Jim and I go way back and our lives intertwined all along the way. I was probably 5 or 6 years old when I first met Jim. He lived down the block and was friends with my older sisters. He hung around our house with all the guys from North Van High. I can picture them all on St. Andrews, being the cool guys they were (at least I thought they were cool), standing beside Bobby Graham’s car, chatting up my sisters.
A few years later I was coming down the cafeteria stairs at North Van High and ran into Jim. I, of course, yelled “Jimmy! What are you doing here?” He proudly said he was teaching at North Van High. Well, you can believe my shock. I picked my chin up off the floor and asked, incredulously, “What are you going to teach?”. He said English and PE. I didn’t laugh out loud, but it was close – Jim Bo teaching English?!? Instead, I said nice to see you Mr. Martin and left.
Turns out, Jim was a fantastic teacher. He made everyone feel they had something special. He was encouraging and even though I never had him as an English teacher, I understand he was pretty good . . .but his forte was the athletics. He encouraged so many to play and if you weren’t athletically inclined, he encouraged you to cheer. The “Wild Bunch” was a raucous group of individuals (band members, greasers, nerds, cool kids and regular kids) that came together every week to cheer on the basketball teams – all because of Jim Martin.
Jim had a huge influence on me and my peers – we were the last class to graduate from North Van High in 1979 and Jim made it very memorable. He was amazing at organizing things, but also at getting everyone involved. His suggestion was to break the world record for playing volleyball . . . and we did. I’ll leave that story for someone else to tell the details.
Jim and I always had a friendship that crossed many paths. The ‘hood; North Van High; Iguana games; Tour de Hawks; Bing Hakes; hospitals; soccer fields; wrestling matches; rugby pitches; reunions and the sharing of the odd drink. Jimmy always had a big smile and a huge hug for you and the memories I have are many and cherished.
Cathy McNaughton (nee Bullock)