IF I AM NOT BACK BY WEDNESDAY...
It all began on this verandah, as have so many books, or pages therein; Andrene Bonner's first published piece, JJV:The Storyteller's, Richard Moore's The Bolt Supremacy, Chris Gayle's Six Machine... The inspiration for this book was different though. It was not the verdant view that inspired creativity, the still of the morning that clears thoughts or just being far from the madding crowd that gives pause to refresh. It was none of these for Geoffrey Haddad.
Geoffrey's book was etched in his memory from a personal experience of nearly 50 years ago; penned indelibly by his real life experience in the Blue Mountains as a schoolboy, young and yearning for adventure. And adventure he did get. He made assiduous notes of that encounter with near death, kept mementos of the experience and told his story to many a friend.
It was in the summer of 2012 that I got to hear his story, first hand. Mark you, few in Jamaica would have forgotten the news in late 1967 when, again, 5 Jamaica College schoolboys got lost attempting to create their own trail through Jamaica's Blue Mountains. Again, because an all too similar thing happened in 1939. So riveting was that story that it never left the mind of the young, impressionable Hartley Neita. In 2008, he published The Search, a gripping encounter of that earlier experience.
In my quest to promote The Search far and wide, Michele Parkin, my Servite Convent school friend, who knew Geoffrey, got wind of it and brought the book to Geoffrey's attention. A year later, he was on my verandah with the makings of his manuscript, asking about how to get his book published. Long story short, it is here now, and Geoffrey saw it only fitting that the Jamaican launch of his book would not be complete without him leaving a copy in our library for our guests to read and enjoy. Priced at J$2,500 each, and like The Search, copies of If I Am Not Back By Wednesday are available at, and are in aid of, the Jamaica College Foundation at 189 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6, Jamaica. The office can be contacted at 876-970-1817 and firstname.lastname@example.org.