Stan Dyson recalls how he lost his heart to the miserable girl he first saw on the 669 bus to Woolwich and how he overcame his nerves to knock on her front door…
I stood by the Conservative Club for several minutes looking at the dock fence corner of Leonard Street and Newland Street where the Adams house was situated. I was now unsure if I could face my ‘moment of truth’ and actually knock. Last night, in bed, my supermind was kicking down the door, full of bravado. It’s a pity we can’t carry our supermind about with us during daylight hours. In the end I thought that I must get it over with as she can only say yes or no.
After a few deep breaths I quickly marched down Leonard Street and into the porch of number forty-eight. I stopped dead in my tracks and was endeavouring to lift my right hand, which magically now weighed almost a ton, to grasp the knocker. I lifted the knocker, very slowly, and held it for a moment. No, I couldn’t do it. This was far too difficult; all courage had deserted me and I was slowly replacing the knocker when the door was jerked away from me.
Suddenly there stood Joan. She was as surprised to see me, as I was to see her. We both let out a short Aaaagghh. Just like in the film E.T. when the young girl opens the cupboard and is face to face with E.T. for the first time. I said, “Hello, are you coming out?” Joan replied, “Yes, I’m just going round to the Off Licence.” This consoled me a bit because it did cross my mind for a moment that she may be escaping prior to my threatened 7.00pm calling time. I continued, “Can I come?” Joan replied, “Yes, if you like.” I said, “Did your sister give you the message about me knocking?” Joan gave a big grin and said, “You mean Patsy? Yes, she did.” She had a wonderful face, lit up by that smile, nothing like the ‘miserable’ girl I thought she portrayed.
As Virginia Lomas had stated, the Adams girls are not the ‘out and about’ sorts. I said, “Did you mind me knocking?” She replied, “No, that’s OK.” We talked all the way to the Off Licence. Once inside, I got a big smile, raised eye browse and an understanding slight nod of the head from Virginia. I could almost hear her thinking ‘Well, he made it then’. We talked all the way back to Joan’s house and I waited briefly outside while she took in her purchases and we then walked and talked for miles.
For me it was as if I had always known her and I really felt that I had found a soul mate. At the end of the evening we stood in her doorway. Now we had to get the difficult bit out of the way. There was no thought in my mind of passionate ‘snogging’ because I certainly didn’t want to spoil the evening. I just looked at her and said “Is it OK if I come round tomorrow?” and Joan replied, “Yes.” I responded “OK then, I’ll call at about seven o’ clock.” There was a very pleasant kiss of about five second’s duration and I departed.
“Glad that that we got the first kiss out of the way” I thought as I walked towards the bus stop. For me that was it. As young as I was I really did have a very strong feeling that this was it. This was the start of my permanent life long relationship – and I wasn’t wrong! There were no nights off for us, we saw each other constantly, did the same things night after night and never got bored with each other’s company.
Excerpt from Silvertown Life: A Boy’s Story by Stan Dyson