I always seem to start my Christmas letter with “20whatever has been a year of ups and downs”. Well, 1964 certainly was one of those.
I’d had my 17th birthday in January and been given my Beatles album. I’m pretty sure I could listen to it in my own bedroom. After sharing a room (and a bed) with mum for several years after our move to Bingley, I was desperate for a place of my own. Eventually, I admitted how miserable I was about this and mum managed to find sufficient money to make half the attic into a bedroom. I loved it. It was perishing in the winter and like an oven in the summer but it was the first time I had space of my own.
Academically things were not going too well. My three ‘A’ level subjects had gone down to two (biology instead of botany and zoology) but I still wasn’t on top of them. Some of my classmates were aiming for university and some were aiming for teacher training (3 years but no degree at the end). I wanted to be a librarian and I wanted to go to a library school. There was one in Leeds but I applied and didn’t get in. I didn’t want to go away because I didn’t want to leave mum (or maybe I just didn’t have the bottle to go away from home!)
I had great friends at school. We had good times during the school day and we loved to go walking during the holidays – across Ilkley Moor and the moors around Haworth were two that I remember. Other than that I didn’t have much of a social life. I went very occasionally to folk concerts but mostly I stayed at home.
But during 1964, something dark came into our lives again. Mum became the third sister to be diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and, I believe, some crude radiotherapy. I can remember going on the bus to see her after school. Still, she seemed to make a good recovery and we were hopeful.
My ‘A’ levels came and went. It was time to leave school. But before I started work I had a most exciting holiday! It was my first visit to France. The first of at least twenty!
I’m going to write about my expedition next time. Afterwards I am going to take some time to search through my collection of photographs.
A kind person who sometimes reads my blog said that she likes my stories but would like to see some photos. So my grandson has been sent up into the loft and has brought down several boxes. They are very disorganised but I hope to be able to piece together an illustration of the story I’ve told so far.
(“That Was The Week That Was”, was one of the first satirical TV programmes. Starring David Frost, Roy Kinnear, Millicent Martin among others it was one of my favourites. I had thought I would have been watching it in 1964 but, in fact, it ran from 1962-1963. So there you are!)