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Doris Stewart Born:  1922 Newington, Edinburgh

Still enjoying life to the maxI was brought up in Salisbury Street the Pleasance in Edinburgh. I had one older brother Bill, and one younger brother Victor. I lived in a first floor tenement. It was a room and kitchen and a toilet. We were the posh ones. My father was a window cleaner. He used to do the big shops like the store, the chemist and Rankin's the fruiter. He could put his hand to anything. He was brilliant with animals and he used to do his own photography. He was a terrific person, a quiet man. My mum sat on her bumTo sit down and watch other people working but she was very clever with her hands. She taught my daughter Patricia to knit, crochet and sew before she went to school. She went to church a lot. She bailedall your time and resourses herself in there and they all loved her. They ran dances. Mum was not like my grandmother. She was a lady, a great cook and baker. She was famous for her mince and tattiesmince and potatoes(One of Scotlands staple diet foods) and apple tart. MaMy teeth are watering just talking about it. There is a picture of her up on my wall but none of us are like her. We have all got the Stewart look.

I went to London Road School. I didnae did not realize at the time but I should have stuck in. I wasn’t stupid but I did get the belt often. I was the keely A tough, rough person especially from a city of the school. I was going to school one day and I got into a fight. The teacher, who was an English man, gave me the belt and the mark left double lines like a railway all the way up my wrist. He went mental, throwing his arms in the air. He gave me a letter to give to mamy mother saying I was unruly. She wrote a letter back. Of course, mamy mother was listening to mamy story. At playtime the teacher shouted “Stewart, come and stand at my table”. So I did. I gave him the letter and he said “do you know Stewart you would be better sitting down on one of the seats in the school and learn to write like your mother”. She was a gorgeous writer.

I left school when I was 14 because I hated it and when you hate anything you would be as well sitting on yer bumTo sit down and watch other people working. My mother went mental. I got a job in Duncan's chocolate factory at Broughton Street but I didnae did not last long ‘cause the woman I was under was mad. My work was perfect but she didnae did not like me so I walked off the job. Another time, me and a lassieGirl got the heavedismissed from Jacksons the clothier. The charge hand took all the stuff belonging us and very near threw it at us. We walked along Princes Street wiwith tears rolling doon oordown our cheeks. I was just in mamy teens.

I was a Sunday School teacher I will have you know, although I was only eighteen when I left the church. I joined the ATSAuxiliary Territorial Service when I was seventeen and we would march every morning for exercise. I went into the kitchen to peel tattiespotatoes if they were short of women. I was there when this lassieGirl fell doondown this hole. It was about ten o'clock at night and we were all having fun. This wee stout lassSmall stout girl and me were kapperin playful jumping about when we were walking to the WMCA in the compound and that’s when she fell into the hole. All I heard wizwas Doris! Doris! Ah said where the hell is she? She said am doondown here, and I said doondown where? DoonDown the hole she said. We had to get one of the men to get a small ladder to get her ootout. She had a cut on the top of her heedhead and they kept her overnight at the hospital. I left the ATSAuxiliary Territorial Service after two years because of my asthma.

Doris  so surprised to get the flowersI never liked the pictures. It was the dancing a liked, at the Pleasance. Harry Millar was one of the owners of the church hall where we danced. We were never away from there. I never bothered wiwith the men though, dancing was enough for me, but I did meet my husband at the dancing. A group of us women did country dancing at the church hall. I used to teach them. My brother Bill taught it as well but we fell oot not agree and stop talking and he never came back. I am not bragging but I was a perfect dancer. John Regan asked me up to dance. I was not interested at first but I married him in the end. He was in the Black Watch. We stayed at the bottom of Salisbury Street. It was a single end. Everybody knew everybody there. It was just like a weeSmall village. What you did not know Jessie Jardine, my mother's best friend, would tell you. She would sit at the window and watch everybody so she could have a weeSmall story. She would keep the kids in check and she would shout I'll tell yeryour mother. She was the newspaper of Salisbury.

I had two children, Robert and Patricia. I had a miscarriage as well. John ended up working in the post office while I stayed in Brown Street bringing up the children. We were not there long because they built a new housing estate at Greendykes. We moved into a prefabPrefabricated homes, popular after the second world war.. They were nice weeSmall houses wi'with two bedrooms. That was when I left John and moved me and Patricia to Surgeon's Hall. Robert was already married and lived in Leith. We lived in a room and kitchen and I worked at Irvin's the baker's and cleaned at the Pollock Halls during that time. John was a Jeckyl and Hyde. If you met him you would think he was an utter gentleman, but was he hell. He liked the women. He was the one that had all the wrong – doing and wrong – saying. I divorced him after 25 years and that’s all I am going to say about him.

With a little help from my friendsWe left after about a year to live in Southhouses. That was a nightmare. I would get up at 5.30 in the morning, clean all the floors and the windows then go to work and when I came back expecting to relax, I had to start all over again. There was rubbish put through the doors and sticky stuff on the windows. The place was hummin'Very dirty and smelly. That was when we moved in with Tommy. Well, we buried Tommy a fortnight ago. I had known Tommy from working in the baker's and his wife had just left him with six children. Patricia and I moved into the spare room and helped bring up the children. The youngest was six years old. The two eldest had moved out. Tommy and I set up our own baker’s shop in Clerk Street. I had mamy own business in the baker shop in mamy older years and I never did a bit of baking. Patricia married five years later. Tommy's kids were quite wild but I calmed them. I definitely calmed them. There was plenty fights and arguments but they respected me. They still keep in touch to this day. I lived with them for 12 years and then moved out to Dalkeith. I have been in the same house all that time in Pentland View. That was about 25 years ago. Tommy and I had sold the shop and the bakehouse a year before.

 

Doris

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