Saturday, July 23, 2005


Today I met Tommy. Tommy, for a few years, lived where I grew up.
I grew up in Ta’ Giorni, a government housing estate in St. Julian’s. The housing estate is surrounded by the old quarters of St. Julian’s on one side and Ta Giorni Heights on the other. In the former lived the real Giljanizi, in the latter those that had the money to buy a nice piece of land and settle with tal-pepe. In the middle there was us, a bunch of low to middle class families that managed to get hold of a government flat or house. Most of those who lived in government houses stayed there while those who lived in flats and had built up a good career for themselves left, leaving a vacant space which would soon be filled by others.

Tommy’s family wasn’t one of the early settlers in Ta’ Giorni. They replaced someone. I don’t remember which block of flats they lived in but I know that they came from Valletta. Tommy was a little older than most of us and he was what one today would call a bully. He was bigger than average, he swore, he smoked and he was always fighting and bullying other kids. He had his little gang of rascals, always running around with him, vandalising and terrorising. After a few months that he came to St. Julian’s, Tommy was king.

I cannot say that I was bullied when I was young, not even by Tommy. I was always big enough to stand on my own two feet and intelligent enough to stay away from people like him. Most of my friends weren’t that lucky. I remember once he stole a girl’s hair band threw the band in the middle of the road and peed on it. Another time his gang stole someone’s bike and hid it somewhere, with the poor kid in tears trying to explain to his mother that he does not know where he left his bike (or else his teeth would be knocked out).

Tommy today was very kind to me. He let me park my car in those 100sq.m. he controls. In his own way Tommy is still king, he is king of his own parking lot. Tommy, today, is a parking attendant.


Anonymous said...

Nista' nafdalu l-karozza???

Arcibald said...

It's interesting to see what has become of childhood 'friends' - the bullies, the submissive, the jokers. Really interesting, especially if one used to go to government primary and secondary schools, where children are truly from all walks of life.

The nerds, the bullied and the quiet ones I presume, for example, that those are the people who will enter politics later in life. (The Leo Brincats, the Harry Vassallos, the Tonio Borgs). One can't generalise though.

Great post Bert.

Splengun said...

Well, I expected you to finish off with you meeting Tommy in Kordin or incidently noticing his picture in Addolorata!
Unfortunately most Tommys end up being wasted by some other Tommy who in turn becomes a waste.

Interesting blog. Just discovered. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work »