Many of the stories told to me by my granny were about John as a small boy. He seemed to have been a very serious child and came out with any number of odd remarks that the adults found highly amusing. Most of the family, who remember him as an adult, remark upon the very special and attractive smile that he had and his pleasant nature.
When he was quite young it became clear that he needed glasses and I think that these, with their thin black rims, made him look wise beyond his years. Unfortunately, I only remember a few of the stories out of the many that were recounted.
Three that I do remember were that when he was still a very small boy his mother took him to town on the tram. One of the other passengers who boarded soon after they did was a very ugly looking man and John fixed his eyes on him in real astonishment, taking no notice of his mother's hushed whisper not to stare. She could see that he was about to speak and waited in fearful anticipation for some personal or rude remark but she was put on the spot even more than she had expected, when he asked in angelic tones, "Mummy, do you like that man's face". As someone who prided herself on always telling the truth, especially to her children, this was a real poser!
The second was soon afterwards when his granny found him digging furiously in the garden, soil flying in all directions, while he called out, "There he is, I can see him!". ... Whatever are you doing, John... and he replied, "I am chasing the Devil. I have just seen his tail!".
And the third was, I think, rather revealing of his character, when one morning he was fooling around and irritating his granny, so she gave him a spank with a coat hanger she had been covering. He was not fazed by the smack but most indignant that she had used a coat hanger to give him a correcting tap!
While still living in Orange Grove John had a harum-scarum childhood friend called Dickie Bremner and together they got up to quite a few larks, once being stopped by a policeman as they hurtled pell-mell down the hill in their wooden go-cart that they had built for themselves; much later I was at school with Dickie's sister, Betty, who became a close friend of mine.