|LOUIS JEROME FERNANDES
Although there is no record of his schooling - school reports etc., we think he attended St Andrew's School. He used to tell how he earned his pocket money by working in his father's vegetable and marigold fields before school each morning. It was his task to cut the eggplant and cauliflowers for the women who took baskets of them to sell from door to door. The marigolds were sold wholesale to their regular buyers for marigolds are the sacred flower of the Hindus used for all festival and rituals.
He used to tell how, at one time, his father and grand-father had owned extensive fields and property which were gradually mortgaged to finance the drinking and feasting and merry-making which is the way of life of the East Indian Community. Today, what were their fields of vegetables and marigolds, house modern high-rise buildings .
At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a British firm of gentleman tailors - Leach and Ebony situated in the Fort, Bombay. It was here that he learnt his wonderful dress sense.
Later he was appointed as a clerk in the office of the Bombay Education Society, in Byculla, Bombay. He used to say how lucky he was to become the protégée of Sir Reginald Spence, one of the patrons of the Society. Sir Reginald made him take a secretarial course at night school and then sent him to Deolali as Secretary to the first headmaster of Barnes School- Rev.Tom Evans.
JEROME'S BARNES SCHOOL ADVENTURE
He loved recalling those early days when Rev Evans and he, sharing quarters that were but a shell, watched the buildings being completed, built of stone from the quarries on the campus; how the lovely black wood furniture for the Staff quarters would arrive from Bombay and be dumped in piles in front of the unfinished buildings and how the Chinese carpenters, camping on the estate, would work cheerily and deftly to provide the doors and windows for the buildings and classroom furniture.
He used to tell about the high day and holiday it was when a decorated train steamed along the railway lines carrying hundreds of children, staff and friends for the laying of the Foundation stone by Sir Phillip Lloyd - Gov. of Bombay. The train made a special stop outside the school. The children had been sent from the Society's School at Bombay - Christ Church- to form a guard of honour and there was much feasting and rejoicing before the train left to take them all back to Bombay.
The school was officially opened the following year and Jerome, fondly known as L.J. stayed on.
Fifteen years later Mildred Clara Cooke and her friend Gem Ballentyn join the school. Louis Jerome, who enjoyed meeting the new staff at Deolali Station and giving them a warm welcome to the school which stood in isolated spendour among the stark and gaunt mountains of the Western Ghats, met the two young teachers fresh from College and entertained them to a sumptuous tea. This was the start of a friendship that was to blossom into marriage and a family.
Gem Ballentyne, Louis Jerome Fernandes(Fun loving East Indian) and Mildred Fernandes
Mr Ferny at his Retirement Presentation from Barnes
RETIREMENT DOWN UNDER
The Fernandes family migrated to Australia after Jerome retired and he enjoyed his retirement till he fell ill in 1980 and passed away in 1981.
I remember Dad bringing me down to the Duck Pond, we'd look for birds nests and butterflies...much, much later and after a great deal of work on the pool, dad was honoured when the Duck Pond was named 'The Fernandes Pool'