Sport and many other activities as previously stated almost completely dominated my leisure time in the early 1970s; I did boys things and played every sport that was popular at the time. My friends and I were always focused on winning and nothing else really mattered (well not in my case because I couldn’t care less if we won or not), we skated on the Brickies when it froze over one winter, played hide and seek, rode our bikes and numerous other activities that were common to the 1970s boy.
But things were about to change, because we discovered something that we never really thought existed outside of our own homes. Something so strange, so unusual and so mysterious that they filled most boys with dread (well they did me). They were even a little scary and they also seemed to cry a lot. This strange new phenomenon were called Girls. Now to us boys, girls were a new idea, a bit like Crazy foam or The Bay City Rollers, they were creatures that went to school during the week, stayed at home at the weekend and played with dolls. They were however, occasionally allowed out to go to town with their mums because I’d seen them there, but they were never, under any circumstances, permitted to go out in pairs or groups on their own and hang around with boys because girls just didn’t do that sort of thing, well certainly not in Fearnhead. In fact, I don’t think any of my friends had even spoken to one, I know I hadn’t.
But all this was about to change, for in the summer of 1973 two of these unusual creatures managed to escape from there homes and began to watch me and my friends play football on Monk’s playing fields. Where were they from? Who were they? How did they get here? What did they want? Questions that would become apparent in the ensuing days and weeks.
I first noticed these strange creatures when they began to sit at the back of the goalposts and watch my friends and I play football. There were two of them. They would be there every time we were out but they would never speak. After about three or four days I noticed that one of these girls was quite pretty and had a lovely smile. Her face would light up when she cast her eyes upon me and I began to feel quite strange. My behaviour changed too, I actually became quite competitive when playing football and even tried to score goals instead of acting daft. When they were there I became giddy and began to show off. Nobody else seemed to notice the girls except me and my friend Chris Harrison, he too could see them. I was convinced that they were only visible to Chris and me because everybody else seemed unaware of their presence and acted as if nobody was there.
About a week later a letter arrived at my home. I had no idea who it could be from. I began to open it feeling quite excited because nobody had ever sent me a letter before. I removed the letter from the envelope and began to slowly read it, I read slowly in those days. I soon became aware that this correspondence was a love letter and it was from a girl (I had a lot of male admirers at the time too!). I no longer have the letter and can only remember little parts of the narrative but I remember such phrases as, we swoon every time we see you, and it ended, Yours hopefully Gabs and Spix.
Well I thought what a to do, but soon realised that Gabs and Spix must be the two girls who sit behind the goalposts watching us play football. The letter was addressed to Chris and me so I went to Chris’s house, he would know what to do because he was older than me. Chris lived on the same road, and I went round and showed him the letter. I asked him what he thought and what were we to do. Chris was in no doubt, we were to speak to them the next time we were out. This idea filled me with dread, not because I didn’t like them because I did especially the pretty one with the nice smile, but because I was chronically shy of girls and didn’t know what to say to them.
Unknown to me at the time the pretty girl was about to become my first ever girlfriend.