1965, the year that changed my life
Another visit to the Williamses and to Sharon
Perhaps Sunday 28th February 1965
1. Once, while we were away in Manchester, Peter Gooding’s parents and mine met together, concerned about what we were getting ourselves into. And Peter’s father said, “All right, we’ll have a run over there.”
2. And that is what they decided to do. (I am assuming that this occurred on Sunday 28th February 1965.) My Dad used to work on a Sunday at the Blackpool Park Golf Club, but somehow he got this particular evening off. So the four of them set out in the Goodings’ car. And they had not gone very far — they were passing through Kirkham — when a loud rattling noise started, so they stopped to investigate. They discovered that the wheel-nuts were loose and that the noise had been caused by the wheel wobbling about. The car had just been serviced, and someone at the garage had neglected to tighten the wheel-nuts up.
3. Anyway, they got to Sharon, and they were very impressed by what they heard and what they saw. My Mum thought that Pastor Barratt was more “refined” than Pastor Williams. Mr. Gooding went out for prayer, and he fell down the same way as Chris and others did. He suffered from a chronic chest condition — I remember his terrible, gurgling cough, too weak to bring anything up — and he had not been able to lie flat on his back for a very long time. But when he went down this evening and lay on the floor he was really comfortable. He said afterwards that he had never felt such peace.
4. Afterwards, my Dad was speaking to Pastor Williams and asked him, “Is there a church like this in our area?” (It was a long way to keep going to church, to Manchester.)
5. After the Sunday evening meeting at Sharon — this could be the occasion on which Chris, Peter and I met Mary. At any rate, on one visit to Manchester at this time, there was quite a gathering of people at 69 Upper Chorlton Road; they would congregate there quite frequently on a Sunday night after the meeting. And there were cups of tea — of course — and sandwiches and cakes and biscuits. And this Mary was there. In years to come, I would refer to her in one of my writings as “a certain unmarried middle-aged woman”, but thinking back, I don’t think she was that old; she was perhaps in her late twenties. She was a simple soul, though, who wore glasses with thick lenses that looked like the bottoms of bottles. The glasses didn’t sit straight on her face, which added to the impression of there being something slightly lacking to her. She talked rather loudly, and always seemed to try to get Pastor Williams’s confirmation to everything she said: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! — wasn’t it, Pastor! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! — isn’t it, Pastor!”
 See Johannine Writings XI.3.We return home
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