Jack Mitchell shared the family home with his two sisters after the parents passed away..none of them ever married. Not that there were ever any suggestion of dubious behaviour amongst them one way or the other, it’s just that they never married..though I was told by a person who knew him,years later that “Joking Jack” was a very lonely man.
Jack was full of jokes..he would drop one every few minutes in any conversation there in the front-bar of the Seacliff Hotel..He was never stuck for a word either..He used to work as a buyer for one of the biggest department stores in the city..:
“I just started as a youngster there with socks and stockings in lingerie and worked my way up!”..was his usual gag if any one asked about his employment. He was always snappily dressed in smart suit and tie, no matter what the night…which was nearly every night at the hotel. Whenever Jack told a joke, you could see he was dying to laugh at his own joke..this would be bad form, so he pinched his lips together as tight as he could..but that was rarely enough and a slight splutter and a bit of foamy spittle would cover his lips after.
One month, Jack, with a couple of other older blokes from the hotel, took a trip to Bangkok. Now, the only reason many men went to Bangkok in those days was for sex..sex in any shape or form..Bangkok was notorious for it..so when Jack returned to the front bar after the “holiday’ a couple of younger men there started to take the piss..:
“Jack!” one called out across the other side of the U-shaped bar. “Tell us Jack..; How was the hol-i-day in BANG-KOK!?”..and then followed a spot of laughter..
‘Well boys” Jack began after sipping the foam off the top of his beer “ Well, boys..you know there’s an old saying that if a balding man..much like myself..was to rub his pate against that most tender and private part of a young lady..then his hair would grow back..”..and here Jack took a slow draught of his beer, wiped his lips with the back of his hand and with wide-eyed surprise announced in a loud voice to the lads: “Well it’s a lie!!”
This admission brought laughter all ‘round.
But Jack was always a conservative voter and a “boss’s man”..he could be seen on some occasions in deep conference with the manager of the hotel, looking about with suspicious eyes…we believed he was the management’s watching eyes to detect and report on the young dope users and sellers in the hotel..we never trusted him..
He has passed away many years now, and according to the one young man who did have his confidence, Jack Mitchell was a very lonely man .