Ivor Heller’s Fifteenth Birthday Party, 20 to 21 May 1978

I was inspired to write up this piece (in March 2017) when I saw David and Ivor Heller’s Facebook postings about their parent’s 60th wedding anniversary.

It would be hard to exaggerate how much hospitality, kindness and generosity of spirit we members of Streatham BBYO (our youth club) received from David and Ivor’s lovely parents.

So, the following party memory is but one of many memories that sprang to mind when I saw the wonderful pictures from their diamond celebrations.  Perhaps this party sprang first to mind because I have recently been swapping bants with old friends from Alleyn’s School about teenage parties. Indeed there will be a few more Ogblog postings about the subject of parties.

Ivor’s fifteenth birthday party was especially memorable though.

My diary pages are only of limited use:

Diary 14 to 20 May 1978
Diary 21 to 27 May 1978

I need to post two pages because the party unquestionably lasted more than one day.

For those unable to translate my scrawl, allow me to translate:

Saturday 20 May 1978:

went to Ivor’s party, great. stayed overnight…

Sunday 21 May 1978:

…and stayed the day too. Played snooker in afternoon. Great day.

That’s all he wrote, folks. But that isn’t all he remembers. Oh, no.

I remember that there were lots of people there. Many of “the usual suspects” from our club. Also far flung (North London, East London, some even West London, can you imagine?) friends and family of the Hellers. Like many of the house parties of my youth, “cosy” is a more appropriate term than, for example, “would have been well within commercial venue fire limits”. A great many of us stayed over, so the party remained cosy well into Sunday.

But there were not too many people for the cask of beer so generously provided. I think it was a firkin, I am absolutely certain it was Young’s, it seemed to be a never-ending supply of beer.

I have already written about youthful beer drinking from the summer before, at the Oval – click here. (Probably also Young’s back then). So don’t be shocked, timid reader. This was (or at least seemed) quite normal at that time. Anyway, fine ale was a great leap forward compared with my cheap cider party embarrassment story from three months earlier – click here. I’d also more or less learnt my lesson about quantity as well as quality by May 1978, thank goodness.

I remember getting inadvertently/accidentally doused in a rather pungent scent that Ivor had been given for his birthday. Thoroughly doused, to my irritation. I remember thinking that the resultant fog of scent would reduce or even extinguish my allure. Yet, contre Pepé Le Pew, it seemed to do me no harm at all that night.

So, what an evening, oh what a night and the fun continued throughout the rest of the weekend. I recall that several of the club crowd (and others) stuck around during Sunday; many of us went into Morden for the snooker in a rather seedy hall.

I love my comment from the Monday “all right at school today”, inferring that surviving school the next day was an achievement in itself. Probably a very accurate reflection.

Others who enjoyed the Heller’s hospitality, in particular this superb party, might recall more. I’d love to hear some more memories, either through comments on this posting or by other means.

Try to remember, the way we were.