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Another letter from Chris

1965, the year that changed my life
My Dad makes a decision for Christ

Monday 2nd August 1965
 1. Chris received the letter I had written him in the morning’s post on Monday 2nd August, and must have written and posted his reply almost immediately, for the postmark reads: “2.45
PM 2 AUG 1965”.

Perhaps Tuesday 3rd August 1965
 2. I assume, then, that I received his letter the next day.

136, Clee Rd.
Old Clee, 

Dear John,
 Thanks very much for your letter which I got this morning. I’m glad that you never sent my letter to Hazel, my conscience has been pricking me ever since I said you could. I don’t think it will do much good mithering her about it, you never know, it might turn out in the end, and anyway, I’ve got over it a bit now, and I want a bit of fun before I go steady with anybody again, if it’s Hazel or anybody else.
 I think it’s wonderful about Peter’s Dad. I hope he’s out of hospital soon. He’ll maybe come to our church now. Honest I don’t know how people can be ignorant about the power of God, it seems so obvious to us, doesn’t it?

 Mr. Gooding’s chest condition had got worse again and he had been admitted to hospital. While he was there, perhaps when Pastor Smith went to visit him, he “gave his heart to the Lord”. This must be what Chris thought was “wonderful about Peter’s Dad.” Of course, we wanted the Lord to heal him, but what was uppermost in our minds was concern for the salvation of his soul if not his body.
 I’d like to get that book, but I don’t think I can afford it yet, so maybe I can borrow yours when you’ve read it.
 I’ve been to the Bus Station this morning to book my seat for Saturday. It leaves earlier now than it used to, it goes at 8.15 now, and gets into Rigby Rd. at 2 o’clock, still it’ll be good to be home again. I don’t suppose you know of anybody who wants to come to Grimsby on Sunday do you, because you can’t get single tickets on the bus, you have to get the weekend return, and if there was anybody they could have my ticket.
 It’s been the East Coast Jazz Festival down at Cleethorpes this weekend. There’s been quite a lot of top groups there, like the Ivy League, the Animals, Manfred Mann and tons more, it was too much to go in but me and our Brian had a walk down on Saturday night. They’re holding it in a “big top” tent on some spare ground near the boating lake. You ought to see the tents on the beach though, they’ve come from all over the place, and if anybody says that your hair’s long, they ought to see some of the sights there, they’ve got it right down below their backsides.
 I’m going with Brian to see “Help!” at the Ritz tonight, it should be quite good, have you seen it yet?
 I went to the Methodist Church with my Nan last night. The service was very good and it was a great preacher, not a bit like Wignall, it was a very moving sermon, he was talking about the power of the Holy Ghost.
 Guess who I saw yesterday, in a bus queue, Ann. I didn’t recognise her at first because her hair’s dead long now, but I heard her mother call her Ann, and then it dawned on me who it was. She’s not bad looking, you know. I think I must be destined to bumping into people like that in bus shelters.
Ann was the first girl I ever had a “snog” with. Chris and I had visited Grimsby the previous November—my first visit there—and we had spent much of our time looking for girls to “get off with”, as we put it. On the final evening, as we were strolling along Victoria Street, Grimsby, we spotted two suitable young ladies in front of us. As we approached them, we took out cigarettes.
 “Have you got a light?” we asked them.
 “No, we don’t smoke,” they answered.
 So we said, “In that case—”, and took a box of matches out of a pocket and lit the cigarettes. A corny line, but it made our intentions clear—and it worked!
 We set off walking with them, and drifted more or less into pairs, Chris walking beside one, Jennifer Ballard—the “Jenny” that he had recently mentioned in one of his letters—and I beside the other, Ann Nurse.
 Just before a left-hand bend in an alleyway, Chris and Jenny stopped, and started snogging. So, just reaching the corner, beneath a gas-lamp, I said to Ann, “Come on!”, and nervously attempted my first snog. I’d never kissed a girl before—I didn’t know how to do it properly—and there was a sucking noise.
 Well I’d better close now, but give my regards to Peter and Trev. See you on Saturday.
 God be with you.

Yours, Chris.

A postcard from Chris

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