John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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The Free Trade Hall

1965, the year that changed my life
Peter arouses my interest in Audrey Wood

"The Free Trade Hall"
 1. The Free Trade Hall in Manchester was the scene, over the years, of a number of Pentecostal meetings and conventions. The first one that I went to was a Youth Rally, which took place one Saturday — afternoon and evening, possibly — in the latter part of 1965. A coach trip there was organised by our church; C & H was the coach-hire firm in Fleetwood that was used whenever the church went on such outings.

A "C & H" coach on a church outing in 1970
 2. The coach started off at Fleetwood, then, and picked us up in Thornton, perhaps at Four Lane Ends. En route, we also picked up Trevor outside Kirkham railway station. (Trevor went to Kirkham Grammar School, and he used to have to attend the school on Saturday mornings.)

Trevor, ca. 1968
 3. At some point, perhaps in the break between afternoon and evening meetings, I came across Ann Fenton in the crowd that was milling about in the foyer of the Free Trade Hall. I was pleased to see her; but the first words she spoke, after our initial surprised and smiling greeting of each other, were to ask in eager tones: “Hey, what’s all this I hear about you and Pete going with a married woman?”[more]

Ann in 1965. See: Johannine Writings XI.6; Holiday in Scarborough, Day One; Day Six; Day Seven; and Day Eight; Friday 7th January 1966; Friday 8th April 1966.
 I was embarrassed, and my initial pleasure at seeing her turned to regret that she had raised this point, or would be eager to raise this point. As far as I was concerned, I had repented and was ashamed of what I did. I probably said, “I’d rather not talk about it”, and left her as soon as possible.

 4. In all probability, as we headed for home that night, we would have stopped at the Lancastrian Supper Bar, a fish-and-chip shop just outside Manchester; that was where any coach trips from the Full Gospel Church, Fleetwood, to Manchester used to stop, for fish and chips on the way back.

 5. On the way back, I sat on the left side of the coach, half-way down or perhaps even further back; and on the right of the coach, but on the seat to the rear of mine — for I had to turn to see her — sat Audrey. She occupied the whole seat as she gave attention to the conversation, or whatever was going on; she had drawn her knees up onto the seat, her left arm was on the seat’s back rest, and her other arm on that of the seat in front. And to my eyes she looked very attractive in the light blue, somewhat Grecian styled dress that she was wearing.

A doodle that turned into my impression of Audrey "in the light blue, somewhat Grecian styled dress"
 6. Audrey was a pretty girl; and although she was only thirteen — I was fifteen at this time — she already had a nice figure. At this time she had never been out with a boy; in fact, she had never been kissed by a boy.

T. L. Osborn

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