1961 to 1966
Relating to Jones, there were a number of stages that I passed through:
- There was the initial stage, before I knew him personally, where he was obviously distinguishable from the rest of us by his oddness and strange behaviour. He seemed more like a grown man than a schoolboy, albeit somewhat miniaturised and dressed in a schoolboy’s short trousers. He also gave the impression that he considered himself morally superior to us mere schoolboys, and just tolerated us because he happened to be forced by circumstances to share the same location as we. I joined in from time to time the general activity of ridicule of him that arose among his peers, when if not openly mocking him, we would discuss him and imitate his mannerisms with sniggering and giggling, and point towards him hand-on-mouth if he happened to be in sight. Whether he identified me at this time as a participant in these annoyances at the borders of his serenity I am not sure.
- Then there was a second stage, where after I had quite unexpectedly become acquainted with him, I held him in quite considerable awe. He led and domineered the relationship at this stage, for he always seemed more knowledgeable and able than I was; and although sometimes I felt discontented with some aspects of this state of affairs, I nevertheless usually acquiesced in it.
- Then came a third stage, intermediate between being friendly and being completely hostile. This was the initial “wrecking” period, where I still had access to him, but would make fun of him in the presence of others whom I was trying to impress, till we were thrown out from his house. It started after I met, through Jones, two of his acquaintances, Peter Gooding and Chris Woodhead. We started getting great amusement from reporting to each other Jones’s risible words and actions. As the circle of my friends widened, there started to be “wrecking” expeditions to his house. This unfriendliness on my part was initially tolerated by Jones, but he soon got to be suspicious of me if I appeared accompanied by someone else. Chris became a “double agent”: Jones accepted him with quite unguarded amicability; yet Chris reported his observations of Jones to us, and indeed participated in some of our “wrecking” spoofs against him.
- The fourth stage was where access to him was completely barred. I was banned from his house; and I am not sure whether I was also forbidden to have contact with him at school.
- Fifthly and finally, in 1965, I experienced conversion to Christ, and whether through Chris’s mediation (including a visit of Chris to him when Jones kept referring to me as “Vermin”), or by my own efforts to become reconciled, friendly relations with him were established again. At first he opposed my message, but eventually was won over and himself was converted. This, ironically, became a reversal of the aforementioned second stage: formerly he had been the knowledgeable leader and I the follower, unable to compete with him; now, I was the expert and he the learner, or, I suppose we could say, disciple.