On this day in 1966 Frank Sinatra topped the UK singles charts with the Grammy Award winning ballad Strangers in the Night. This date was also made notable as it witnessed the premiere of the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; director Mike Nichols celebrated celluloid comedy/drama, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, which went on to claim five Academy Awards.
Also on this day, the county of Durham witnessed an event attracting far less column inches than Frank’s tune or Richard and Liz’s acclaimed film. However, twenty years down the line this event would have a significant influence in the real life comedy/drama The Life & Times of Gary Strachan, aka Do You Know Where My Slippers Are, Karen?
This event, which only received a three line announcement in the Birtley Cheesemakers Magazine’s births column, was the arrival of the little girl I would later meet and marry. This mention lays just above a story about the Great Eighton Banks Edam shortage.
Thankfully, the labour was a fairly low key affair, her mum’s trauma aided with effective pain relief….. She send her husband to go play golf!
Shortly after his departure, Karen and her twin sister were born; at around the same time her dad missed a two foot putt on the 2nd green at his golf club. After throwing his putter in rage, he stormed off to the 3rd tee muttering profanities in frontier gibberish.
Being scared of missing anything and in a rush to listen to the mother’s pearls of wisdom, like never trust a crow that flies in a circle, her sister insisted on being first born. Karen made an appearance not long afterwards, followed shortly by the return of her elated father whose golf game had been sabotaged by circling crows.
On seeing his daughters, the pater immediately told them what a great bloke he was, before asking the midwife to teach him how to fasten his shoelaces.
After having his shoelaces neatly tied by a nurse, she enquired “Do you know you’ve got a crow on your head?”, to which he responded “No. Is that number 2 behind Frank Sinatra in the charts?”
“It’s not a song , sir……. You have an actual crow stood on your head as we speak!” the nurse re-iterated.
After chasing the crow from his rapidly receding bonce, Karen’s dad soulfully serenaded his new born daughters with his version of Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night. His lyrics differed slightly from Sinatra’s, in fact he sang My Boy Lollipop, but it mattered not and there wasn’t a dry eye in the delivery room when he concluded the ditty.
As the song ended the mother, who was exhausted and missing her job as Head of Negativity at the Shiney Row Tea Shop, asked for everyone to leave so she could catch up on much needed slumber.
“What time do you want me to come back to see you?” her husband politely enquired prior to leaving, to which she momentarily paused, before responding “1983!”
So there we are, the tale of the day my spouse was born. I wasn’t there but it seemed quite a day…….. Right, I’m going to chase the untrustworthy crows that have started circling my garden.