John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Lynda Consadine

Early Days

My first crush[1]
 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]
[1] See Crushes.

Lynda Consadine
 2. The second crush that I can remember was two years later, and its object was Lynda Consadine. She was in Peter Gooding’s class—3C, I think. Apart from some acne and marks of old acne on her cheeks, she was pretty, with shortish, dark brown, straight hair. (A touch of decay in her top front teeth was another slight blemish, disclosed during occasional, somewhat coy smiles.) She was fairly short of stature; and was well-rounded, but not quite what I would call plump. She lived in Fleetwood on the Chatsworth estate, a large estate of borough council-provided housing that was considered “rough” by many people; but she was not like those people’s stereotype of a council-house dweller—loud, common—rather, she was quietly spoken; and she seemed to avert her blue eyes, she only gave occasional eye contact. Her name struck me as exotic—“Lynda Consadine”—adding to my attraction to her, and her features with their slightly—what?—Mediterranean? cast, added to her noticeability. What is more, her school uniform was slightly different from the others’: the blouse was light blue just the same, but the bodice (noticeable also because of her advanced physical development) had stitching round it; the skirt was the same darker shade of blue, but was more plain than the others’ pleated skirts.

The run-up to the Christmas party, 1963
 3. Again, as in the case of Lynn Johnson, it was during the run-up to the Christmas party that my crush on Lynda Consadine developed, and I kept going to her for dances. I can’t remember if she came up to me every time in the occasional “ladies’ choice”, but I do remember her coming to me.

 4. As a treat, we might be allowed the occasional pop song to be put on the record player, instead of the dance band, or Jimmy Shand, or whatever was played to accompany the old-fashioned dances; and a group of girls—none of the boys ventured to do this—including Lynda Consadine, would stand doing The Jerk: twitching their right leg in time to the music, and extending first one arm then the other, crossing one forearm over then the other. It is in this context that I first remember hearing The BeatlesI Want to Hold Your Hand, and that is why the song always reminds me of her. It also serves to fix the date of the Lynda Consadine era, for it hit the charts on 5th December 1963.

Gooding and I talk about Lynda Consadine


Slides from a PowerPoint presentation, showing School Road
 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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