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!