John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Doreen Tewson

Early Days
***Mild sexual content!***

 1. Doreen Tewson, like Gillian, was another example of extreme indifference or passivity. I was told she wanted to go out with me, but when I kissed her she didn’t seem to care whether I did or I didn’t.
 My memories of the first encounter with her in late 1964 are almost non-existent, and Chris’s are only very vague and fragmentary. I have a clearer recollection of her in early 1965.
 Doreen was friends with a girl called Vivien Sloan. Both were about a year older than I, because when I was at Church Road County Primary School, they were in the class above mine. When I went on to Fleetwood Grammar School, they had already started at Church Road Secondary Modern School, down the road from the Primary School. In fact, Doreen’s younger sister Dorothy was in my class for most of my time at the Primary School; she was considered to be a bit “backward”. Doreen also had an older sister, Margaret. Doreen was acceptable-looking, but had a worried look around the eyes, rather like puffins have. Or like Victor Mature had.
 Blonde-haired Vivien Sloan was known by the nickname Sluggy—not exactly the most endearing term! They lived in or near Rossendale Avenue North, Thornton, bordering on the council-house estate of Bancroft Street, Knowsley Crescent and part of Devonshire Avenue, an area which I considered to be a bit “rough”.

(1960’s aerial photo taken from Lancashire County Council Maps and Related Information Online)

I guess that the apostrophe in King George’s Playing Fields ought to be shifted to the other side of the “s”, because there was a King George V field and a King George VI field, i.e. two King Georges (or would that be Kings George?). The two fields were divided by a stream, which can be seen on this photo flowing through Marsh Farm, and onwards beside Woodland Avenue. Access from one field to another was provided by a flat wooden footbridge.

“1”, “2” and “3” indicate the bus shelters that were at Four Lane Ends. “1”, of wooden construction, is shown in the photo below; “2” was similar to it; but “3”, to the north of the Library and Lecture Hall (“L&LH”) was constructed of brick, with a concrete lintel over the opening, and with a gents’ public convenience on its north side and a ladies’ on the south. In late 1964 there was a car park
[parking lot] behind “L&LH” and “3”.

 2. The tendency, in late 1964, was to get off with girls that we didn’t previously know (on the rare occasions that we achieved it); but in the case of Vivien Sloan, Chris already knew who she was—and fancied her. He had seen her, for example, at Thornton Gala
[1] the previous June. So he knew her by sight and in name, but she was never within a group of friends that he was with. He never came upon her in a position where he found her approachable; she was always with, perhaps, some other people, whom he wouldn’t want to interrupt or get involved with.
 So how did it come about, one dark night, that a group of girls at Four Lane Ends, including Vivien Sloan and Doreen Tewson, called Chris over to them, while we were hanging around the bus shelter just beyond Thornton Library and Lecture Hall, on Fleetwood Road? (As stated in Towards the first kiss: The Happy Land, “We… used to… hang around in the bus shelters at Four Lane Ends, in the usually vain hope that some suitable young ladies would pass us.”)
[1] Thornton Gala: An annual celebration, which included: sporting and other competitive activities on King George VI field; a procession through the streets; the culmination of the procession, the crowning of the Rose Queen, a girl in her early teens, on King George VI field; and, the only thing of interest to us, a funfair on King George V field.
 3. Chris remembers being on the car park [parking lot], at the back of the Lecture Hall and of the bus shelter, with Sloan. A lorry [truck] had parked there, and he was behind this lorry, necking with her.
 But it seemed to be a condition of his continuing to go out with her that I go out with her friend Doreen. So I did get off with Doreen at this point. I didn’t actively fancy her, but I don’t think that was what ruled out my seeing her again for Chris’s sake: it was just that she was so completely unresponsive when I kissed her, and seemingly indifferent about seeing me again.

 4. This was the occasion when I was in an embrace with Doreen, and suddenly she jumped back. And Sloan turned on me, challenging me: “You can’t push a girl away when you’re necking with her!” I protested, “I didn’t push her away, I didn’t push her away! She moved back.”

 5. Another time, Chris and I were heading, perhaps from Burn Naze along Heys Street, nearing its junction with Trunnah Road, and Doreen and Sloan, perhaps with others, appeared and chased us down Trunnah Road. And again, when Chris was in that vicinity—he was doing a paper round there, relieving for somebody—he saw them again, and they shouted at him.

 6. In early 1965, Doreen Tewson called at my house to see me a number of times. How this came about, I don’t remember. With her was a girl to whom, in conversation with Chris in 1990, I referred, uncharitably, as “her ugly little friend.”
 Chris recalled, “Yes, I remember this. I remember being there once when she came.”

 7. On one such visit—Chris wasn’t there on this occasion—in the front room, Doreen was sitting to my left on the settee. She was quite nicely put together, was Doreen: she was slim of figure; and on this occasion she was looking quite attractive, in a tight
T-shirt with white and dark blue horizontal stripes. But she was being her usual passionless self. And I was sitting there, sitting there, SITTING THERE, wondering what to do or say next; and my right hand wandered over to her left breast. And I was impressed by how firm the neat, round little breast was. And for the first time, my fingers detected the presence of a nipple, and they lingered there and stroked it. This was tolerated for a second or two, then she told me to stop.

 8. As we were walking down Fleetwood Road later, she told her ugly friend, “We’re two little virgins, aren’t we,” (whatever her name was,) “and we’re going to stay that way.” She went on to comment that boys were “dirty”, or that all they wanted was to do dirty things. I wondered whether my performance that afternoon put me in the “dirty” category, and I began to feel ashamed, because this was after my Christian conversion recorded in 1965, the year that changed my life.

From: Chris Woodhead
Sent: 16 November 2009 15:20
To: John E Cooper

I enjoyed reading your new blogs, by the way, especially the one about Brian Collinge. Also the one entitled "Doreen Tewson" was very interesting to read. I must admit, I'd clean forgotten about her and Vivian Sloane! As I read it, however, it all came flooding back to me!
According to what I've found on Friends Reunited and Facebook, "Vivian Sloane" should be spelt Vivien Sloan. I have changed the spelling in the story, above.
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