My song today is ‘Breathless’. This song was composed by Otis Blackwell and was the third record by Jerry Lee Lewis, whose version was released in February 1958 on ‘Sun Records’. It spent 15 weeks on the ‘Billboard’s Hot 100’ chart, peaking at Number 7 in April 1958. The song also reached Number 4 on the ‘Country Chart’ and Number 3 on the ‘R&B Chart’, and Number 8 in the UK.
There are many people and many experiences which I have found exciting, pleasurable, exhilarating, dangerous; even too hot to handle, but few have left me breathless!
Between 1990 and 2000, I was as busy in my life as I’d ever been. I held down a responsible job as a West Yorkshire Probation Officer which commanded around fifty hours a week of my time (until I retired early in 1995 on grounds of ill health): I also ran Relaxation Training sessions in probation offices, hospitals, psychiatric units, hostels, churches, educational establishments, prisons, and community halls: I visited one primary school somewhere in Yorkshire every weekday morning and afternoon of the week to hold a story-telling assembly and one library on a Saturday morning: I wrote and had published four or five books a year: I arranged for charitable activities in the community which highlighted important topics, raised important issues, and which also raised £200,000 for charity from the sales of my books: and I personally arranged to have national and international celebrities from stage, screen, sport, space (one astronaut), politics, church, state, visit a Yorkshire School to read primary school children a story from one of my children’s books and to make them feel ‘special’.
Each month I would give around four paid talks to different organisations about my work with Relaxation and Anger Management Groups and I would use this money to help pay for some of my necessary charity expenses (which never came from any money raised for charitable organisations). Initially, I charged £25 for a half hour speech, but when the demand on my time became too much to fill, I had the bright idea of charging a ‘deterrence fee’ of £60 for a half-hour speech, hoping to free up some time for myself. To my shock horror, I still received over fifty invitations to speak annually. Humans are strange folk; the more you make them pay for it and charge them, the more they feel they’ve got to have it/you!
During the decade between 1990 and 2000, I held over 1500 press interviews (virtually every other day), I gave over 100 radio interviews (at least six which were one hour in length each and dozens that lasted half an hour), and about two dozen television interviews on local tv stations.
I was the father of five children, and I looked forward to spending all my weekend hours with my children walking, gardening and playing games or going to the woods or the park.
But there is only so much one can demand of one’s body. Surprise, surprise; when I was 58 years old, I had two heart attacks within the space of seven days. My second heart attack was severe and rendered me unconscious for three days and at death’s door. The stents they tried to put in my heart collapsed and so they put a pacemaker in and told my wife and family that I would die within days. My son (who had come over from France after my first heart attack) returned to France when the hospital discharged me. No sooner than he had got back inside his French house, he received a telephone call telling him that his father had had a second heart attack and was at death’s door; so, he turned around and caught the next flight back to West Yorkshire.
This experience with my double heart attacks in one week is what left me more breathless than any other experience I ever had. Other experiences that took my breath away would include seeing my children delivered at their birth, coming a close third in the ‘Father’s Race’ on my children’s sports day at their primary school, plus a few romantic episodes that I have no intention of going into today.
I can tell you, however, about one person who literally took my breath away. Her first name was Sylvia and she was my next-door neighbour on the estate where I grew up. Sylvia was about four years older than I was, and she was a young woman who wasn’t afraid to show 11-year-old boy parts of the female anatomy that no male under 18 years old should ever be allowed to see. More than once, she blew my mind away as we snogged up on the roof of our council house shed. At the time, I simply convinced myself that my personality and handsome looks enabled Sylvia to suppress all thought of our age difference, but I now know that she was simply using a willing 11-year-old boy for ‘target practice’ in learning how to hit all the right spots with the opposite sex.
Her kissing, however, was the one part of Sylvia that I will never forget as long as I live. When it came to the art of kissing, Sylvia was could make a healthy young lad like me faint with exhaustion! Sylvia knew how to ‘kiss in tongues’ and would extend the stretch of her own half-way down my throat. The kissing lesson would begin with her gently placing her lips on mine as she closed her eyes. I never closed my eyes. I was always too afraid of missing anything and wanted to know that the other person wasn’t laughing at me or pulling faces!
Sylvia was such an accomplished kisser and she had perfected the ability to wrap her tongue around mine in such a sexual manner that I wished we would never uncouple again. However, all this was simply kissing foreplay to distract my attention. Just as Count Dracula was said to smile sweetly at his victims before he plunged his blood-sucking teeth into their necks, Sylvia would start to kiss me as she proceeded to suck every bit of air out of my collapsed lungs. Once she’d plunged into the depths of my lungs, she sucked out all the oxygen from them and wouldn’t come back up for breath until I’d literally fallen under her spell. She’d make me weak at the knees and light in the head through lack of oxygen and I’d always be left panting like an overheated Labrador in season when she’d finished with me. It wouldn’t have surprised me in the least to learn that she spent an hour inside her bedroom every night, wholly submerged in a tank of water for five minutes at a time, just to increase her lung capacity to improve her kissing skills.
Every young boy needs an older and more experienced girl to start them off in life and to acquaint them with the things to come. All learners need the instruction of those wiser tutors, and Sylvia was mine.
By the time I was in my late teens, Sylvia had married some Heckmondwike chap and was now moving in new circles, as was I. I never forgot 'the girl next door' in my life and would frequently smilingly recall what we got up to on that shed roof as I put on my dancing shoes and went out to newer hunting grounds in search of fresh game.
I couldn’t possibly do a ‘kiss and tell’ on the delightful Sylvia about all the things we got up to on that shed roof; it would not be gentlemanly. But can tell you that what we did was enough to make any good catholic boy ‘blush’ and ‘breathless’.
Love and peace Bill xxx