Maureen (pictured above) was a colleague of Chris Woodhead at Tradax, Hull, and Margaret was a colleague of his fiancée Pamela at Provincial Insurance, Hull, ca. 1971.
On 18 May 1971 Chris wrote to me:
…A bit of sad news: My young girlie in the office, Maureen, who you spoke to on the phone is off work quite poorly. She went on some coach outing at the weekend with a youth club and collapsed. Apparently, it’s all tied up with some throat trouble. She went into hospital a bit back with tonsilitis and was there three weeks yet they didn’t take them out. She’s now got a repetition of it, only worse, and she can’t speak or swallow very easily. It must be a bit rough for her as she spends half her life chattering. Such a sweet little girl, as well. She seems to have taken an interest in you too, by the way, since your brief conversation. She asked me several times if you were likely to come to Hull. Why don’t you send her a “get well” card with a letter inside? That’ll give her a surprise. Her name and address is: Maureen Hume, 8 The Beeches, Goddard Avenue, Hull. You don’t have to, but it’s only a thought. Perhaps I’m trying to be too much of a cupid.…When Chris and Pamela returned to Hull from visiting me in Thornton, on bank holiday Monday, 31 May 1971, I decided to return with them. The entry in The Cooper Diaries, which I scribbled at work on toilet paper (each section of which had “GOVERNMENT PROPERTY” printed on it!), is characteristically brief at this point:
Before we set out, there was a phone call to Margaret Lindow, who worked with Pamela at Provincial Insurance in Hull. Who phoned her, I can’t remember, but she was fixed up as my date for that evening. She did have a boyfriend, but agreed to see me. We got the bus to Blackpool, and according to The Cooper Diaries walked to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. (This seems to me to be an inordinately long way to walk, so perhaps some information is missing.) I (or we) went on the Grand National ride there (which would have been reminiscent to me of going out with Gillian). From there we walked to the Coliseum coach station and boarded the Hull bus. My memory gets vague then. We met Margaret, who was small of stature, perhaps five-foot tall, had waist-length blonde hair, wore a microscopically short dress, and was as pretty as a beauty queen, with full, pouting lips. We went to the Berni Steak House, the one on Anlaby Road, not the other one in Jameson Street.
I saw Margaret briefly the next morning, and had a goodbye kiss. Where exactly this took place is not clear, for the text of The Cooper Diaries implies that it happened before I reached Pam’s office. Then I went off to Chris’s office and met Maureen. She was tall, with shoulder length, thick, curly dark hair, and had a full figure. But she didn’t appeal to me as much as Margaret. We all had lunch together, and then I got the train home. Margaret wrote me a friendly, chatty little letter, received on Friday 4 June 1971, which I still have, but which isn’t worth reproducing here. She reported that she was leaving Provincial Insurance, and in fact went to work for a guy who looked like Clark Gable.
Chris wrote to me on Saturday 5 June 1971:
…Hope you had a reasonable journey home on Tuesday. That train looked a bit full! It was good, you being able to come back to Hull with us. Shame that you couldn’t stop a bit longer. Well, you certainly seem to have made a good impression during your flying visit. Maureen was quite struck on you and kept asking me about you all Tuesday afternoon. It seems that Margaret was quite taken by you too — which will be of greater interest to you. Did you receive a letter from her, by the way? She said that she’d written to you and asked Pamela your address. Hope it was a promising letter, anyway.He wrote to me on Saturday 7 August 1971:
…By the way, friend Margaret’s twenty-one in September and she’s having a beach party at Tunstall (near Withernsea) on the 4th September. Don’t know if it’ll be any good but we went to one there last year and it was OK. It’s an ideal spot, really; and they built a big fire, in which it was attempted to bake spuds. Anyway, you’ve been cordially invited. Don’t know if you could make it, as it’s rather near the holiday, but the invite’s there if you did want to come.The “holiday” that Chris referred to was our forthcoming trip to Austria.
In another letter dated 25 August 1971, he said:
…Regards your forthcoming visit a week on Friday: Margaret (the delectable) is having her party on Friday night instead of Saturday night, so if you come on Friday afternoon it’ll make little difference. We can go out somewhere else on Saturday…And there was a third letter on 31 August 1971, with arrangements for going over there, and adding:
…Also, she has got a bloke, so [I] don’t know what the “getting off” chances are. Probably there’ll be chances for some flirtation, even if not prolonged. Still, you’ll soon find out, and there will be other girls there, I suppose. There was such a good supply at the last one but it wasn’t bad.I think there must have been a slip of the pen, and that Chris intended to say, “There wasn’t such a good supply…”
On Friday 3 September 1971 I went over for the party. Not only had the date been changed, the venue had as well. By this time entries in The Cooper Diaries were getting longer:
What a fantastic weekend! I shall now recount it.The village hall was a one-storey affair of modern construction. Also present was Carol Hopkinson, a colleague of Pam and of Margaret. I had heard tell of her from Chris and Pam.
I met for the first time plump Carol Hopkinson, [the one] with the voice! She and Marg[are]t went away, so Chris and I walked down to the church to meet Maureen, [who] works at Chris’s [office] (I met her at lunch last June; [she is] rather nice-looking), [her friend] Maureen, [who is] not s[o] nice, [and] Pam. [They had arrived] in [a] car.Presumably, this was a rendezvous that had been pre-arranged.
[There were] not many at [the] party at first, but soon things began to warm up. What a fantastically enjoyable party that was! There was dancing to the music, and after a bit Margaret, looking nice in a long blue dress, asked me to dance, which I, with hesitation at first, did.Saturday 4 September 1971:
Aft[ernoon]… At “Station” I telephoned Pam, to see if Margaret had telephoned; she hadn’t. I was v[ery] nervous now: should I in fact ring Margaret and ask her out? I didn’t want to put her off me by annoying her unwantedly. Anyway, impulsively I dialled her, and asked her if she was going fishing. She said not, so I asked if she was doing anything, and would she like to come out with me. And so it was arranged — so easy! Oh boy, I nearly died with excitement: Margaret was coming out with me! Wow!Pamela’s Mum ran a shop in Spring Bank, Hull, and also had a semi-detached house elsewhere.
I stayed [at Chris’s flat] and got ready, notwithstanding this mishap, to go out. At around 8 [p.m.] — Chris having been gone quite a long time — I phoned Margaret again with an “interim report”. Back at the flat, some min[ute]s later, I heard the doorbell ring. [With] heart missing a beat — “Is Pam with him?” — I nervously went downstairs. Seeing only one figure, I felt somewhat dismayed, because I did so want to see Margaret. What a pleasant surprise, therefore, on opening the door, and seeing Pam there behind Chris! I was overjoyed, and my joy was full as we all went upstairs… So we went to “Station”, and I phoned Margaret to tell her we were coming.Chris wrote to me on Monday 6 September 1971:
…Glad that you enjoyed the weekend and that you were able to come. It was pretty good, wasn’t it? At work this morning Maureen was full of apologies for allowing herself to be ushered off by “those creeps” (as she referred to them) on Friday night. She said they [i.e. Maureen and Maureen] were rather worried about getting a lift back but she was hoping that you’d go over and drag them away from them or something, and offer alternative means. Anyhow, [it was] just one of those things, I suppose. Glad that you were rewarded better on Saturday night…I still did not have a suitable substitute for Gillian on the Austria trip. Chris wrote on 5 June 1971:
It’s a shame you couldn’t persuade Margaret to come with us. [I] think she’s already booked to go away somewhere anyway. Still, it might be worth a try…And again on 18 June 1971:
Have you had a reply from Margaret yet? She said she was going to write back to you but was a bit tied up that last week. She was saying something about coming over to Blackpool to see you sometime on your invitation. She was dead keen about it and wanted me and Pam to come along with her… By the way, she wouldn’t be able to come to Austria with us anyway as she’s booked up to go to Spain…The proposed visit of Margaret to Blackpool never took place.
Saturday 11 September 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
…Aft[ernoon: I went] down Beechwood [Drive, to the shops,] to send a spray of flowers to dear Margaret [with the message:] “Sincere regrets that you couldn’t come along.”—i.e., with me on the holiday to Austria, from 13 September 1971 for perhaps 10 or 11 days.
Coincidentally, Maureen Hume and her friend Maureen went on holiday to Austria at about the same time as we did, to a nearby location, and Chris and I met up with them one day. I remember, we were walking along the path which led from the village of Untermieming, down the steep, wooded side of the valley of the River Inn. We were all in fairly high spirits. Maureen and I had just separated ourselves from the other two, but when I leaned forward to kiss her, suddenly a gust of wind blew a lock of her abundant hair between our mouths. This made us giggle, and for some reason the kissing wasn’t resumed.
My conscience bothered me about establishing or maintaining relationships with unbelievers; this is referred to in Johannine Writings XXVII:6.
Thursday 7 October 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
…Walking home, I prayed, confessing my sin. Since I decided to see Margaret [that] last [time], I’ve been in sp[iritual] declension: not praying, not having true fellowship at church, not “walking in [the] light”, not reading [the] Bible.… So I repented, saying I’d give her up, i.e. not see her again, if [that was] God’s will. [I] also prayed for [the] strength to carry this out.Friday 8 October 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
Immediately, my flesh revolted at the decision I made last night: how can I not see her again? How can I keep this up? Anyway, [I] prayed for strength…Sunday 10 October 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
…I think if no letter comes from Margaret, I’ll invite Maureen over in her place, and leave word that Margaret was too late; she should have written sooner…Letter from Chris, Sunday 17 October 1971:
…By the way, I don’t know how things stand between Maureen and her “would-be” lover from London. He persistently kept ringing last week until he got to speak to her and made up some story about having to come north on business. I say “some story” because that’s obviously what it was and was just an excuse to visit Hull… Anyhow, he was supposed to be coming this weekend, if he turned up. I’ll know at work tomorrow the gory details. She said she didn’t know what to do but would play it by ear… I told her that you would naturally require some considerable reward if needed to get rid of this character, and she seemed to have no hesitations about that, and [she’s] quite interested in making a trip to Blackpool if you’d like to invite her. So, like I said, if you don’t get any further response from Margaret and would still like a foothold in Hull for your convenience, [I] think you’ll do all right with Maureen as she’s obviously quite taken by you.Tuesday 16 November 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
[I am] longing for this weekend. Maureen had said yesterday on [the] phone [that] she’d come out with me. The hours can’t pass fast enough…On Friday 19 November 1971 my colleague Steve from the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS), Norcross, and I travelled over to Hull.
The Cooper Diaries:
What a slow morning this has been! But eventually it passed, and Steve and I were on the train [to] M[an]c[hester. From there we caught the] train [to] Hull [and] went to [the station] buffet, where Chris arr[ived]. “I’ve arranged for you to meet Maureen at 8.30 p.m.,” [he said to me,] but — bad news — Ann whom Steve was to go with hadn’t reported for work that morning, and wouldn’t be coming. Also, she couldn’t come out [on] Saturday.Saturday 20 November 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
[We got] up quite late [and went to the] Tradax office, where we had coffee (Chris had no sugar at home). [We] decided [to] send [a] Telex [to] DHSS Norcross.—as follows:
DHSS NORCROSSWe couldn’t get the machine to finish transmitting, and must have pressed the wrong keys, because it then printed:
TRAXENG HULLThe Cooper Diaries continue:
[We] couldn’t operate it [so I] rang Maureen to find out how; also to arrange times [to meet] for tonight.There was no phone in Chris’s flat and they went out to find a public telephone. Where was Pamela at this stage? Maureen—
…[was] v[ery] tired, and dozed in my arms when I sat on her chair. I rode [with her] in [the] taxi. [When she got out, there were] no thanks from her. [So] when [I was] back at [the] flat I was depressed and upset. So though [it was] a good evening, [it did] not [have] a good end. I decided that since I wanted to win her for Christ, I would ring her up tomorrow, to invite her to church. I thought maybe she wasn’t keen on me, so would my ringing her up put her off me completely? I decided I would risk this and the consequent upset and disappointment, and ring her up anyway, to do my duty to Christ. It was suggested to me that she liked me but was v[ery] tired.Sunday 21 November 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
The last two nights have been v[ery] cold in bed. Last night [was] not quite as bad as the one before. We missed church, morn[ing]; [we were still] in bed. Pam cooked dinner.Monday 22 November 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
Chris went to work about half[-past] nine and I got into his bed [which was more comfortable than the Li-lo inflatable bed I had been lying on]. We got up [at] one-ish, and met him in Town. After a pint we went to [a] Chinese Restaurant [for] dinner. I had just missed seeing Maureen. After saying goodbye to Chris [we went to the] station, [and got the necessary] trains [back] home…Wednesday 24 November 1971 (The Cooper Diaries):
[At] work [I] composed poetic lines about Maureen…These are now lost; they started off: “I met a maid in Kingston’s city cold, in truth as fair in form as any other maid I’d met, with flowing locks and…” other physical attributes which I have now forgotten.
I did have plans to meet Maureen again early in 1972, but they fell through, and I did not meet her again till the wedding of Chris and Pamela on Saturday 23 September 1972. That was my final meeting with her.
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