John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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I meet Peter Gooding

Early Days
Autumn Term, 1962
 1. At Fleetwood Grammar School David Jones and I stayed for school dinners, as also did Peter Gooding. One lunch-time in our second year at the school—this was probably shortly after the start of the Autumn Term in September 1962—I saw Jones and Gooding playing a chasing-and-catching game near the school kitchen and canteen. I approached them and asked Jones if I could join in; and I was accepted without much fuss.

 2. In this lunch-time game, I learned, Jones was a sadistic monster, whose object in life was to chase Gooding around on the concrete-paved area just in front of the school kitchen. Jones was armed with his school cap, rolled up to be like a truncheon, which had the power to paralyse his victim when he was struck. The victim would then be dragged off to an area designated by Jones as “The Baconizer”, the purpose of which was to process the victim into a form suitable for Jones’s breakfast. No-one could escape beyond the concrete-paved area in the playground to the rest of the playground, which was tarred, because this was the “Tar Pit”, where it was impossible to go and survive. However, there was one place of refuge from the formidable foe, the swirling, paralysing cap-weapon and the Baconizer; this was the canopied doorway to the school kitchen: one could flee there when pursued, and activate “Jones Rays” across the entrance. These were lethal to Jones, and were thus an effective barrier against him. Unfortunately, Jones could also activate “Gooding Rays” across this entrance, thereby barring the entry of his potential bacon into the sanctuary.
 3. Time and again, Jones would be seen pacing about, snarling and growling like a hungry lion, while Gooding and I were safely protected by the “Jones Rays”. And when one of us was trounced by the cap-weapon, he would be seized by the collar in an iron grip and be forced on the end of a straight, rigid arm to go, “Grrrr! To the Baconizer!”—marched there by Jones’s bouncing, long-legged strides, while Jones chuckled and gurgled in glee.

 4. So Gooding and I got acquainted through this game. Now after school there were several buses taking pupils from Fleetwood to Thornton, where we lived, and beyond. Before meeting in the Baconizer game, Gooding and I would, as likely as not, catch different buses, but after meeting we started to get the same one; and shortly after this, I walked home with Gooding and saw the caravan
[trailer home] where he lived.[1] And so began a regular friendship between us two; and later, as far as we two were concerned, Jones was gradually excluded.
[1] See Limebrest Farm, Thornton Cleveleys.

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