My Three Good Friends:
Christine Margaret and Wendy
I thought I could always
remember this, but over time the scenario has become blurred. The picture of my
friend Christine, holding her grandchild in her arms, triggered me into
reminiscing about a time when I went out with my three school friends to the theatre and cinema after leaving George Gascoigne School. Instead of leaving school at fifteen, we did the extended course, studying for our GCEs and were in Mr Foster's class, class 5X during 1960 and 1961. Mr Foster was an excellent English teacher.
I am trying to remember what we told each other, what plays we saw and 1961and
whether we had any refreshments during the intervals. I remember ‘Billy Liar’
was the name of one play we went to and another was called ‘British Rubbish’. I
believe it was this second play that had
no proper scenery, only a union Jack pinned to the bricked back wall and
rubbish strewn over the stage. I think that ‘Billy liar’ had only two main
characters, staring Julie Walters, and British Rubbish only one. But were the two plays in the same theatre?
My vision is blurred. Oreford road comes to my mind, there was little theatre
there. There was another in Ilford.
I believe we got the red double
decker bus at the top of Queen’s Road. I can still hear the clank of the
ticket collecting machine and the bus conductor shouting ‘Tickets please’ as he
moved up the bus gangway, a[[earing road in his black officer style uniform.
I, stick insect slim with my dark hair in a bouffant style, dressed in a
sixties A-line outfit, and Christine with her enviable thick black natural
curls. Margaret had long reddish blond hair pushed off her forehead. Wendy had short neat mid-blond hair and light
Because we stayed
on at school we were able to get good jobs. Christine went into insurance. Wendy and
Margaret worked in a bank. I think I must have been working as Miss Hardie’s
assistant in Ticko-press Ltd, at the Old Bailey buildings in Ludgate Circus, City of London. I can vaguely
remember the sandwich bar opposite the court house, where I used to buy my lunch with my fifteen bob, 75p, Luncheon Vouchers.
sorry for Christine, because she wanted to be a school teacher, but had to take
any job and then leave to look after her ailing mother.
I did not see much of Wendy and Margaret after
I moved to Woodford. But Christine I did, because she moved near me.
I am now
trying to remember the films we went to see. One was called ‘Move Over
Darling’, staring James Garner and Doris Day. I can still ‘see’ their car
attached to a crane, flying over the roof of their house, ending up in their
swimming pool, while they watched aghast from their bedroom window. Then, I think, the
film credits started to roll to the ‘Move Over Darling’ tune, sung by Doris Day, signalling Fine.
These types of films were shown at the Granada Cinema which had a renowned theatrical
organ. This cinema
had Saturday morning pictures for children, and I remember singing to words of
songs showing on the screen while the organ, with organist playing, rose up
from a well in front of us...
Tears blurring my eyes, I put the picture of
Christine and her grandchild back on the mantelpiece with Margaret's and her family, longing to have my youth
back, walking again with my three friends. We were as innocent as doves. We all
married. Christine, Wendy and Margaret are now grandmothers. Might even be
Great grannies! 52
Summer 1961 class 5X
Front Row - L to R Mickey Stone, George White, ?.
Second Row – L to R Jimmy Dixon
(Headmaster) Lynn Jennings, Diane Smith, Alan Foster (Form Teacher), Christine
Wescott, Kate Rainbow, Janet Cattier.
Third Row – L to R Bob Richards, ? , Bob
Manning, Brian Lewin , ? , ? , ? , Pamela Burder, Wendy Rook (pink blouse), Christine
Shearing, Angus Hurst, Margaret Bud, Norman Turner.
Back Row – L to R. Garry Grimley, David
Evans, Doug Shannon, Ray Lomas, Ken Couldry, Leslie Wise, Michael Wiseman.
Thank you, Roger, for sending me this delightful photograph of our class, taken during the summer of 1961: I have fond memories of this class and my schooldays.