John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Possibly Sunday 14th May 1967 and Monday 15th May 1967


In the 1966 diary, after the seven-days-per-opening-plus-notes continuation for January 1967, there appeared sections entitled “NOTES” for the remaining months, two months to each page. A note scribbled vertically up the page for NOTES: APRIL 1967 and NOTES: MAY 1967 reads:

Audrey and I
nearly broke
up sometime in
these months. But
(almost) O.K. again.
This note was written soon after Audrey and I finally broke up on 28th July 1967. About the event the Johannine Writings have quite a lot to say (XXIV.1–8):
1.Some months after these events, Audrey told me one morning when I was with her near Broadwater in Fleetwood, that she would not go out with me any more because of how backslidden I had become.
2.Now I was on my way to the house of a girl called Jean Kirkham, in order to listen to a tape recording of a certain preacher.
3.After pleading with Audrey, as I thought without result, and saying that I would go and see Pastor, I went to Jean’s house with great sadness.
4.Why did Audrey threaten to finish with me at this time? First, it could be suggested truthfully that it was, as has been said before, due to my having left my great zeal and first love for the Lord. But although this was the underlying reason, there was a more immediate cause, namely that being hot I had walked out of church on Sunday evening (it was now Monday morning) and had left Audrey there, and had gone with Chris to his* house. *or, my
5.After I had been to Jean Kirkham’s house, I met Audrey again opposite the Queen’s Hotel. And she gladly accepted me, and I was pleasantly surprised by her assumption that our relationship was in good health again.
6.At the Woods’ house, I cried much, to the great surprise of Audrey, who exclaimed, “What are you crying for? What’s the matter? You know there’s nothing wrong to cry about.”
7.And when Audrey’s mother comforted me, I squeezed her hand very tight.
8.This now is the second breach, together with the second repair thereof.
Possibly Sunday 14th May 1967.
On Sunday evening, I had felt very hot at church, so I got up and left. Whether I was sitting next to Audrey or not, or whether she hadn’t arrived yet, I can’t remember. I have vague recollections of meeting Chris in the foyer, or “minor hall” as it was called, but I may have met him at his house. I think we spent the evening together at Chris’s house, but I am not sure of this; the Johannine Writings in their original form[1] are vague at this point, with their reference to “his house”. In the original, both Chris and I are referred to in the third person.

[1] In their original form: See Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious 3.2f(1).

Monday 15th May 1967.
The following morning I was off school. (It may have been the tail end of the Easter break, Easter being on March 26th that year; or it could have been Whit—Whit Sunday fell on 14th May. I’m plumping for the later date, 14th May) I was aware that folk were meeting at Jean Kirkham’s house, just down the road from the Queen’s Hotel, Fleetwood, this day, to hear a tape recording of a preacher who was highly rated by some of the newer converts in the church (among whom was Jean; they tended to follow Ian Makinson; I called them the “Chasidim”, Hebrew for “pious ones”. Presumably an open invitation had been extended for people to meet round at Jean’s house that morning.
 I had a meeting arranged with Audrey at Broadwater, and probably planned, as I travelled by bus there, that it might be a good idea to go along to Jean’s with Audrey. But Audrey was far from pleased to see me when we met. She took me to task about my previous night’s desertion of her; and went on to complain in general about my present spiritual state—“You are backslidden, John!”—how I’d changed from being keen to serve the Lord (“On fire for God”) and would no longer go out on the streets with tracts (“tracting”—called “tracking” by Fleetwoodites).
 Because of this, she couldn’t go out with me any more; my backsliding was bringing her down spiritually, too. Fighting for my life, so to speak, now, I asked if it would make any difference if I went to see Pastor. She was uncertain and would not commit herself. Then she had to go for some reason, so we arranged to meet for further negotiations outside the Queens at — when? — around noon perhaps. So we parted.
 I went off to Jean’s, not in the most pious or joyous state; in fact I was greatly saddened and was very anxious over this new crisis.
 But when I met Audrey as agreed, her attitude was completely changed: she was pleased to see me; there were no “negotiations” to be undergone; I was accepted as I was.
 “Don’t you want me to go and see Pastor?” I asked her.
 “Why?” she replied.
 So I let the subject rest there, much surprised but even more relieved. Presumably I had exhibited the due fruit of repentance at our earlier meeting.
 So we came to her house, a couple of blocks away from the Queens. There it was that a reaction set in, and I wept. Audrey was somewhat nonplussed at this, but did her best to reassure me, saying in a friendly way that I was silly to cry because I had nothing to worry about.

Johannine Writings XXV.2, 3:
2.And so I continued with Audrey for some months more, and though at diverse times things were uneasy, yet had I no idea that it was in her heart to finish with me, indeed had been since about Christmas.[2]
3.However, she had kept these things locked away in her heart, for fear that she would hurt me, or put me off following the Lord; thinking chiefly, I suspect, to avoid hurting me, and possibly wanting to avoid having to prepare her nerve for such an encounter.
[2] Yet had I no idea that it was in her heart to finish with me, indeed had been since about Christmas: When she finally did finish with me, one of the questions that burned in my heart was: How long have you been thinking of doing this?—implying: How long have things not been OK between us and I’ve not been aware? Certainly, when she went on holiday with her parents at the end of June, beginning of July, there were no such clues.

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