ROY WILFRID “CHIC” JOHNSTON
Roy Wilfrid “Chic” Johnston (June 18, 1923 – August 29, 2005)
We could always tell when Mom was angry at Dad: she called him “Wilfrid!” his middle name. She called him “Roy” when she wasn’t angry. Everyone else knew him as “Chic” and never knew his real names. Even our cousins called him “Uncle Chic.”
“Chic” was a nickname Dad got when he was 5 years old. It was short for “Chicken.” Nana used to give my uncles and Dad the feet from chickens she had slaughtered and was preparing for dinner. Today this would be unsanitary, but back then it was normal for poor children to play with chicken feet since money for toys was scarce. Nana would make sure that my uncles and Dad each had a turn getting the chicken feet. One time it was an uncle’s turn, but Dad was sick so Nana gave him the chicken feet. Out of jealousy, my uncles started calling Dad, “Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!” The name stuck, but got shortened to “Chic.” Many of Dad’s lifelong friends never knew his real name until they read his death notice in the newspaper.
Roy Wilfrid “Chic” Johnston went from Spirit to flesh on June 18, 1923. That makes him 93 years old today.
Hey Roy Wilfrid “Chic” Johnston,
I know you meant no harm when you constantly told me that I wasn’t born, but a piece of horse shit you scraped up off the street.
I know you meant well when you teased me for expressing my feelings and told me, “A Man never cries in public.”
I know you never meant to hurt me when you constantly criticized me for not being good enough.
You were doing the best you could with the awareness you had. Who knows what unintentional emotional damage Nana and Grandad did to you, and what their parents did to them?
Thanks for raising me to think of myself as a human being, and to see people as human beings and not by their race or nationality.
Thanks for raising me to be honest even though honesty does not go well in this world of ours.
But most of all, thanks for loving and supporting and doing your best me in your own, weird, dysfunctional way.
I love you, Daddy. Happy Birthday!