John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sandra Mathys

—a girl on whom I had a crush, October–November 1971.

Sunday 31 Jan. 1971:
Gospel service: Several, about five or seven, professed Christ…
—i.e. responded to the after-sermon appeal for people to “give their hearts to the Lord”, including Sandra Mathys, probably, whom Peter Gooding brought; for compare 2 Feb. 1971.
Tuesday 2 Feb. 1971:
Bible Study:… Peter Gooding’s (female) friend…
—Sandra Mathys, probably—
…is nice-looking. She came and, I think, professed Christ on Sunday.
Sunday 7 Feb. 1971:
Gospel service: I was a steward. ?Sandra—a new convert; Peter Gooding brought her last Sunday—has been in every meeting (this is encouraging) and now this Sunday brought someone, ?her mother, with her. This is really good, really thrilling.
Sunday 9 May 1971:
[Gospel service:] After saying goodbye to Gillian, I found outside the chapel a girl Sandra had brought — quite pretty. I got talking to her (a knight in shining armour was I; she was on her own, I had to rescue her). I was pleased because I overcame shyness. “Is this your first time here?” (“Yes.”) “What did you think?” (“It’s different.”) Etc., etc. Peter Blundell joined in later.
Between this diary entry and the next, I stopped going out with Gillian.
Thursday 21 Oct. 1971:
I ended up wishing I had had a lift home off Sandra Mathys. In the prayer meeting tonight she came and sat with me. This made me feel rather nice! Afterwards she (in a friendly way) accused me of not taking part in the prayer meeting and of wishing it would finish. I challenged her to “justify your hypothesis”. This was quite an interesting conversation. She is quite pretty. She is attractive.
Thursday 28 Oct. 1971:
Prayer meeting: Unfortunately, Sandra, looking gorgeous in a white jumper and a long black skirt, didn’t sit with me. However, after the meeting I persuaded her to give me a lift as I was invited to James’s, and she did. (I learned then that she’s Canadian. Of course, that’s how come she has an accent!) At James’s, he showed us his automatic piano, stereo system, etc. When the others left, I stayed and conversed with James. Now with Steve when first converted, I got a funny feeling about him, which dispersed when some things he said re conversion “rang true” and I knew he was regenerate. Unfortunately, with James I don’t seem to get a “ringing true”—a strange feeling… A longish walk home in the early hours. I am enamoured of SANDRA MATHYS.
Friday 5 Nov. 1971:
At work Steve fired a dart he had made from a pin using for a pea-shooter the tube of a felt-tip pen. I exploded with rage and said, “You bastard!” We didn’t speak for the rest of that afternoon. But I hadn’t expected him to do that; however, I regretted my words.
Festival of Light: I asked him if he was going to the Festival of Light, and he said he wasn’t; so I got the bus to Fleetwood (to ensure that I got on the right bus provided by the church, the bus where the fun and singing would be). When the bus arrived in Manchester—after some enjoyment, singing and laughing—there was a meeting in a large field behind a church (“Platt Fields”). Thousands of young people were there. One speaker and Dora Bryan were weedy and weak, but Rev. Arthur Blessitt of the “Jesus Revolution” was on the ball: dynamic and full of zip. His message was very challenging—saying about going and preaching with dynamism the gospel; also, his own experience of doing this. I wish I were like that. He introduced our marching slogan:
   “Give us a ‘J’!” (Crowd: “‘J’!”)
   “Give us a ‘E’!” (Crowd: “‘E’!”)
   “Give us a ‘S’!” (Crowd: “‘S’!”)
   “Give us a ‘U’!” (Crowd: “‘U’!”)
   “Give us a ‘S’!” (Crowd: “‘S’!”)
   “What have we got?” (“JESUS!”)… etc.
The march was enjoyable. There were a few hecklers, socialists from Manchester University. We were afraid of sex and wanted to get them back to the Dark Ages, to bondage instead of their “liberty”, they said. At one point—we had wax torches—David Dewhurst set fire to a girl’s hair in front. What an offensive smell! In Albert Square all us thousands gathered to hear the petition to Parliament (etc.) read. It was marvellous: all these thousands of young people all united to demonstrate for JESUS. Afterwards, we went back to the coach.
At the start of the march I had looked for Sandra, but didn’t see her. I forgot about her in the interest of demonstrating for Jesus. Back at the coach, I saw her trot up holding James’s and somebody else’s hand. She came on the coach and she was all excited, and was quite amazed that I was wearing my green “13” tee-shirt as I promised her earlier in the week. She had to go (I wish she could have stayed); she was staying with someone in Manchester. When she’d gone, James told me that she had been asking for me in quite an interested way. James seemed to think that this boded good for me. Well, I felt quite proud.
In the absence of Sandra I sat with Jennifer and had a bit a flirtation. Janet must have been jealous, I think; she kept tickling and generally interfering with the fun… Quite enjoyable.

“I was wearing my green ‘13’ tee-shirt.” Photo taken on the Isle of Man, 1973

Jennifer, 1973

Janet, 1973
Sunday 7 Nov. 1971:
Gospel service: Before the service Sandra walked in. Maurice said to me, “She’s dropped her comb.” I picked it up, smiling visibly at this opportunity. After the service I, having just been offered a lift by Heather to David’s, said (nicely) that I might be able to get a lift with “someone else”, and walked over to Sandra. I hung around when she was in conversation with Pastor about some letter defending the Christian faith, then asked her if it was hers. I felt a bit silly; it was a man’s comb anyway. Anyway, when the subject of going to David Ratcliffe’s came up, she in response to my invitation said she’d come, so I had a lift in her car to David’s… I really wanted in fact to return with Sandra in her car, but I didn’t want to push myself on to her too far. So I let them decide who was to take me, “so that they wouldn’t be jealous” if I made the decision, I said. Unfortunately, Heather offered. Consolation: I sat in the front seat with her, with the usual comments about me and Heather from her sister Lindsey. Heather asked me if I wanted really to have a lift with Sandra, and to this and other questions re me with regard to her. I gave very vague and negative replies.
Thursday 11 Nov. 1971:
Prayer meeting: I arrived at church and sat on my own in the middle of a row, explaining to certain, e.g. Mrs. Wood, that it was in case any young lady might happen to come in and sit by me. To my great joy, this happened: Sandra Mathys came and sat by me. It wasn’t a prayer meeting; there was a missionary from nationalist China, with slides and talk. “I LOVE the Chinese PEOPLE!!” he kept saying. Afterwards I had a talk with Sandra, after which she invited me to meet her tomorrow night to go to a Springfield Methodist Bible meeting for young converts at someone’s house. Well, she made me ask her, and she accepted! This is all right, I thought. I’d been trying to get to her on several occasions, and I thought, “Aye, aye, nod’s as good as a wink: she’s reciprocating.”
We got her a lift home, squeezing in the back, James and I, in Dave’s van, via James’s house for a cup of tea.
Friday 12 Nov. 1971:
I walked down dark lanes to Sandra’s. She was outside, having just arrived by car. We walked past the “Squirrel”, but she didn’t know where this house was supposed to be. And since neither of us was willing to knock anywhere, we decided not to bother going. The question “What to do?” was therefore thrust upon me. “Social club!” So we had a walk there. The “Mustachios Banjo Band” were on. I paid for her. We met Mo and her bearded friend; we didn’t converse with them. I felt distinctly embarrassed since I didn’t know anyone there. So I phoned Steve. He was not in. Too bad, I thought, it would be all right if he were here. Not particularly enjoying the band, we left, and were going to Steve’s, but stopped off at our house and remained there a few hours. We had two cups of tea, and conversation in my room, about her living in CUBA among peasant villagers and in Switzerland. We told a few dirty jokes which made us feel rather disgusted with ourselves. Apart from this, I thought the conversation was interesting and very enjoyable. I like it when I meet somebody new, particularly Sandra who has seen so many interesting places.
Now to follow on from “But—” in Thursday’s entry. I thought I stood a reasonable chance re getting off with her. However, while out of the goodness of my heart I was walking her home, she did the lousiest, bitchiest thing I can imagine: she recounted to my face the times I had engineered situations to get us together, e.g. the comb incident which led to her and I going to David Ratcliffe’s; all the times it had happened that she’d been invited to James’s and had happened to sit by me. She asked me why this had happened. What a bitchy thing to do! Well, I put my arm round her, and asked her what her reaction would be if I did that. She said, “Nothing.”
Oh, when I left her at her gate, a mouthful of swear-words came to my lips, which I let out under my breath. The bitch! I thought. What decent, kind-hearted person would try to embarrass and belittle a person so! How frustrating, how humiliating! The embarrassment of it! What an abortive attempt! I reproached myself for trying that attempt to get off with her. When she started playing the bitch, I should have turned on my heels and gone home and left her. She is a bitch:
  1. She didn’t have to recount all those events, to my embarrassment;
  2. Surely, if she was clever enough to realise I was after something, she needn’t have asked me out, which gave me the incentive, the come-on, to try it. She should have been clever enough to see that I would attempt to get off with her.
Anyway, I went to Steve’s; my parents were in Sheffield this weekend so I was staying at Steve’s, whose Mum was also away. Steve was not in. I went to bed. Steve arrived much later; he had been drinking and had got quite tipsy at the “Social”.
Sunday 14 Nov. 1971:
Gospel Service: I was a bit put out because Sandra passed me without so much as a word.

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