"First love is a magical thing that the memory never loses, however old one gets. I say 'First love' when deep down, it is more than likely to be a teenage mixture of infatuation and experimentation; go on then, sheer lust!
When I was 17 years old, it was 1960 and like so many others, I'd never had it so good. The world was my oyster. I worked hard in a local textile mill and I played hard on my weekends, especially during my two week's holidays from work. For the first time in my life, I earned enough money to pay my mum £10 per week board and keep and still be left with sufficient to buy myself some decent clothes and footwear. As a general rule, we'd spend all we had left all weekend and borrow off mum again until the next pay day.
The time came for me to take my first holiday outside the presence of my parents. It wasn't that I was shy with mum when it came to talking about girls and the like; more that I didn't want her butting into that area of my life now that I was old enough to do something about it. Myself and Geoffrey Griffiths had saved up some money over the previous months to put down a deposit for a week's stay at Butlins' Holiday Camp in Skegness. At that time, Butlins was the place to be if you were looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, without your parents buzzing around in the background. Having one's own cabin and key, provided a young man with all the privacy he could ever want.
On the third day there, I met 18 year old Rose. The only thing I can remember about her background was that she lived in the Midlands and worked as a Comptometer Operator, which at the time I'd never heard of. I thought her job to be very important at the time while it is only in recent times I learned that she operated a glorified calculaor keyboard for adding, subtraction and multiplication.
Anyway, during those four marvelous days of our holiday at Butlins that we were together, we were never apart. Geoffrey had also met a girl with whom he seemed to hit it off and the upshot was that for the second half of the week, me and Rose shared a cabin and so did Geoffrey and his girl called Eileen. Geoffrey was 18 months older than I was and he no doubt had different expectations from his holiday than I did.
Let me say now for you of curious mind, apart from sleeping together partially clothed in the most southern regions, kisses, cuddles and some grade nine heavy petting was all that me and Rose got up to. We had a lovely four days, and in some ways, it was far too good to exchange addresses or ever expect it to be repeated. Rose intended to train to be a teacher and would have her time occupied in college for the next three years and I wanted to go to either Canda or America after my 21st birthday. I had received some compensation from my accident at the age of 11 years after being run over by a wagon, and after its ten years of interest, it would be a tidy some. Even after I'd given my parents part of it, I would be left with over £2000, which amounted to two years's wages for me at the time.
I was sad when I said goodbye to Rose at the camp on our day of departure. We kissed and each knew we wouldn't see each other again. Geoffrey and Eileen though were destined to see far too much of each other during the years ahead. He wanted to keep in touch and so they exchanged addresses. Having Geoffrey's address proved very handy for Eileen, when two to three months later, Geoffrey received a letter saying that she was pregnant with his child. The thing was that the letter wasn't from Eileen, but her angry father!
In those days, abortion wasn't just considered to be an abomination; the fact was, it would never be considered by anyone! By Eileen's sixth month of pregnancy, she and Geoffrey walked down the marriage aisle. Neither set of parents could be said to have been pleased about the union, and whereas I don't know about Eileen, I know Geoffrey wasn't. However, like all the lads of his time, there was only one thing to do in such circumstances and that was to follow your parent's advice, 'The time has come for you to do the right thing after you've done the wrong thing by the poor girl. You made your bed, lad; now lie in it!'
I'm sad to say that Geoffrey and Eileen's marriage didn't last beyond five years. On year four of it, she got herself a job at 'The Batley Variety Club' as a bunny and six months later, she moved out of the matrimonial abode, left Geoffrey holding their five year old son and moved in with the Assistant Manager of the Batley club. Twelve years later, Geoffrey died from lung cancer.
As for Rose, I don't know how her life fared, whether or not it had been kind to her and whether she ever became a teacher, married, had children, divorced or ran off with the milk man etc. etc. I wonder if she ever thinks about those four days and nights we spent together at Butlins during that summer holiday year of 1960?