My song today is, ‘Please Help Me I’m Falling’. This song was written by Don Robertson and Hal Blair and first recorded by Hank Locklin in 1960. The single was Locklin's most successful recording and was his second Number 1 hit on the country charts. ‘Please Help Me, I'm Falling’ spent fourteen weeks at the top spot and spent nine months on the country chart and crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100’ chart and peaked at Number 8.
The song has been covered by many artists that include: The Everly Brothers (1963): Charley Pride (1967): John Fogerty (1973): Dolly Parton. Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette (1993): Gladys Knight (2001): David Ball (2007).
Was I ever to write and have published an autobiography of my life and experiences, ‘My Romantic Period’ in the book would cover the years between 9 and 73. There will naturally have been ‘a start’ to my romantic period, ‘an end’ and most certainly ‘a peak’. During my entire ‘romantic period’ of life, I would either have been ‘in love’ with a beautiful woman or in the process of ‘falling in love’ with one.
I started ‘my romantic period’ of life as a nine-year-old boy who stole a diamond engagement ring from a friend’s house to give to his ten-year-old girlfriend at ‘St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic School’ in Heckmondwike. I will not say that this was my first theft, but it was the first offence of stealing for which I was caught and spoken to by the local policeman. While my girlfriend (Winifred Healey) for whom I stole the engagement ring, proudly showed it off to all her school friend’s, as she initially told them that she would ‘go with me’ (1950’S slang for ‘marry me’ when she was old enough to), once the police had nabbed me for the theft, Winifred speedily repented her part in the acceptance of stolen goods and turned Queen’s Evidence. She must have received a hefty penance in the confessional box when she confessed her sin to the parish priest, as she entered a convent and trained to become a nun as soon as she left school at the age of 15 years.
The final years of my ‘romantic period’ was after my two nine-month courses of chemotherapy for terminal blood cancer I developed after my marriage to Sheila in November 2012. During my 18 months of chemotherapy, certain drugs were used which leave the patient’s hands and feet forever tingling thereafter. This is an unfortunate side effect of chemotherapy that cannot be effectively treated. Ever since my chemotherapy courses, I have had these sensations in my hands and feet constantly. The urge to constantly move one’s hands and feet never leaves during the day or the night, and it has become common practice for me to shuffle my body and shake my feet constantly. The feelings get worse when I lay in bed. When I try to settle down and get off to sleep, my body constantly twists and turns in the bed, and sometimes when it is bad, the only response that alleviates my leg discomfort is to kick my feet into the air like a child having a temper tantrum. The effect on my sleeping partner, Sheila, was to receive constant bruises. As my legs involuntary kicked out, Sheila said that it was like sleeping at the side of a farmer’s threshing machine all night long; and a snoring one at that!
To enable my bed partner and wife, Sheila, to get any sleep at all, I started using a second bedroom at the other side of the house, which eventually became ‘my own bedroom’. Initially, like the royals and the aristocrats around the country, we would visit each other’s bedroom whenever we wanted to surprise and to show the other person something interesting.
Unfortunately, around the age of 73 years, my active love life came to an end when I needed another seven operations and 40 sessions of radiotherapy because of the development of two additional cancers (rectal warts and skin cancer to my head, face, and neck. I am still a hopeless romantic at the age of 77 years, and it is a good job that I have always been a dreamer.
However, needing to avoid all strenuous activity these days effectively means that I now have to channel my romantic actions in different ways that please my 63-year-old loving wife. I refer to those small things that couples often overlook, failure to take interest in the interests and expressed views of one’s partner: telling them you love them at the start, end and during every day: giving them a loving kiss: holding hands: complimenting them on some pleasing aspect of their character and behaviour: sharing a joke or laughing with them: touching their hair lovingly as you brush past their chair or simply placing a hand on their shoulder: cuddling: being intimate in any way that is mutually acceptable and desired at the time.
The height of ‘My Romantic Period’, however, was undoubtedly between the ages of 15-26 years before I first married. This was my peak of romantic interest and represented a time in my life that I was willing and fit enough to do something about any romantic advancement I ever made and was warmly welcomed. My greatest handicap as a romantic teenager was that I had not the slightest intention of getting married before my thirties as I intended to pursue my dream of living in Canada and travelling around Canada and parts of the United States between the ages of 21-23 years. Consequently, While I often was physically involved with a young woman, this romantic involvement never extended to ‘getting emotionally involved’.
This reluctance/resistance to become emotionally attached to any young woman I dated did not take into consideration my propensity to ‘fall in love’ with every beautiful young woman I ever met and went out with. I could not help the fact that I was a hopeless romantic who was always ‘falling in love’. I was obviously a young man who was as turned on by the chase more than the kill. It was the process of ‘falling in love’ with a beautiful young woman that stimulated me more than the actuality of ‘being in love’. In some ways. I was not too dissimilar from certain women who marry six or seven times because they love being a bride on their wedding day but do not want to be married thereafter.
This inconsistency in my character was enabled because I never ‘fell in love’ for more than a few weeks at a time before I found myself ‘falling back out of love’. I had obviously discovered early on in my teenage years that whilst I needed to constantly ‘be in love’, and that I loved the experience of ‘falling in love’ most of all, I never wanted ‘to be in love’. I recognised early on that if I did not want to become emotionally involved with any of the young women I dated, that I dare not remain either physically involved with or ‘in love’ with them any longer than a month maximum. So, I decided there and then that as I needed that feeling of always ‘falling in love’ with a beautiful young woman, it was okay for me ‘to fall in love’, but only on the proviso that in between each romantic experience, I also ensured that I ‘fell out of love’ with the young woman I was presently dating; thereby enabling me to ‘fall back in love again’ with the next beautiful young woman I would meet.
Isn’t love the most complicated thing? It is now. It was then and it always will be! It was also a near-impossible task for any young person during the early 1960s to defy the conventions of the day and to remain of single status after the age of twenty-one, whether male or female. For myself, I found the task extremely difficult.
You see, I had always loved the taste of wedding cake, but did not want to hear the sound of any church bells during my twenties beckoning the happy couple to the altar of matrimony; especially if I was the groom!
Love and peace Bill xxx