I have started a myth-busting series of stories, about life in the sixties. There were good things, like snow at Christmas. If I am honest it was only the once where we lived in South London – and plenty of it. I could concur with Dylan Thomas’s description of, ‘pouring out the ground’. I remember 6 weeks of sub-zero in 1962, but not at Christmas.
Apart from snow we had to be grateful for the trends – things were becoming better, radio played our music, fashion was a new idea, teachers were considering not hitting pupils and began using their first names, but I never experienced that. Cities were dreary, with too much traffic and too little civility and remained that way for decades. Forget the Brexit nonsense about the good old days.
1960 was a time of fear for young people. Saying the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong tone, earned you a smack round the ear, at school, from teachers and other bullies, and at home. By 1969 we were fighting the last of our parents’ bad habits, and things were on an unalterable course. We were no longer clones of our mums and dads. Those days will never return.
The downside were the announcements that cigarettes would kill us, which we knew already and global warming was upon us – which was news we would ignore for another 50 years, to everyone’s cost.
In my second story, April in Starnberg, I have taken a neighbour from Priory Crescent, Cheam two doors from where we lived and released him from his fear of women, and everything else that struck terror in that poor man. He freed himself in his late 60s by spitting his dummy out at the local bowling club AGM. Using artistic licence and the badge of fiction, I’ve given him a life and his liberty in his 30s. He was a top bloke, generous to a fault and I never heard him speak badly of another. He deserved better. He won’t appreciate my effort. For him it is, alas, too late.
The action is the lake at Starnberg and I’ve used The Wasteland by Eliot as a vehicle to release him.
In my first story, The Holy Mere, Beth was set free by the poem, Death and the Maiden, by Matthius Claudius, made more famous by Schubert’s eponymous quartet.
And finally, a collection of short stories from the time. I hope they tickle.
Another trip to freedom next time. Hope you enjoy the stories.