1965, the year that changed my life
Hazel and Pamela visit us
Sunday 16th May 1965
1. I believe that we missed the Sunday morning meeting at the Full Gospel Church, Lowther Road, Fleetwood. It’s possible, though, that I went and they didn’t.
2. In the afternoon, Chris, Peter and I took Hazel and Pam to Stanley Park in Blackpool.
This is a spacious place with conservatories, flower gardens, bowling greens, a café — and a large boating lake with islands and bridges where one can hire a rowing boat or a motor boat. We elected to go on a rowing boat. Chris rowed; I am not certain where Hazel and where Peter sat, but I remember that I sat on the stern seat with Pam to my left. And when I tentatively put my arm round Pam’s shoulders she did not object. I looked over to Chris, who was noting my action with interest, and grinned. Then a seagull shat on her. She started in horror, screaming, with all this greenish slime spattered down her front. The boat rocked furiously. She immediately and frantically set to, trying to wipe off what she could with a handkerchief. I probably helped her in her efforts to remove it from the short, white jacket she was wearing — being naturally and very tenderly concerned for her welfare; this is the sort of kind-hearted and considerate person that I am. Perish the thought that I might get some kind of cheap thrill from physical contact with her!
4. Afterwards, we all went to Chris’s house, into the front lounge. Pam sat on the settee, and Peter went and sat next to her, which as far as I was concerned was an unwelcome move. But my concealed indignation at that was matched by my pleasure when after some time Pam leaned over Peter and said to me quietly, “Can we go for a walk?” So we all left Chris’s house and strolled back to my place.
Where exactly the pairing off took place to the exclusion of Peter, I can’t remember; but I do remember walking with my arm round Pam into our drive, seeing Chris and Hazel ahead of us in a similar embrace disappear by the side of the house into the darkness away from the street lamps, and our following them there onto the back lawn where the kiss took place.
I seem to remember that it was a chilly night. Peter then was nowhere to be seen. Pam made a suggestion for a solution to the problem of Peter. “What about Elizabeth?” she said. Elizabeth was Hazel and Pam’s cousin, Pastor Barratt’s daughter. I thought not: she was only thirteen, and her puppy fat made her not quite fanciable. Peter later told me that he had followed us down the drive as far as the back garden, and had picked up a half-brick he found; but then he had thought, “Don’t be stupid!”, put it down, and cleared off home.
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