My first crush
1. Following the initial, pristine, bittersweet urges of adolescence, I first had a crush on Lynn Johnson, a freckled red-head. This was, I think, in the first year at Fleetwood Grammar School, 1961, towards Christmas-party time—thus we were having dancing lessons—and it was exclusively she whom I asked when we had to “take your partners for a” (whatever dance it was).[more]
5. I remember walking down School Road, Thornton, with Peter Gooding, and talking about Lynda Consadine. I can picture our precise location: School Road was lined with tall trees near its junction with Station Road, and the footpath ran under the trees, between them and the front gardens of the houses, on the right hand side as you faced Station Road. (This was before the professional vandals known as council planners decided in the 1970s that School Road needed to be widened and they destroyed the trees.)
I was yearning to have some chance with Lynda Consadine, and pressed Peter for anything he could tell me about her: Had she ever mentioned me? Did she, in fact, have a boyfriend?—and so on.
Peter touched upon these points for a while, sometimes sounding hopeful, sometimes not. Then he mentioned the rumour he’d heard: “Consads”, as he called her, was pregnant, and was looking for someone to blame as father. I considered that I was sexually mature enough to father a child on her, though just as in the case of Lynn Johnson, I had not spoken more than a couple of words to her, let alone—(you know what!). It would be an novel and unforeseen way of getting to go out with her, to place myself thus at her disposal!
In retrospect, I don’t think Peter had really heard such a rumour; he was just trying to “wind me up”: it was common knowledge that I fancied Lynda Consadine, and wanted me to believe that she would name me.
Friday 13th December 1963—“Are you booked?”
6. Then the evening of the Christmas party (or “soirée”) came, Friday 13th December 1963. And there she was, looking quite nice in a green, patterned dress—though I may have preferred her in the school blouse.
I wanted to dance with her, did so want to dance with her—a number of boys had already had that privilege—but she seemed preoccupied in some way. I needed to attract her attention, but all I could do was blurt out the question, “Are you booked?”
These words were the only ones that came to mind in the heat and nervousness of that moment. I don’t know whether she heard me, and said that she was about to dance with so-and-so, or whether her mind was still elsewhere and she gave me an inconsequential reply; but I seem to remember that I turned away, red with embarrassment, thinking that “Are you booked?” was totally the wrong expression to use, that I had been an utter fool to say words like these.
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