Monday, March 11, 2013

Encore at MPL

The story I have to share today is another one by Beth Sanders as was from the July 1981 issue of "With a Little Help from my Friends."   All of the photo were taken by Mary Kara.

Encore at MPL

By Beth Sanders

My friend, Mary, and I had been in England for about 5 days.  On this, the 28th of May (1981), we decided to do some shopping on Oxford Street.  We found ourselves heading in the direction of MPL without actually thinking about it.  When we got to Soho Street, we decided to go look at the building.  Both of us were thinking that we couldn’t be lucky two years in a row and at the same place!

As we turned the corner onto Soho Square and MPL came into sight, we saw a crowd of people in front of the building; television cameras, too.  I don’t have to tell you the thought that entered our minds:  Paul was there!  You’ve never seen two people move so fast!  But we got there only to discover that the crowd was in front of the building next door.  A girl had chained herself to the building in some sort of protest.  The building that she was chained to was a censorship firm.
After having a good laugh over that one, we went into the park across from MPL.  One man was sitting on the second floor.  The building seemed very quiet, but it was still early.  Two teenaged girls and their mother were also in the park staring up at the second floor.  We talked to them for awhile and asked if they’d seen Pau go in, which they hadn’t.  All of a sudden the second floor became crowded with people.  We began frantically trying to sort people out with our eyes.  We thought one man who had black hair and looked like Paul from the back might be hi, but when he turned around we saw that it wasn’t Paul.  Funny how your eyes can play tricks on you…another disappointment.    Soon the two girls left.  It was only about 11:30am and we decided that it was probably too early for Paul to even be up yet.  So since we hadn’t eaten yet, we decided to find a place close by and get something.  When we walked out of the restaurant, Mary asked me if I wanted to go back there, and not feeling quite sure if he was there, I hesitated, and then said okay. 

Again we went over in the park directly across from MPL.  When we looked up at the second floor, we could see some people, but we were quite sure who.  Mary mentioned a blonde seated to the right as we looked up but I didn’t think it was Linda.  Suddenly, I noticed a man talking on the telephone.  I asked Mary, “What is that on the telephone?”  Mary answered, “It’s Paul!”  At that moment he raised up his arms and started to wave like crazy.  We waved at him and Linda, upon seeing us, gave the thumbs up sign and we waved at her.  We decided we’d better go across the street near the front door and wait, because we had no idea how long they’d be up there, and if they came out while we were in the park, well…

After standing there a while, I decided to go back to the park to see if they were still up on the second floor.  They were!  Paul was talking to someone about something and he was waving his arms like crazy to us, yet still talking to this other person a mile a minute!  I walked back across the street to wait, and in a couple of minutes a gold Ford Granada pulled up and double parked.  I peeked around the corner of the window and Paul and Linda were standing by the counter.  Paul saw me and waved. They came out of the door, Paul first.  When he saw that Mary had the camera ready, he bent his knee and stretched out his arm.  I remember thinking , “What is he doing?”  Just hamming it up again!  He stayed in that pose until Mary took the photo.  We said hi and Paul returned the greeting.  We asked him how he was and he said fine, and we asked Linda the same, but I can’t remember what she said.  I then proceeded to dig in the bag that I was carrying, looking for a card for him.  Paul was trying to see in the bag and kept peeking over my shoulder.  I started to explain the card to him, that it was from a friend of ours, and that it was an early birthday card.  He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “oh well, I’ll take it even if it is a little early.”  I handed him the card, and Linda said, “You two were here last year, weren’t you?”  We just mumbled, “Yeah.”  As that was a surprise that she would remember.  Then Paul said, “Oh yeah!”  I asked him if we could take another picture and he said, “Yes, but a quick one.”  Mary stepped back and Linda was on Paul’s left.  He looked at me and said, “Are you gonna get it or what?”  Didn’t he realize that if I moved from that spot I’d been standing in I’d probably fall over?   Mary took the photo and Paul was off the curb heading towards the car when Linda looked at Mary and asked her if she wanted her photo taken too.  Paul had stopped to see what she’d say, but since he seemed to be in a hurry to leave and since she’d had one taken with him last year, she made herself say, “No, that’s ok.”  Looking almost disappointed, he headed for the car.  Linda hurried in too and they started to pull away from the curb when Paul held up the birthday card and said thank you.  I nodded, they both waved, and were quickly gone.

The following Friday, we left some pink roses and a card thanking them for being so nice to us.  We didn’t hang around MPL any more after that – the encounter on the 28th was plenty for us!

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