All Our Yesterdays – The Jigsaw that is KLS

Part 15 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – Spring 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)

1979 – the dinner and ball at Kempton Park went ahead on February 11 (so lavish, you may recall, that members were permitted to pay for tickets in instalments), enhanced by a cabaret spot from ‘CC, the Singing Rabbi, beautifully supported on the piano by Jane Ward’ (as HB, Chairman, wrote in the March Kingston News). Was this the first public performance of this famous duo? Jane: I think we should be told. H also wrote about ‘dancing to our usual band’. How far KLS has fallen! Whatever happened to our usual band? How can Council hold its collective head up while KLS lacks a usual band? (2021 Ed – watch this space…..)

Meanwhile, Nick O, stepping down as Vice Chairman, wrote a thoughtful piece in the March KN suggesting that KLS was like a jigsaw, and urging: ‘Let’s make our jigsaw puzzle a Canaletto, with masses of intricate detail, rather than a Japanese painting with one beautiful tree floating in space’. You don’t find poetic similes like that in the KMB of 2015. Again, how far KLS has fallen. Maybe the intellectual rot had already set in by 1979: the KLS team in the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues’ Junior Quiz came neither first, second nor third, and PF-J was too tactful to specify what place they did occupy.

The KLS of the Seventies?

Elsewhere, peace was breaking out. The Women’s Society and Young Marrieds for now kept their tanks off each other’s lawns, with the women concentrating on culture (a talk on the origins of musical instruments) and the junior married people on frivolity (table tennis and supper). And WJ’s requests for equipment became less warlike. Instead of garden forks and scissors, she asked for paint brushes and expressed thanks for a carpet and ‘a dozen white “Waitress” aprons’ (an indispensable item for a synagogue). Of course, the additional gifts of an infra-red grill and six glass ashtrays could still have been useful in the event of a siege.

But possibly the most notable revelation in the early KNs of 1979 was the first name of our caretaker, Mr Gammon. In thanking him for donating to KLS, both for decoration and sale, plants he had grown, PF-J let slip this missing piece of the Canaletto jigsaw of KLS in the 1970s. Fred Gammon, we salute you!

“Canaletto – Piazza San Marco [late 1720s]” by Gandalf’s Gallery is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0