John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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“Go home!”

Early Days

March 1964 or shortly afterwards
 1. Peter Gooding was in some ways strange in manner. He would sometimes forego the niceties of greeting and farewelling; for example, if we was at my house, and someone else came, he might not acknowledge his presence with so much as a nod. I discovered also that if I said to Peter, “Go home!”, he would immediately comply without a word, get up, and walk away.
 “No, no, I didn’t mean it!” I would say, and again without a word, he would turn back and sit down again, or resume what he had been doing.

Little Children

 2. When the single Little Children by Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas came out,[1] our Steve bought it. Peter Gooding liked it, and borrowed it. The next part of the story is a little bit made up, but may have gone like this: Later, Steve wanted the record back; I asked Peter to return it, and he said he would, “tomorrow”. But he didn’t appear. So next time I saw him, I asked him about it. He claimed that he had returned the record, but there was no-one in so he left it under the doormat. The front door of our house was behind a shallow, open, arched porch, and on the floor of the porch was a doormat made of coarse coconut-fibres. And there it was! Despite being in a paper sleeve, though, it was covered in grit and dust from the mat. The mat had been trodden on once or twice! Peter may have been there when he made the claim and I made the discovery. I wiped the record, perhaps with an “Emitex” cleaning-cloth that was advertised on the record-sleeve, but even so, to my ears it sounded a bit “scrawped”. So I told Peter that that was a stupid place to leave it, but he said something back to exonerate himself. Anyway, you perhaps know where this story is going: eventually I didn’t want to talk about it any more, and told him, “Go home!” and he did. This time I didn’t add, “No, no, I didn’t mean it!”
[1] It entered the UK singles chart on 27th March 1964.
 3. I can’t remember how friendship was restored and visits were resumed, but they were, some time afterwards.

Paper pies
 4. Peter was absent from my house for a few weeks, as well, after the following incident.
 My Mum and Dad would invite our elderly, portly, silver-haired, widowed, next-door neighbour Mrs. Webb round to our house regularly. At the time of A for Andromeda Mrs. Webb used to come to our house on Tuesday evenings; whether that was still her regular day, I don’t know. She would also be invited to family parties. Chris’s recollection of her is of port and chocolates; of my Mum asking her, “Do you want another glass of port, Mrs. Webb?”, and her replying, in her typically quiet voice, “Oh, yes,
PLEASE, Marjorie!” He would do an impression of her slurping the port in one hand, then reaching out the other hand for a handful of chocolates and stuffing them in her mouth.
 5. Peter was there on one occasion, and my Mum had baked some little minced-beef pies in a bun tin. I quite enjoyed these when she made them, but Peter later commented that he thought they tasted like paper. (The meat was somewhat dry and lacked juices or sauce, and was unseasoned apart perhaps from a little salt.)

A bun tin, just in case you call it something else on yon side of the pond! [muffin tin? muffin tray?]
 It was a mistake on my part to report Peter’s comment to my Mum, and an even bigger mistake to report to Peter that I had done so. Anyway, Peter didn’t dare show his face at my house for a number of weeks after that.

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