration.

He is also the president of our local War Veterans Association, and leads the colour guard for the annual November 11th Remembrance Day parade.  His Veteran's Association is distinguished in Canada by the fact that not only are local deceased veterans honoured every year, but a special tribute is paid to local soldiers who have served and returned home safely and who continue to contribute as role models in our community.  A number of times a year, on his own time and at his own expense, John pays social visits to the widows of Ontario war veterans, to bring them cheer and news of mutual friends, and to check on their well-being.

John's wife returned home yesterday from a fortnight in Belfast this month to attend the funeral, at James Brown Funeral Home, of her sister, Ruth Harvey, late of Cussick St (sp?).  The funeral was on Feb 2, interrment in Roselawn Cemetery.  A quick peek at Google Earth revealed to me that Roselawn Cemetery and crematoriam occupy a HUGE expanse.  I understand Georgie Best was also buried there.

I told John about Mersey Primary being boarded up and earmarked for future development, and he was saddened to hear of it.  When next he visits East Belfast (his mum resides at a senior citizens home there and it's his wish to see her again before she passes on) he hopes to revisit his childhood haunts, or what remains of them.  I wish I could join him on that trip!  I am totally captivated by the character, culture and flavour of Belfast, as described to me in bits and pieces by John, and moreso by the myriad of posts I've read here on Belfast Forum.  A number of video clips on YouTube round out the  "picture" of Belfast I have built in my imagination, which will be confirmed or confuted the day I actually step foot on your green land.

Thanks to all who have written me privately and on this public forum.  Your kindness to a non-Irish "guest" like me is greatly appreciated!  I read all the new posts every single night before I go to bed at midnight, some five hours behind you, time-wise. Happy Valentine's Day to all, in advance!

Jack The Kipper

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Re: Seeking friends of John H.G. Dixon, b. April 1946, Belfast (?), N.I.
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2009, 06:13:44 PM »
For gods sake give it a rest John. .You've been rumbled!
God Bless President Trump! God Bless Israel....and God Bless Big Rosie up our street!!!