There wasn’t much money to go round in my childhood, but Mother-of-witch made sure we got out and did things occasionally. One way of stretching the budget was for me to sit on her lap when we bought tickets for a show. I hated it, but not as much as I’d have hated not going. And these days I don’t think most places allow children to share a seat.
But boyfriends of the besotted type are good. My best friend’s single mother had one in particular, who has stayed in my mind. I never knew his name and I can’t say I recall his face. But he knew how to win over a woman, so when he bought tickets to see a show, he bought one for the daughter to come along, and another for the daughter’s friend, i.e. me.
So there we were, in Folkets Park in Halmstad in the early 1960s. It was Gunnar Wiklund ‘on the menu’, along with one or two others who have since paled into insignificance in my memory. Gunnar Wiklund was the easy listening singing star of the day, with a voice like Jim Reeves, only better. Handsome. Wonderful. I was going to marry him.
Anyway, there we were. We must have arrived fairly early and sat in the front row on four seats. Four seats! Then comes what I can only describe as a typical Halmstad old biddy, addressing the boyfriend, exclaiming indignantly that ‘these two little girls shouldn’t take up seats before their elders and betters’. ‘Yes, they should. Actually.’ Said the boyfriend firmly. Biddy sloped off. Indignantly.
Now, I had never come across anyone who not only paid for a seat for me, but stood up for me in public like that. I think he was the same one who gave my friend five times as much pocket money as her mother could afford to give her. And I don’t think it got him anywhere, but it got me to the front row at Folkets Park.