I left a lot behind the day I left my home town in Yorkshire and came to Hamburg, Germany.
I have been reminded of that fact again and again, and again today, when I found the Facebook Page and the Website of Carlinghow Theatre Company (formerly St. John’s Amateur Operatic Society) of which I was a member from 1973 to 1976, appearing in such productions as “Carousel”, “Wild Violetts” (the Fiftieth Anniversary Show – this year they have celebrated the Nintieth), and “The Gypsy Baron” in which I played the part of the Gypsy Pali.
It was a time I enjoyed very much, and I am sure, had I not left the country (or the area), I would still be a member. Oh, I hadn’t reached the zenith of acting success – apart from my part in The Gypsy Baron, I had only been in the men’s chorus until then. But it didn’t matter.
Anyway during my career in this Amateur Operatic Society, I got to meet a lot of people, as you can probably imagine. In 1976, just after my fateful decision to seek my fortunes elsewhere on this planet, it was a girl about my age. Well we seemed to like each other and spent quite a bit of time together with a friend and a girl he had met (her friend, would you believe it?) at rehearsals and one evening after. I can’t remember where we’d been, or what we had been doing, but out the fish and chip shop at the bottom of Carlinghow on this fateful evening we showed our affection for each other (no, no, remember this was 1976 and this was a small town, a far cry from the cosmopolitan centres of the country…)
She was a Roman Catholic I remember, and I a Protestant. I remember mentioning to my mother what she would think of a liaison between these two groups. (I didn’t tell her why I asked though) In view of all what is going on in the world today, it seems strange that I should mention this (also as I would ultimately marry a Muslim). But times certainly were different then, Roman Catholics were considered to be somewhat exotic. Only this year would I find out that my Protestant Grandfather had married a Catholic (so much for my reservations).
A week or so later I disappeared, never to be seen again? No, two months later at Christmas I was home for a visit, and went to see her in the shop in which she worked… Oh, we wrote for a while afterwards, but when she started telling about her boyfriend, the magic was gone. I never wrote again.
The years have passed since then of course (38 of them to be precise), and my memory grows thinner year by year, and somewhere along the line I forgot her name. Duh!! (Exactly)
But this is where St. John’s Amateur Operatic Society, or Carlinghow Theatre Company, comes to the rescue. The website has an extended archive, and browsing through these years, I have seen the casts of the years in which I was involved, including the 1976 cast of “White Horse Inn” (in which I would ultimately not take part, due to my leaving the country), but in which the girl I was just talking about was also involved. Well looking down the list of the Ladies Chorus I quickly arrived at the name that has eluded me all these years. I knew it the moment I saw it, even though her first name was only an initial (funny how that happens isn’t it?).
So, its over to Facebook. Yes I have found her there, seen a photo which doesn’t stir any memories at all. She’s now a Grandmother with four Grandchildren. but it would be great to hear from her anyway…
This is the song that has always reminded me of her, and made me very frustrated at not remembering her name … one that was being played on the radio at the time.