Funny thing, I didn’t think that I had any friends when I lived with Ty, as I was so absorbed in him. I found these old letters from 2 people I do remember from JJ. We continued to correspond after I left London and went back with my tail between my legs, to Toronto. The letter above was from Sue B. She had worked at JJ longer than most. She was one of 2 head cashiers, younger than me and when I started at JJ, she showed me the ropes. I thought she was really cool, but she also seemed somewhat cool (read dipped temperature interaction) toward sensitive old me. She was so pretty, had long blonde hair parted in the middle and was always sweeping one side of her growing-out fringe out of her eyes. I envied her swaggering walk. I loved her London (not sure which part of London) accent and thought she was so self-assured. Turns out in reality, she was not so confident (like most of us I suppose), but she always managed to project a ‘what the hell, I don’t give a fuck what you think about, don’t mess me!!’ personna.
As I gradually got to know Sue at work and after work at the pub… sometimes the Argyle (close to the London Palladium) and other times the Phoenix, which seemed to be the JJ local… I realized that she was a really nice young woman with self-confidence issues (What!! her too??) and anxiety about her future. She had completed school, but did not want to work in a shop for the rest of her life! She had spent a year in Greece, learning the language as she worked in touristy pubs or clubs. I told her she was amazingly brave to have been able to work in a foreign speaking country like she did! Unfortunately we did not keep up our correspondences… (probably my fault, but who knows?)
This letter was from Bill… a (younger than me … it seemed they all were as I reached my 25th birthday working at JJ) young man of about 23, who had hailed originally from Lebanon. He had been brought up in London, but would occasionally pay a visit to relatives still living in Lebanon. One day, after returning from a flying visit to Lebanon, which at that time was always in the news for death, bombs, destruction, shelling, smashed buildings… (I dont remember the cause of the strife back then other than it degenerating into a civil war), Bill handed me a cassette tape and asked me to put it in the tape deck. Thinking it was music, I did, only to be assaulted by the sound of loud machine guns, explosions and general mayhem! Of course, Dennis (I think) the manager rushed over and exclaimed ‘what the hell is that??’ Billy, dark and swarthy, was full of male bravado, but once I got to know him, he was really a pussycat!! Again, I don’t know whose fault is was that our correspondence ended.
You may notice the self-fulfilling prophecy noted in both letters…………… that no-one from the old JJ days, writes back!
Of course if we had had smartphones back then….. who knows.