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Byline: Tom Slemen

ONE January afternoon in 1965, two girls, both aged 19, met up in Bold Street's El Kabala coffee bar.

Donna worked at the Saxone shoe shop, Church Street, and Maureen worked at the Maypole supermarket in nearby Lord Street, but today the girls each had a day off, and for once, they were both free as a bird, each having chucked their pitiful boyfriends for various reasons.

Donna had good news and bad news, and as usual dragged it out till Maureen swore and told her to get to the point. Donna's favourite uncle had died, and he had left her pounds 500, which, in 1965, was worth 10 times more than that sum is worth today.

'What are you going to do with it Don?' Maureen asked, sipping a coffee. 'Well Mo, I was thinking of moving out of ours and renting a flat,' Donna replied. She even knew which flat she wanted; it was a first floor one in an old semi on Woolton Road, near Childwall. The rent was very cheap, just pounds 5 a week.

At this point, Bernie, a 37-year-old man, reached from the neighbouring table and touched Donna's arm, startling her. Bernie used to live by Donna in Kensington, and would follow her from school, even though she was just 14 and he was 32 at the time.

'Hey, glamour, I live up in Woolton Road,' he informed Donna, who never even replied. 'Let's go Mo,' she said to Maureen and they both left the coffee bar. Donna moved into the flat, and being nervous because Bernie might be around, she asked Maureen to stay with her most nights.

The Watcher A fortnight later, the girls had just finished watching the telly around 9.30pm, when Maureen went into the kitchen. 'Where's that Mantuna Tea packet Donna?' she asked, searching the cupboard. 'In the tea caddy! By the window!' came the reply, and Maureen spotted the caddy where Donna said it was, but as she glanced out the window, she noticed something eerie.

A square of dim yellow light in the distance - someone's window - but near enough for Maureen to make out the figure of a man who seemed to be watching her.

'When are you getting nets for these windows Donna?' Maureen asked. She turned the kitchen light off and urged Donna to come into the kitchen. She pointed out the weird watcher to her friend but Donna said, 'How do you know he's watching us? You must have good eyesight. Switch the light on.' Maureen said no but Donna insisted. Donna waved at the silhouette in the distance. 'See, he can't even see us he's that far away,' Donna reassured Maureen. But the figure slowly waved back and remained watching, all night.

The girls tried to put a net curtain up in the kitchen, but the hooks kept coming out. A handyman fitted a blind - it jammed and couldn't be pulled down.

Every night around 9pm, the watcher would appear at his window. Donna gave him the V sign out of anger, then fearing he might pay a visit, she waved. He never waved back. Donna's brother visited and saw the nosy parker, so he walked off into the Woolton night to visit the weirdo's home - but came back baffled, because he couldn't find the house.

A week later, Donna mislaid her purse, and looked high and low for it, but the telephone rang and a gruff-voiced caller told her - correctly - that the purse was behind the letter-rack on the mantelpiece. Donna instinctively gazed out the window; the watcher was waving to her... Continues next week
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2010
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