As part of our 150th celebrations, our contributors have been sharing their thoughts on what the “Friend” means to them.
Here, Jacqui Cooper shares one of her many fond memories of our magazine . . .
Odd to think that ‘The People’s Friend’ has been part of my life one way or another for over fifty years. Though my earliest memory of the magazine comes with rather mixed feelings.
My mum read the magazine every week. She didn’t buy it, but got it from her aunt — who got it from my gran, who got it from a neighbour . . .
(I was amused to read in the 150th Anniversary Special that passing the ‘Friend’ around was actively encouraged during the war years due to paper shortages. This was in the sixties, though, and the tradition was still going strong!)
Anyway: on a visit to my grandparents, I was sent next door to see if the neighbour was finished with gran’s ‘Friend’.
I must have been about six. I remember that I didn’t quite understand the message, but I was told it was important and to hurry along.
When I knocked on the door, I still wasn’t sure what I was asking for.
But when the door opened, I saw another neighbour drinking tea. I knew she was a friend of Gran’s. So, with relief, I quickly recited my message — that Gran needed to see her right away.
Concerned, she followed me back, and I proudly delivered Gran’s friend. I didn’t live it down for years.
A long and happy relationship
Still, that heralded the start of a long and happy relationship with the ‘Friend’.
When I was older, I started reading Mum’s copy from cover to cover. Later still, married with a young family and living a long way from home, I occasionally bought my own copy — especially, for some reason, the Christmas edition.
And now, even later, here I am: writing the stories I love so much!
Happy 150th birthday to ‘The People’s Friend’, and thank you for so many fond memories.