Two men, one pair of legs .... Brown's Town amputees not crippled by disability
"I remember wanting to sink through the hospital bed, but then the nurse who was attending to me at the time said Yuh a go get girl with yuh one foot man. You going to have a family with a lot of kids."
This was March, 1989.
Fredrick Wallace recounted the events as he stood before his jerk pan on the corridor of a burnt out shop on Huntley Road in Brown's Town, St Ann, on Wednesday.
In January that year, Wallace was diagnosed with bone cancer, and by the middle of March that year, he was lying on a hospital bed at University Hospital of the West Indies, about to lose one of his legs. He was just 17.
"I was worried about one thing. Mi naah go get nuh girl ... .Cause mi a say boi, how girl ago talk to one-foot man," Wallace said.
"After the operation, I cried one time. And that was it, the whole thing force me to look on life differently."
Wallace, 43, told THE WEEKEND STAR that when he went back to his community Barbican Road in St Andrew he met Clinton Martin , another amputee.
"Wait, yu grudge mi. Tru mi have one foot yu affi go get one foot too," Wallace recalled Martin saying to him.
"And from dat day him tek mi under him wings and show mi how mi can use my disability to make a living, through dancing."
Wallace started dancing with Martin in streets and at local talent shows under the moniker 'Father and SonOne Pair'.
Martin is the father, and Wallace, the son.
One Pair refers to the fact that they now share a pair of shoes. Wallace wears the right and Martin the left. They won the Tastee Talent Trial competition in 1992 and also won a trip to London to dance.
But when Martin died in 2000 from pneumonia, Wallace mulled over whether to continue working as an entertainer.
"At the set-up, Morris Nelson a one-foot man Martin did introduce mi to, was there and start dance and everybody seh we fi start do the ting again. And Nelson now become step-father," Wallace said.
Nelson lost his leg in a bike accident in 1990, at the age of 22.
"At the time mi did have four kids already and mi did jus a sit at home naah go nuh weh, feeling bad for myself. Father [Clinton Martin] realised that mi can dance to," Nelson said.
"Mi never want to go still because mi think people a go laugh at mi."
Nelson told THE WEEKEND STAR that he was encouraged by the Father and Son-One Pair sensation and was motivated to live again.
"I use to hide Father and then mi seh to mi self that mi can do it too, but mi did really scared. And Father start call mi worthless because mi shy. Is after that mi get brave and start dance too," Nelson said.
The duo continued the one- pair trend with Step-Father now filling the left foot of the shoes. They have worked in the hospitality industry for many years as one-foot pirates, but since 2014, Wallace shifted gears, jerking chicken and chicken neck, and roasting fish beside his home. "Mi affi do the thing because it helps pay the bills and send the kids to school," Wallace said.
His passion to help to provide for his wife, Sherilyn, and two kids seems to have stemmed from dire desire for a family when he discovered that he would have to live with one leg.
Wallace met Sherilyn one evening when he and Nelson were about to do a show in St Ann's Bay. He immediately knew she was the one for him. The fears he had 27 years ago when he leg was amputated disappeared, and he has committed to "follow this girl to Jericho".
Nelson works as a one-foot pirate at Dolphin Cove, an attraction on Jamaica's north coast.