John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Peter arouses my interest in Audrey Wood

1965, the year that changed my life
Peter Gooding and I “nail our colours to the mast”

Peter and me in 1967
 1. One Sunday evening, after the meeting at church, Peter Gooding and I were together. He had been sitting silently for a while, when suddenly he said to me in a dreamy tone, “I’m in love.”
 “What’s her name?” I asked him, intrigued, but he wouldn’t say.
 “I’m not going to tell you,” was all he would say. “Remember what happened with Pam.”
 But I kept on at him for the name of this girl until eventually he answered me cryptically: “Milk-cart Forest”.
 I might have guessed what “Forest” was, if “Milk-cart” hadn’t thrown me off track completely. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it could signify.
 But it was only a step further anyway to persuade Peter to tell me plainly that the girl he meant was Audrey Wood.
 He thought the name Audrey sounded like “dray”. That was still lost on me because I didn’t know what a dray was, and certainly had never heard a milk-cart referred to as one. Peter said that that was what they called them where he came from.

A brewers' dray, a milk-cart, and (perhaps what Peter had in mind) an electric milk-float
 2. Well, I’d already seen this girl and thought she looked quite nice: slim and pretty, with long, brown hair with the ends turned under. She had the kind of long-haired attractiveness that, as far as Peter and I were concerned, made a girl “our type”. Audrey was rather quiet; she didn’t mix or speak much, or broadcast her presence.

Audrey — school photo, late 1966. Shortly after the event narrated here she had her hair bobbed, but by the end of 1966 the "long-haired attractiveness", "with the ends turned under", was restored.
 In fact, after the meeting at church that evening, she had been sitting near us at the forward part of the church, and I had noticed her. “Mm!” I had thought. “Quite nice!”
 Then I had happened to glance at her hands and noticed that she was a nail-biter. “Ah, maybe not!” I thought, even though I myself had the same habit.

 3. It was after this, possibly still at church, or maybe on the bus home, that Peter made his declaration. And that was when, despite my misgivings at Audrey’s biting her fingernails, the feelings started that would develop into a strong crush
[1] on the girl: I had already noticed that she was attractive; now Peter’s words confirmed that my attraction was “valid”.
[1] See Crushes.
The Free Trade Hall

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