1965, the year that changed my life
Thwarted again by Peter Gooding
1. On Wednesday evenings, a number of the young people used to meet together at the church, then go out in small groups on the streets of Fleetwood giving out gospel tracts to people they happened to encounter — “tracking”, they called it, though I suppose the word should have been “tracting”.
2. I can’t remember exactly who used to turn up for “tracking”, apart from three who immediately spring to mind: the two Roberts — Robert Parkinson and Robert Miller — and a chap whose name, I think, was Dave.
Robert Parkinson was somewhat scruffy; and the strides he took in his soft-soled shoes always seemed too long and therefore awkward. His whole demeanour appeared to broadcast this message: “Don’t bother with me; I’m no good!” It was always a bad move to ask Robert Parkinson how he was, because he would typically reply, “I’ve been depressed lately.” It was a standing joke between Trevor and me that Robert Parkinson once told us (or him), “I’ve been reading a good book; it’s called ‘The Christian in depression’”!Brylcreemed hair, shiny black shoes and a suit. He was going out with Myra Dine when I first met him. She was the one who responded to the appeal given by John Nelson Parr in the Knott End campaign.Brylcreemed hair was combed back from a very low brow. All this made his appearance rather simian. In fact, the reason I can’t definitely remember his name is that Trevor coined the name “Igo” for him, from the Neil Sedaka song “I Go Ape”. As if to compensate for his lack of size, he carried a huge Bible with him to meetings.
I previously posted this story on Facebook, and after I did so, Myra Hardaker née Dine commented, on 5 December 2008:Wednesday 17th November 1965
3. On the Wednesday after the festive occasion with the young people of the church, I went along to the church to go “tracking”. I remember who two of the participants were on this particular occasion, for obvious reasons: they were Peter Gooding and Audrey Wood.
And now I was in an ecstasy of nervousness and fear, as we turned into Poulton Road and I explained how I had prayed that on the coach, the girl I should go out with would sit with me, and how she had sat with me, and — “Will you go out with me?”
She answered quietly and simply, “Yes.”
And I was almost disappointed; it was so easy. I had got up all this nervous energy in preparation for some sort of verbal duel.
6. After my rambling speech, which could have been construed as emotional blackmail (it was “the Lord’s will” that Audrey should go out with me whether she wanted to or not!), and her simple and anticlimactic “Yes”, I took hold of her soft, cold little hand. And I felt disappointed in myself when as soon as I felt Audrey’s hand in mine, I got a “hard on”. It was completely unbidden; I didn’t want it to happen. In fact, I had intended to go out with Audrey in purity, since it was “the Lord’s will” that I should do so.
7. And so we came to her Mum’s house with the news that we were going out together. Poor Peter — again![more]Audrey’s first kiss
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