I feel like "jwilly" is Mr. Wilson from "Home Improvement." You even got to hold on to your anonymity in Tear-Down, ya slippery sucka!
Well, Jan, like Mr. Wilson, he was MY next door neighbor, like TV's Mitchells of old and the Taylors more recently. But I don't remember him talking through the fence, because it was hard to hide behind. But he was more likely playing Civil Engineer in his sand box than dispensing psychological wisdom through the transparent fence.
All he needed was a jonsey. Thought the same thing when I saw that picture. Mr. Wilson was probably called Willy at some time in his life too.
I don't know of a single word that describes JWilly as a child better than "precocious". Never any trouble for us. The members of whole family were great neighbors. That was Flint circa 1960. Success was later the rule for many of the kids that grew up in that neighborhood, with a few exceptions. And it wasn't even an A1 Residential zoned area, where the kids, as I'm sure JWilly recalls from his year at SW, got into more trouble, and with lifelong consequences, running with a fast crowd and being hippies or hippie posers, or poseurs (if you really believe that one sense of the definition of poser isn't the same thing). But then again, I can think of one real deal hippie of that description who is now an attorney in Gordon's present home town.
This looks like a painting.
Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.