Observations / reflections



I’ve often wondered what Paul McCartney felt when he finally reached his sixty fourth birthday.  He wrote this song when he was 16 and as to all teenagers, 64 must have seemed VERY old.

I was madly in love with Paul McCartney, when I was 14.  as only a fourteen year old can be.   His picture was on my bedroom walls, I dreamed about him, and hungrily devoured every TV appearance and recording of the Beatles in order to catch a glimpse of him.  Just the very thought of him gave me goosebumps and other strange feelings, which I couldn’t identify at that time.  Others favoured the more rebellious, “bad boy”  John Lennon or anti establishment  Mick Jagger, but for me the more conventional  “nice guy” Paul was my idol. ( I am sure he would hate this image but at the time this is how I saw him)

Of course by the time the song was published in 1967 on the iconic Sergent Pepper album I was 17 and way past the teenage crush I’d had on Paul, but still thinking that my grandmother couldn’t’ possibly have the same passions as I had.

Old people were “past it”!

Now time and experience has shown me on my 64th birthday that although I may be calmer, it is only the body that is old.  I am just as capable of  passion, love, life and foolishness as I was at 17.

We were the post war baby boomers.  The first generation of British girls to have the advantage of free education, free healthcare and most of all freedom from pregnancy if we wanted it.  Thanks to the pill.

“The pill” legally was only available to married women and I had to wear a wedding ring and attend the family planning clinic  with my “husband” to get contraception.  Fortunately the staff did not probe too closely,  I think the middle class ladies who ran it were just playing lip service to the morality of the time.

Although there was still a lot of gender discrimination, thanks to our good education and some very enlightened women teachers, we had, expectations and  no longer did we just aspire to be wives and mothers.   But I still get mad when I think of the humiliating interview with the headmaster who would not let me take woodwork ” because you are a girl”  even though I had been helping my wood worker father since I was a toddler and probably knew more than the headmaster!

It may seem difficult for the women of today to realise that, in 1967,  in some professions women still had to resign if they got married and certainly if they became pregnant.  It was accepted that women got lower pay than men, for the same job,  ” because the men were the breadwinners” There was no provision for maternity leave which did not become law till 1975. and even then after 6 weeks you had to return to work full time, which made returning to a career very difficult.

Thanks to feminists like Germaine Greer, we started to question our accepted role in society.  We had jobs, money in our pocket,  cheap flights to Spanish holidays and a sense of our own independence  No way did we want to be tied down…..yet!

However it would be a long time before the men and the establishment  caught up with our ideas.   On New years eve 1968, I was barred from entering a nightclub because I was wearing a trouser suit, ( all be it a natty purple silk number  with cut away shoulders)  I felt fantastic as I got ready for the evening but it would seem it was ” offensive”!….

. (bad taste maybe but never offensive! LOL!)

So, we flew the flag for feminism, to give our daughters and granddaughters freedom to be what they wanted and re educate our sons.  and while today’s young women take access all areas, equal pay and  equal opportunities for granted.  , I sometimes wonder,  as I watch my full  time  manager,/ mother of two/ housewife daughter,   run around hanging up the washing and cooking a meal as soon as she gets home from a 9 hour day at work .  How much freedom have we really won?

Many happy returns to me!

Love Denise


12 thoughts on “WHEN I’M SIXTY FOUR…….

  1. Hello, happy birthday to you. Long time, no hear, so I hope you are well. I have no idea what is wrong (taste or otherwise) with that purple dress.

    And do you know that you can now do the National Trust tour of Paul McCartney’s and John Lennon’s childhood houses?

    I packed my parents off on it (my Mum was brought up around there briefly) – I think it was a Christmas present – and I think they enjoyed it. Even Bob Dillon has visited!



  2. Hi FM. thanks for the quick comment. I am a bit in limbo at the moment, change of lifestyle, rented accommodation, limited broadband and busy busy busy. So not much inspiration or time for blogging. Too much happening really. Still seven more sleeps and we will be in our own bed. so hopefully I will be more settled.

    Fortunate mum to have a tour of Pauls house a s a present. Must put that on my list for when I finally finish decorating the apartment and retire!

    Love Denise


  3. So fun to read this post. I was..well, a child who liked to pretend during the sixties so I pretended I was married to George Harrison! My sister was “married” to..I think it was Paul and well, I pretended there was a red dot that was on my sister’s back (where she could not see) which size wise told me who loved the Beatles most…and my dot (that she could not see) was always bigger..or so I told her. HA! Anyway….that is all important information, I am sure. Oh, dear.
    I was in London not too far away from Paul’s last marriage when it happened but it was Sunday..I had been at the British Museum for a long time..I was too tired to make that dash to see if I could see Paul leave the Old Marylebone Town Hall with Nancy…what is up with that? (1.4 miles away….so half hour walk or so)
    Anyway…I was just reading in the third and final volume of Last Lion (re Winston Churchill) how under PM Attlee, I believe that free health care and education became available in England…..as for the pill..I did not realize that you had to pretend you were married to get it there for awhile…I am sure everyone rather realized what was truly going on and again..there was pretending….anyway..so enjoyed your post and happy b-day!!!


  4. Wish I could edit the above…e.g. “Paul’s wedding”..ha..things like that. Sorry. Just pretend it all makes sense and such.
    Also I will add that I recall when on tv my sister was watching the Beatles in their first appearance on U.S. television! It made an impression on me so it imprinted upon my memory well…..I knew…that this was BIG!


  5. Man..more need to edit (again..)..I will just give up and bid you once more..HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! So fun to read your writings…apologies that I respond a bit too quickly and don’t proof before I click..sigh….


  6. No worries Sue, just nice to read your comment…and it all makes sense. So out of touch with Paul McCartney am I that I didn’t realise he had married again!. After the disastrous thing with with Heather Mills I would think he was put of for life!

    Anyway I laughed at the story about the red dot and your sister, typical sisiter thing. I never had a sister ( boo hoo!) so no tales of tricks from me.

    I also remember the first Uk TV appearance of the Beatles ( WE had them first!LOL!) it was on scene at 6 30 and this unknown group sang “Love me do” At school the next day everybody was so shocked at the length of their hair, but like your sister I knew they were something big. Oh happy days!

    Love Denise


  7. Happy birthday! Very interesting to read your reflections on growing up in such a revolutionary time, and even if it sometimes seems nothing has changed, a big thank you to all feminists who came before and fought for the right to wear questionable purple trouser suits ha ha.


  8. Great post! And I think the purple pantsuit is very stylish!

    I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to deal with all that blatant sexism and discrimination. I do feel fortunate to live in the time and place that I do. Not that it’s perfect; statistically, women here on average still make less for the same work.

    I loved hearing about your Beatles memories. They have a special place in my heart, too. Even though my favorite, John, died a month before I was born, once I discovered them, I became an instant fan.

    Here’s to you, Denise!


  9. Hi NYC girl, When I look back now it seems incredible and laughable that anybody could think that way…..and what were they afraid of. The world has not come to an end because we now wear trousers as a norm and now have lady woodworkers and plumbers. Women have not taken over the world nor are they less feminine. But sadly in some parts of the world those sexist attitudes still exist.

    When my husband and I visited New York, I was very moved by the Strawberry fields memorial park in Central park opposite the Dakota building where he lived. Well worth a visit.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Love Denise


  10. Hi Denise…happy birthday and yes..age is only a number ….

    and Paulie was my guy too….I was only six when they were on Ed Sullivan but even then I knew what a cute guy was….and I used to pretend I was Jane Asher all the time…LOL

    hope you get to Paris soon….apparently the flowers are out everywhere!


    • well I’m in California at the moment.. The flowers are beautiful here. May get to Paris in June.

      Jane Asher is now renowned for her cakes. I can’t help thinking she had a lucky escape.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes.

      love Denise.


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