John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Friday 28th July 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. I wrote this note in the space for NOTES: JULY 1967:

July 28 — Audrey
and I finished with
each other. Talked it
out — we’re unhappy
with each other.

The Johannine Writings, as one would expect, have a bit more to say (XXV.16–23):
16.The next evening, I went again to Audrey’s house.
17.I had on my hands some ointment which the doctor had prescribed, which gave off the odour of naphthalene.[1]
18.But when I invited Audrey to smell it, she would have none of it, but said, “John, do you want to go out with me?”
19.And my heart started to beat hard within me, till I felt out of breath.
20.And I answered her, “Yes.”
21.So my shattered heart smote hard, my heart dissolved and pangs seized upon me.
22.And she expounded to me the intents and thoughts of her heart; and I knew that our courtship was ended.
23.And I left that place in sorrow and bewilderment, my hopes perished.

[1] I suffered from time to time with outbreaks of dermatitis on my hands. I would get a prescription from the doctor (and depending on whether I saw Dr. Wylie or Dr. Glover I would be told, “Och, you’re coming into contact with something here!” or “It’s a nervous rash”). This time I was given a different cream to “apply to the affected area”; it smelled like mothballs.
In the evening I got the bus to Fleetwood, and when I was inside Audrey’s house, I presented my hands to Audrey for her to have a smell; I had on them the new cream that smelled of mothballs or naphthalene. But she showed no interest; her thoughts were on what she was about to say.
“John,” she said firmly. “Do you really want to go out with me?”
My heart started pounding very hard, and it was all I could manage at the moment to utter the single word “Yes”.
That was all that either of us could say about the matter at that moment. What the Johannine Writings are silent about, is that Elsie Wrigglesworth had been invited to the Woods’. And at that moment she arrived.[2]

[2] Or else, she was in the living room and it would be improper to stand talking in the kitchen.

Elsie Wrigglesworth, holding a map of Africa. She spent more than 30 years in India and after her return spent only three years back home before taking up a new post as governess to the children of the Royal Family in Ethiopia.

Needless to say, I had the greatest difficulty concentrating on what Elsie had to say, though what she said would otherwise have been enthralling. Naturally, bearing in mind the previous evening’s happenings, Elsie’s subject was demon-possession and exorcism. Elsie told about instances of this during her work in India; for example, she had once cast out one by one about twenty spirits from a woman, each one of which had the name of a particular animal.[3]
“And what’s your name?”
“Then in the name of Jesus, I command you to come out of her!”

[3] Or, thinking again, perhaps this should read, “…each one of which had its own particular name.” But maybe first thoughts and first memories are right, and they did have animal names.
[4] The actual wording here may be influenced by Acts 16:16, where “possessed with a spirit of divination” reads literally in the Greek “possessed by a spirit, a Python.”

The visit of Elsie seemed to go on for ever, as I sat there feeling like something was gnawing at my stomach lining, because of my anxiety about Audrey’s words to me.
I forget how long Elsie was there, but eventually I was again facing Audrey alone; and the conversation was resumed.
Although the Johannine Writings make out that I was instantly heartbroken and in abject sorrow, the diary entry is nearer the truth, that we talked it out and reached an agreement to part. Despite an initial reluctance on my part, we agreed that it was for the best; we were only making each other unhappy continuing to go out together. So, smiling sadly to each other, we walked for the last time to the bus stop, and had a final fond embrace and kiss; then the bus came, and it was over.
Although I felt lost and lonely, I comforted myself with the memory that I had got over Pam within a week of her finishing with me.[more] “Why should it be any different with Audrey?” I thought. How wrong I was!
That night, I decided to turn back to the Lord. As the Johannine Writings say (XXV.24, 25):
24.And I was sorry that I had gone my own way and had not practised uprightness, setting my face to go in the way that the Lord willed, and being diligent thereto, stirring up the gift within me and rejoicing in the Lord.
25.And I prayed to the Lord and made confession, confessing my sins and the multitude of my backslidings.

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