All Our Yesterdays – Going for Gold!

Part 16 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – Summer 1979

Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear…….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials)

Is what follows good or bad news? It’s easy to think that the difficulty of retaining interest in KLS’ offerings is a recent problem, due to the increasing busy-ness of our lives, the ever-broadening range of obligations and opportunities, blah, blah. But maybe it was always like that – or at least, once the early pioneering days were over. The Kingston News of Spring and Summer 1979 certainly suggest this. They also suggest a reason why the Young Marrieds and Women’s Society had reduced their hostilities: because neither of them was strong enough to fight.

Both had AGMs around this time whose themes were soul-searching and existential angst. DG, Chairman of the Young Marrieds, sounded a mournful note: the AGM in late March ‘was attended by the grand total of nine members. A certain degree of frustration at the general lack of enthusiasm was expressed, followed by a discussion about whether or not there is any demand or need for a Young Marrieds’ Group at all’. As for the Women’s Society, SC reported that at its AGM in late April, ‘most of the evening was spent in a general discussion about the desirability or otherwise of retaining a Women’s Society… there would be no point in continuing without greater support and commitment’.

Sound familiar?

But both picked themselves up and decided to continue. There may be a lesson for us there. Maybe Council should adopt Samuel Beckett’s heartwarming credo: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’.

But there is at least one way in which life has improved since the Dark Ages of 1979. In them days, the KLS Communal Seder cost £4. My historical cost calculator suggests that this is worth £20 in today’s money. Yet the 2015 price is just £12. In that annoying, passive-aggressive phrase: ‘You do the math’. An absolute bargain…  

And now an apology.

Some while back, dear Readers (or Reader), I reported that the KLS Religion School athletics team had had only modest success at the ULPS sports in summer 1978. I may have implied that the team was less than brilliant.

I was wrong.

By 1979 we were in the medals. The August 1979 Kingston News reported: ‘We win eight “Golds” at U.L.P.S. Sports!’. Key to our success were KLS’ own Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill – Philip Hyman and Karen Levene, who between them won four golds. (Gold medals? Really?). Philip’s outstanding performance was in the 7-year-old boys’ 50 metres; and both Karen and Philip were part of KLS’ all-conquering 6-7-year-old mixed Obstacle Race team.  (2021 Ed: both still members, but would now need to compete in a higher age-bracket….)

I am glad to set the record straight.

Meanwhile, on the spiritual side of life… Our predecessors of 1979 held a sponsored bible read to raise money for a third Scroll for the Ark. Six members of the congregation read overall for a continuous 27 hours from the morning of July 24 (Genesis, Chapter 1 verse 1) to lunchtime on the 25th (Chronicles II, Chapter 36, Verse 23). That is commitment!