…..at first sight!


back in 1971 when I returned to Great Britain for a ‘holiday’, I met the man of my dreams, or nightmares really.  It was January  I had finished high school the previous July, and worked at a nothing job at Dundas Square.  Teela Digest it was called…I got the job there addressing envelopes from the Teela Digest weekly publication because I had ‘nice handwriting’ — yahoo, those were the days huh??.  To this day, I have no idea what kind of business it was!  I just wanted  to make & save money until I decided what I wanted to do with my future (ie go to university and be a teacher or else what….?)  Anyway to recap, I had emmigrated with my family from Glasgow to Canada in August, 1967 at age almost 16, and had always wanted to go back ‘home’, because I hated my new home, Toronto, Canada.  So finally I had enough money and nerve to book a flight to London and stay with my ‘nanny’ who lived in Muswell Hill in London.

My charter flight was very convoluted.  I had to fly by WardAir (the king of Canadian charter flights in those days) to Montreal and change planes to Keflavik in Iceland where we refueled and I bought a can of caviar for 25 cents, and then on to Schipol in Amsterdam to get on a propellor-powered plane to Gatwick (it could have been a BEA – British European Airways).  I remember the amazing feeling that I had when I traveled by airport bus, I think, to somewhere in London center, that here I was, on my own  in a completely new country (well a new city to me) after living in Canada for the last 4 years!   I thought that the air felt and smelled different, perfectly fine I may add, and that the trucks/lorries were going about their everyday business while me, I had traversed the Atlantic Ocean from a different country and I was on vacation and oh so excited and thrilled and YOUNG, Single and On My Own I guess, and about to explore LONDON!

My aunt Bee (my eternal hippy-dippy sister of my dad) was living in London.  Actually at that time she was living in Tags Island on the River Thames in a houseboat called the Verna with her daughter Saffi (about 8 at that time) and her boyfriend Len.  She was still young  and hip and oh so BOHEMIAN!  She went around and got around and lived the ‘cool’ life that I could only dream about at that stage in my young stay at home life.

As wonderful as it was to see my loving granny: NANNY, it was the adventure that I looked forward to with Bee on her visits to other hip buddies of hers.

There’s more to say about this wondrous trip of my new independent life, but because I have titled this entry TY, then I will focus on my first ‘love at first sight’ meeting.

Bee and her man Len, asked me if I wanted to come with them to visit their friends Ty and Ivy who lived in Hackney.  Of course I said yes!  I was up to meeting any and all of Bee’s London buds.  (Even my nanny had met this couple).

When we arrived at xx VPRoad, I was introduced to vye and her 2 kiddies Tami and Tim  Tami was about 5 and Tim was 2.  Little Tami I was told  was born ‘behind’.  Poor little thing was obviously developmentally delayed with odd physical characteristics.  She might have had some Down’s Syndrome features, I was not sure.  (Later the story that I got from Bee was that Ivy had done some acid not knowing she was pregnant.  I never did find out for sure if poor little Tami had suffered from some tetarogenic(?) damage, or birth canal anoxia, or if perhaps she did have Down’s Syndrome due to mismatched genetic material which would have been beyond the control of both parents.  Tim was a beautiful little boy with huge eyes and very normal.  I think that Ivy fed us well (she, like Ty, was a wonderful cook), and then Bee, Len and I retired to the living room with drinks, whilst she put the kiddies to bed.  I remember her lamenting that ‘Ty’ was at work and as usual would be coming home late.  I also remember the phone ringing (they had a phone!), and hearing Ivy telling the caller, Ty, that Len and Bee and the niece from Canada were visiting.   She proceeded to tell us that Ty had gotten drunk and would probably stay over at friends place.  He worked at Elstree Studies in the film trade, and it was a distance from Hackney.  Later, the phone rang and lovely Ivy happily informed us that Ty had decided that he would be coming home after all.

Was I that excited then or is it just the memory of that night that brings up that emotion in me?  I know that I was drinking,  At 18, getting drunk was fairly new to me  and  I really appreciated the dutch courage that alcohol gave me.  Anyway, I remember a sense of anticipation, and when we could hear noise at the door and Ivy ran down to open it, and loud ‘drunken’ conversation and the uncoordinated clumsy stomping up the stairs, my heart started beating really fast.

In stumbled a very tall inebriated gorgeous young man with long brown hair and a mustache, and my innards literally zinged with a surge of that unmistakeable sexual awakening (well my sexuality was always awake, but perhaps a desirable match?).  Phew, I don’t remember conversation, I just remember feeling overwhelmed with longing for this guy who had just walked into the room and into my life.

Sorry Ty, I nabbed this from your house almost 40 years ago!  This is a much younger Ty than when I first met him....

Sorry Ty, I nabbed this from your house almost 40 years ago! This is a much younger Ty than when I first met him….

Okay, even with the self-loathing of my crippled leg, I still knew that I was quite good looking with long blonde hair, a slim body (back then!) and nice apple boobs!  I felt attractive and I felt his attraction to me and even though I knew that he was married to this very lovely sweet woman Ivy, I felt an overwhelming attraction to him!  I wanted him badly, and I knew, even in my totally inexperienced virginal state, that at that moment he wanted me (aw, who knows??).

Of course, I spoke very little in my perpetual state of lowdownedness, but I enjoyed the state of being the newcomer in this group of 4 older ‘experienced’ adults!  We left at some point, but I was in a state of longing with of course, no real prospect of fulfilling my deep desires!

There is more, so much more, to come of my adventures with Ivy and Ty.  I have to say that I could not help become friends with Ivy in the years to come.  I really liked and respected her with all she had to put up with.  She was strong, funny and hip.  I wanted Ty, but I could not see how I could ever be with him, especially as I was a morally inclined person who wanted to do the right things in life.  How wrong I was (that I could never be with him in morally decent circumstances)! and how careful we should be in what we wish for…..

 post-script:  when I did finally move in* with Ty in 1975, Ivy had already left him, moved back to Cambridge which is where her family were from and she took the children….
*(~ Originally, when I decided to move back to London in 75, I had written to Ivy and asked her if I could stay with her & Ty, until I found my own place.  She told me I was welcome to.  Then a few months later she wrote to tell me she had left Ty, but it was alright with him if I stayed at xxx VP Road….)

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