The best place to start a story is at the beginning. I was born the first child of John William Haslam and Lou Anne (pronounced Annie) Skelton Haslam. They named me John William Haslam Jr. I weighed almost 10 pounds and I was born on a Wednesday night on November 9, 1955. It was in the middle of prayer meeting at the Mignon (community where the church was located) Methodist Church and my mother told me they interrupted the meeting and announced my birth. I was always proud they interrupted church to announce me to the world.
I found out years later that there was pressure from older family members to name me after both of my grandfathers – Jesse Plumley Haslam and James Alfred Skelton. I am glad they named me John Junior. My mother didn’t think the world was ready for a Jesse James Haslam and I tend to agree with her (although Alfred Plumley Haslam might have been just as badworse). A name like that can stunt a child’s development, or force him down some life path that he doesn’t want to take, not to mention all the smart-aleck crap I would have taken at school from the other kids. I guess with a name like Jesse James I could have always been a country music singer, a bank robber, or better yet, a singing bank robber.
I always liked the name John, although sometimes it seems to me that every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the world is named John. Any time I am sitting in the doctor’s office in the waiting room and the receptionist calls out the name John, at least three hands always seem to go up.
It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized there were some negatives to being named John. I have never yet figured out why toilets were also called Johns. I took some flak about that in school but I was tough and it didn’t really bother me. I learned that when girls broke up with her boyfriends they often wrote them “Dear John” letters. That worked fine with my girlfriend, but what if a guy was named Fred, or George. A Dear John letter doesn’t seem appropriate for a Fred or George.
My Uncle Neil called my Johnny Jump-Ups – a name I hated to hear when I was a small child. When I was young I was called Johnny. In the Southern town where I was raised, “Johnny” was often pronounced “Junny,” and I never liked the way Junny sounded. When I got to college I decided that I should be called John. Now that I am 57, I like Johnny again. All my friends can call me Johnny, but all my business associates still have to call me John.
I feel fortunate that no one ever called me Junior and I am thankful for that. I loved and respected my Dad, but I never liked the name Junior. The “Junior” tag was never hung on me because my Dad was called Bill, which was short for William.
When I was a kid, people referred to President John Kennedy as Jack. No one ever called me Jack; although I have been told several times that I didn’t know Jack Shit.
So I started this life as a John. I hope that when I die, I don’t leave as a John Doe.
I would like to thank fellow REDROOM author Steve Travers for this idea.
Causes John Haslam Supports
I support the Constitution of the United States of America.
I support St. Jude's Hospital.
I believe in GOD.