John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Religious matters

Early Days

Early 1950’s
 1. I was christened on Sunday 30 July 1950[1] at St. Andrew’s Church, Ashton, Preston. The vicar there was a Mr. Lunt,[2] who had a son called Martin Lunt. The name Lunt has stuck in my mind because of its resemblance to the word “lump”: Martin Lump! (My Mum once had a round protuberance on her leg, which she called a “lump”. Whenever the name Lunt was mentioned, a picture of my Mum’s lump came to mind.)[3]

[1] I was christened on Sunday 30 July 1950: See I am christened.
[2] The vicar there was a Mr. Lunt: Compare I am christened, though, where the vicar is named on the baptismal certificate as J. Flitcroft.
[3] Lunt… lump: At least, my association was innocent. Nowadays, I might be tempted to think, “What a silly lunt!”

 2. The church is set back from Blackpool Road quite a way. I don’t think we attended there very often, because I only have one very vague memory of being inside the church.

 3. Steven said three prayers before he went to sleep, but in the beginning I was only taught two:

Prayer Number One:

God bless Daddy
God bless Mummy
—or was it the other way round?
God bless Steven
—Steven said “God bless John” here.
God bless Nanny and Grandad
—I can’t remember whether Nanny and Grandad appeared here, or before Steven, or even if they appeared at all in the prayer. For though I obviously have a vague recollection of their being mentioned, I can’t remember Nannies and Grandads Cooper and Paine being separately identified in the prayer, and since using no surname at all would imply the more frequently-seen Coopers, this seems unfair on the Paines.
God bless all the boys and girls
Make me a good boy
Prayer Number Two:
Lord, keep us safe this night
Secure us from all our fears
—I didn’t understand this line: why should “sick” be mentioned, and what had it to do with fears?
May angels guard us while we sleep
Till morning light appears
Prayer Number Three:
 6. Eventually I was taught the third prayer:
Our Father
Which art in heaven
—Why should a father be referred to as “which”? What has he to do with witches, anyway? Does “art” mean he is in heaven, or that he “aren’t”?
Hallowed be thy name
—Does this mean that you say “hallo” to his name?
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
In earth as it is in heaven
—“In heaven” sounded all right, but “in earth” was rather hard to picture.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive them that trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom
The power and the glory
For ever and ever
 7. All prayers terminated in “Amen”;[1] and when I asked what Amen meant, my Dad said “sobeeyit”, which made me none the wiser.
[1] All prayers terminated in “Amen”: Because of the obligatory nature of the terminal Amen, I find even today that if I pray and omit it, there is such a great tension builds up that I must give in and say it.

 8. Associated with God was a person called Jesus: and once, when our Steven and I were in our bedroom,[1] Steven was saying something about Jesus;[2] I can’t remember what, but it was probably along the lines that if you did something wrong, Jesus would see it and be cross with you. I didn’t want to accept this, and since I didn’t have any words to express contempt I made one up, and said:

“Jesus is kickle!”
At this, Steven said, in the sing-song way that children do, “Aaaah!”—and probably added that I’d go to hell for saying that, or worse, threatened to tell Mummy or Daddy what I’d said.
[1] When our Steven and I were in our bedroom: It seems that at the time of this memory, our Steve and I shared a room. Compare Memories from bed.
[2] Evidently the name of Jesus was known to me from an early age. Did I go to Sunday School at St. Andrew’s Church? Cf. Mothering Sunday, 1955. I have no memory of Sunday School, though, till after we moved to Thornton; see Sunday School.

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