My Three Good Friends:

Christine Margaret and Wendy
    School Friends  
                                                      School Friends

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.

There was 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 coloured clothes.  

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. 

I felt 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, Roger Dixon.

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 , ? , ? , Jean Macrudden, 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.