Heartbreak and joy when listening to Elvis singing

Rippons Shop  toys and games in June 1974.
Rippons Shop toys and games in June 1974.

Our recent article celebrating the 30th anniversary of Trevor Cajiao’s wonderful fanzine Elvis – The Man And His Music brought back mixed memories for reader Terence Grewcock.

For they included recollections of his days doing National Service and on a happier note, renewing his wedding vows.

“Interesting article about local Elvis enthusiast Trevor Cajiao,” said Terence.

“My two memories of Elvis were contrasting ones. In 1956, I first heard Elvis singing ‘Hearbreak Hotel’. At this time, I was living in a gloomy naval barracks in Portsmouth feeling miserable doing my National Service. The song rather matched my feelings!

“A better memory was years later when my wife Kathryn and I renewed our vows in Las Vegas with ‘Elvis’ officiating! After the ceremony ‘Elvis’ belted out ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and we jived along to the song! Great memory!”

Meanwhile, a photo, taken in 1974, showing the inside of Rippons toy and games shop, in South Shields, and posted on the Gazette’s Facebook page, proved timely, with Penney Gray saying: “we were just talking about this the other day and this is exactly as I remember it being.”

Susan Flannagan posted: “Loved it in there, my friend’s mam knew someone who got staff discount so I saved up and got myself rub a dub dolly. I remember buying Pelham puppets and matchbox babies there. T&G Allan was my pocket money shop.”

Lindsey Grimmer said: “I remember going in with my mam for a treat after been to the dentist. She said right what do you want and I pointed to an elephant and her face dropped and she said ... are you sure?” while Nigel Banks told how he “bought a Tin Can Alley desktop game. I remember my older brother always buying balsa wood from there”.

Fiona Byers Milburn went online to say: “I remember entering the Lego building competition they had one year... but didn’t win.”

Wendy Hunter remembers “getting my roller skates from there, thought I was brill” while Karen Capaldi recalls getting “a Pelham puppet there. I took my kids to T&G Allen’s for a special Christmas bauble each every year. I still have them.”

Other fans of Rippons were Donna Storey, Alison Campbell and Linda Cooper, who all “loved” going there while John Mulvain spoke of “sweet memories”.

Lisa Wightman described Rippons as “my favourite pocket money shop, closely followed by T&G Allen”.

Kevin Thomas Calcutt took to Facebook to say: “The best toy and model shops was in Ocean Road, you had one next door to Minchellas and the other one was were Raffles was; it was the biggest, not forgetting T&G in King Street and Binns downstairs.”

More toy memories came from Isobel Myers Nicholaidis who got in touch to say: “After the war, my mam and aunt would go to market late on, that’s when they sold the toys cheap, and on the way home call in to Joe Riddles and get some meat, and he would wrap it up in sausages. He was a very kind man.... we got very little for Christmas but our stocking was the most important thing. Our parent had it hard after the war but we were all happy kids.”

Finally, we asked online readers whether they loved or loathed the snow.

Jean Behling said: “Absolutely love it” while Richard Waugh posted: “Can’t stand the snow now especially when you have to drive to work and back in it.”

Lianne Douglas declared: “Love it if I’m off work and don’t have to drive in it” while Yvonne Halton said: “Remember the string bags, love it but not driving in it.”

Lynn Henderson posted “loath it”, while Jane Mary Robertson wrote “I love it” as did Kerry Anderson.