Do you still remember your first love?
Doesn’t everyone? Do they still hold a teeny weeny special place in your heart?
I had a couple of “boyfriends in my early teens. The first notable one being the Head Boy at school, although I think it probably had something to so with the fact that he had a car….the only person in school with one…
No more waiting around at cold, wet bus stops for me! The romance didn’t last long as he left to go to university leaving me languishing at the bus stop again…..
Then there was the boy I met on holiday in Ireland. He was called Brian (boy,how do I remember that?!) and he lived in a castle…no I kid you not!!
He was older than me and sooooo wet, even for back then. When we came back from holiday he wrote to me every week and signed the back of the envelopes with SWALK, Eeeeuuukkk
AND….. my mother was known to open them if they arrived whilst I was at school!! Then he wrote to my mum and asked HER if he could come and visit me….AND she said YES!!! I was mortified!! I think she had visions of me marrying a lovely catholic Irish boy and living in a castle.
Well I had other ideas, so he had to go!!
And I won’t EVEN mention the cross eyed builder who asked MY MUM if he could take me out!!…guess what she said??
I really don’t think she loved me!!!
So when I left home at 17 to start my Nurse training I was still comparatively innocent in the ways of world of boys….well compared to some of the girls I met, although looking back, it was probably all talk!!
And then IT hit me!!
Ok, I know it going to sound corny and cliched but….our eyes really did meet across a crowded dance floor
I was dancing around my handbag , as you do, with my friends when I looked up and saw him looking our way. I thought he was probably staring at my friend J, who was very attractive, had fantastic figure and beautiful long honey blonde hair. Come to think of it, I can’t imagine why any of us ever went out with her!!
Anyway, next thing “HE” is making his way over and is saying something to ME! I didn’t have a clue what it was as the music was loud I couldn’t hear, all I knew was that he was good looking and talking to ME, not J!!. So I gave him what I thought was one of my sweetest smiles and continued to dance, and when the music stopped he was still there!
We made our way off the dance floor and did that awkward shuffling and giggling that only 18 year olds can. I discovered P was a Student PE teacher, which he announced whilst lighting up another cigarette!!
We talked and talked….well shouted and shouted over the music until it was closing time at the club, and then he walked me back to the Nurse’s home….along with J and 3 other friends!!
He had taken the telephone number of the Nurse’s home but couldn’t remember the number where he lived. No mobile phones in those days. Just one phone for a whole house of girls, so you can imagine it rarely stopped ringing!!
We went to the club most Fridays and Saturdays but didn’t see him there again. Infact we decided that he probably wasn’t who he professed to be, and I put him out of my mind.
Then one day, about 3 weeks later, one of the other girls came to my room. she was clutching an envelope which she had found in the back of the cubby hole marked “E” in the post boxes.
She handed it over saying “This must be for you, its says E, and you’re the only one of those here”!
Laughing that I had a secret admirer, I opened the envelope and then fell silent as I read the contents. It was from “him” and had been written 2 days after we had met. Basically he was declaring his undying love for me, and had even included the lyrics of “I Can’t Live ” by Harry Neilson in it!
P said he had lost my phone number and included his , and hoped I would ring him.
Now at this point I do have a little confession to make….and forgive me, but I was young and it was the 70’s
He was the almost spitting image of Noel Edmonds. Yes Yes!! I know…. but in those days Noel Edmonds was considered good looking!!
Anyway fast forward the reading out loud of letter to one and all at The Nurse’s Home and the general laughter and comments!
I plucked up courage and rang him, and so began the first big love affair of my life.
We were inseparable. Boys weren’t allowed in the Nurse’s home but the Teacher’s training College was more relaxed, and I spent many a happy hour in the common room at his residence watching television…quite often being the only girl there, and was spoilt by the lads there..even had a seat with my name on it!!
There was a lot of teasing but it was all pretty light hearted and I was soon accepted into the circle. I met alot of lovely people including some lads who went on to play for and captain both the English and Welsh Rugby teams!
Of course, being a PE student P was into every sport under the sun from football to tiddlywinks.. and of course, being young and in love, I too soon discovered a love of all things sporty. To the extent of learning how to score for cricket matches. At one stage of my life I could even discuss the off side rule with the best of them!! I hastily add I cannot remember any of it now
So we carried on in blissful happiness. When I was on night duty P would wait outside hospital for me and walk me home before he went to lectures…In those days if you were on night duty you had to be in by 9.30am at the latest and weren’t supposed to be out again until after 3pm!! But that;s another story!
Then on Valentine’s day he produced a ring and asked me to marry him!!
Then we were to go and tell P’s parents….I hadn’t met them yet, and knew little about his family other than that he was an only child.
Ummm. Perhaps I should have realised why he hadn’t taken me to meet them before
We drove to Gloucester and I was so nervous I lost my ring in the car, and we spent 1/2 hour looking for it….an omen perhaps?!
P was greeted with open arms and lots of hugs and kisses and then they remembered me…..he introduced me. My welcome was not as loving
I was greeted with a cool handshake from both of them and his father said “Oh, so you’re the one he’s been going on about”
I was shown to my room and told to take my time and freshen up. I was already feeling very uncomfortable. I shuffled around the room for a while and then started to make my way back to the kitchen where they were gathered. As I approached I caught the tail end of the conversation
“We didn’t send you to college to fall in love in with the first silly girl who fluttered her eyelashes at you” His father was saying.
Goodness I still remember how I felt. Sad, upset, indignant…it was P who fluttered his eye lashes at me!!
And did he defend either himself or me? No!
I just wanted to run away home, but there was no way of doing that. They lived in the middle of nowhere.
I somehow survived the weekend, and they remained coolly polite to me.
Of course, once we left and went back everything was forgotten and life went on…after all we were young and in love. We would conquer all
We were very happy and had some brilliant times and adventures together, and managed to keep visits to his parents to the absolute minimum.
Although the one and only Christmas I ever spent with them is ingrained in my memory for ever…….
Christmas at home was always a very noisy happy affair and I guess I expected the same. Wrong!!
Christmas morning was quiet with his Mother and I preparing lunch for most of it while P and his Father did….something or the other. Then most of the extended family arrived and I was paraded out for their inspection, not sure I passed muster.
After lunch the “menfolk” retired to the front room with Brandy and cigars while the “womenfolk ” were left to clear up in the kitchen and, no doubt, prepare for the next meal (yes really!!)
I looked imploringly at P but he just shrugged his shoulders and followed the menfolk
Now who remembers when Top of The Pops was always on at 2 pm before the Queen’s speech?n It was always my favourite.
I kept looking at my watch and thinking “any minute now P will come and get me” He knew I loved it but it didn’t appear to be going to happen so I decided to take things into my own hands
I got up and left the women..there were some gasps of disbelief and horror when I announced what I was doing!
I walked into the front room, sat down beside P, lit up a cigarette (yes I smoked! didn’t we all in the 70’s?) and refused to move
Thus the last threads of any relationship between “The parents and I” were shredded
Although there were a couple of blips where we split, but always seemed to find each other again P and I continued our great love away from the prying eyes of his family and despite their efforts to find him a job close to home when he graduated he did actually manage to make his own decision and take a teaching post in Sussex.
I followed him there when I qualified and we lived happily together, well him, me, and the lodger! ( a fellow teacher)
Plans for a wedding went ahead with dates being sorted and venues being agreed and a dress purchased.
We exchanged a lot of tearful phone calls and emotional heart to hearts but there was no going back, and so P became a distant memory…never quite forgotten
Then out of the blue, after a few of us had got together for a reunion and reminisced over stories and photos of the “good old days”, I had a phone call from a girlfriend whose husband P and I had introduced her to
“I’ve someone here who wants to speak to you” she said, laughing
And there at the other end of the phone was P!
At the time I was having dinner with a friend so we weren’t able to talk for long, but we spoke again a few days later. All the hurt and acrimony melted away as discussed how our lives had turned out.
He doesn’t look like Noel Edmonds anymore….see somethings do change for the best!…although he is now the spitting image of his father. His Mother is still alive and he has her living near him now.
We both married other people, we both have 3 children and life has treated both us well, on the whole.
Being the Mother of boys myself I can now understand that bond that exists between Mothers and sons
I am smiling as I write this at all the good times and love we shared, and am happy that we were able to speak again
And yes, I have never forgotten my first big love…and he will always occupy a tiny little part of my heart
Thank you for indulging me….