I was 11 years old in 1977, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilee year, celebrating 25 years of ruling the UK and other commonwealth countries. Unsurprisingly, I knew very little about her in 1977 (I don’t know much more 42 years later)
I’m not a royalist, I never have been, I can’t see the point of a family living the high life with the help of my taxes (Which are extortionate by the way) but in 1977, when I learnt that the country was holding nationwide parties to celebrate her jubilee, I kind of became her biggest fan! (Thinking about it, the tax payers at the time actually paid for the parties they were planning to attend!)
Anyway, the local community, subsidised by the local authority, held a party for the kids in the area, (Of which I was one) and the more ‘Needy’ kids (Of which I was one) really looked forward to it. For me personally, it was actually the first party I had ever attended, and I don’t mind admitting that I couldn’t wait to gorge myself with cakes, jellies, sweets, biscuits and play games with music in the background.
The party took place in a local hall that doubled as a Baptist church at the weekends, but was mostly unused and empty throughout the rest of the week.
I remember the girl I had the hots for came to the party, dressed up like she had been invited to Buckingham Palace. She stood out like a large penis in a sea of chipolatas, but in my eyes, she was perfect. I ensured that I was eating directly across from her so I could watch her eat, occasionally chipping in with a comment that was intended to make her notice me and laugh. It didn’t work!!
So, I got on with the partying, skipping around the room with my mates and generally making a nuisance of myself with the remains of jam and cream cake stuck to my top lip.
However, the thing I remember most about that day was when the Queen and her entourage passed the crowds of people who had gathered to wave her by. Luckily, one of my friends at the time ‘Banno’ lived on a house situated by the main road that the Queen was passing along. It was a 3 storey, with a wide bay window directly under his bedroom window. So it was a case of climbing out onto the roof of the bay window to get a birds eye view, eliminating the problem of all the adults getting in the way with their oversized heads and shoulders.
We waited and watched, listening for the sound of the crowds cheering in the distance before we stood up and started waving our flags as the Queen was driven past.
I caught a glimpse of her hat and her hand doing that strange, circular wave. Then she was gone. That was it. Party over.
If only I had tried harder with my dream girl at the party, we could have watched her together as a newly formed couple!!
As I said, I’m not a royalist, but it’s a nice memory to have.