WAR BABY born 1943 still going 2007
Pre school life in Glasgow’s Polmadie
I awake and touch the bars of my Cot and feel comforted. In the shroud of darkness I see a glimmer of light coming from my dad’s Phillips Bakelite wireless and hear the muted sounds of music and voices I cannot understand. I see the warm glow of the fire embers gently lighting the fire hearth.
I am three and this is Xmas eve 1945, I feel the empty pillow case and feel panic, Santa has forgotten me, why do I have this feeling? I am too young to know.
The sand man took over and when sleep had been banished my exploring fingers jolted me awake my pillowslip was full of magical presents like apples, bananas, sweets and a pin bagatelle, didn’t know what to make of it but the silver ball bearings rushing around when I let the handle go and the ball tinkling against the metal pins kept me amused for hours.
Dad, Mum and baby me, had moved to 45 Polmadie Street from Hamilton after dad recovered from his leg injuries caused by a hutch hawser snapping in the Cadzow coal mine and reducing his height by 1.1/2”. He retrained and became an expert upholsterer, a very skilled artisan, who restored historical upholstery to it’s original glory for the Scottish Gentry.
Prior to meeting dad Mum worked in Wallaces as a black pudding filler before getting a job in Cathcart as a florist.
No 45 was called a shop house (a converted small shop) the frontage was weathered dull matte military blue, the shop window had been boarded up to make a double sash window. Front door entry was from the street (this was seldom used), as the door in the tenements’ close was mainly used (close allowed access to the tenement stairs and back court and wash houses).
The front of shop was a living area with a bed recess the floor covering was shiny cold linoleum the room was seldom used in winter as there was no heating… Great summer playroom though. The back room was the main living area, small but cosy with a black leaded fire and grate with oven and plinth seats either side, dad set the fire each night and lit it each morning before he left for work. He had to leave early to walk to the city: no car or modern amenities, money was scarce.
The front and back rooms were connected by the Scullery which housed the coal bunker, tin bath, dad rigged up shelves to give extra storage capacity. The close door entered via the scullery.
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