Skip Navigation To Main content

Elizabeth Docherty Born: 1932 Dunfermline, Fife

Doad and me wi oor palsWe came over fi'from Fife and stayed in 42 Reid's Drive Newtongrange. MaMy mother had eleven of a family. She died and left our youngest, Paddy, at the age of two and a half. She was awfy fond of her laddiesvery affectionate to her male children who were in the army. That was her pride. I was at Newton Loan School at the time. She was cleanin' her windows 'cause the laddies.Boys male siblings were coming home on leave. My mother kept the end room for them. It was near Christmas and the nights were getting dark. My mother said to me “Lala, that's what she called me, goan go and get a pail of water and get the red karnelcleaner for old fashioned range cookers, made from Palm oil, garcinia kola, kaolin powder, dolomite, cacoa, lime, mica etc. and karnelcleaner for old fashioned range cookers, made from Palm oil, garcinia kola, kaolin powder, dolomite, cacoa, lime, mica etc. the fireplace”. I went benthrough and as I was coming through the long lobby somebody rapped at the door. A pitput doon the pail and went doon the stair and a wee laddie.small boys or male was at the door. He said “Lala yeryour mother's fell oot the windae out the window.”. Before a could believe it I came back up the stair and the next thing the ambulance came and took her away. Mrs Anderson and her boys had got the ambulance for us. By the time she got to hospital she had died. She was only 42 and she had aweall that family. My dad was working night shift at the wire mill at Musselburgh when it happened.

We had a really strict up-bringing wi ma faitherwith my father. You never knew when his big hand would come right across yeryour face. My mother had a sister in Rossie Place in Musselburgh that she used to visit. They were aye the githeralways together. When it all past wi ma mither, mawith my mother, my father got a hoosekeeperHousekeeper in. This hoosekeeperHousekeeper was a big stootStout woman wi'with big hands and the smell that come off her, well it had something to dae wi'with her legs. She could never say oanythin' anything nice. She wiswas a bad bad woman. The next thing a kent, I was in a home in Joppa. I couldnae could not stick her and she couldnae could not stick oanybody. Paddy was only two and half and she had no affection for him or anythin’. She didnae did not hold him or cuddle him. Ma faither wasMy father was an evil man.

In the home in Joppa you were up at half past five in the morning. You didnae did not get anything to eat right away and I had to put on an apron and a scarf round my head and then I had to scrub the wooden floors. We got a breakfast after that. When we went outside I had to wear a green blazer and striped frock. On a Sunday when I came back from the chapel I got cereal and a cup of tea and some Highland toffee, then I was put to bed. This was in the afternoon. That was me till the next morning. Every child was treated the same. Me and this lassieGirl Sheila who lived in the home as well, used to go aboot the githerabout together. One day she said “we are gonnagoing too run away the day”. We went to mamy sister's at Rossie Place in Musselburgh. I rapped at her door and she got the shock of her life because ma faithermy father and that hoosekeeperHousekeeper, Jenny, said I was in the land army. Mary only had a room and kitchen but she said we could stay. She went to ma faithermy father and asked why he told her lies. He denied it all. Mary had three children and the house was just too small and anyway now that my dad knew where to get me we all moved to Orpington in Kent. I got a job in Queen Mary's hospital as a cleaner. A lot of the workers couldnae could not make ootout what I wiswas saying because of my Scotch accent. They liked the Scotch though. Ma palMy friend Sheila who ran away wiwith me moved to Newcastle I think. I was about seventeen or eighteen when I moved to Orpington. All that experience still sticks in my mind. I will never forget it.

I came up for mamy brother's wedding in Dalkeith. MaMy dad and that woman were dead by that time and that’s where I met my husband Doad. He came over for a dance and I told him that I was going back doon to Kent. He says 'What are you going doon there for, you dinnae did not have to. I will get you a place here, now geisGive me a dance”. So I never went back to Kent. I stayed at Rosie Pretzil's that night. Doad widwould play cards wi'with Rosie, her man Peter and Gordon Boyd. Doad proposed that night. Rosie asked if I could stay and watch William and the twins 'cause her man worked away fifrom hame. So when Rosie went to see Peter I would watch the bairnsYoung Children. Doad then got me a job, through his sister, at Liberton Laundry. Ah wisnaewas not there long.

Cowboys and cowgirls theme night

One time when we were winchin'To court, to keep company with one of the opposite sex. I went up to his mother's hoose. His bed had naeno sheets or pillow slips and the mattress was black. I think Doad was gled to get married. He used to say when I changed the bed “oh Betty this is great”.

Archie, Arthur and Tucker lived next door to Rosie. So Doad and I stayed there. We were married at the time and I basically looked after them. We had our own room. Arthur Milne was a big giant and used to work with the coal motors and Archie had a weeSmall stump for an arm. A never asked what happened. He worked in the snooker place in Dalkeith and he was always hiding the rubbing board. He used to go aboot singin' all the time.

Doad and I got a hoosehouse in Butlerfield in Nittenshort name for Newtongrange. We had naeno toilets and the boiler hoose wis oot house was out side. I had to boil the bairn'sYoung Children nappies ootout side. Doad worked in the LadyLady Victoria Mine. We then got a hoosehouse in Birkenside. It wiswas lovely. The floors were done wi'with black tiles right through the hoosehouse. We had everything. It was luxury. But Doad dinnae did not like being up in Birkenside so we got a hoosehouse in Fourth Street.

We have three boys and three girls; Silvia, Brian, Davy, Libby, Irene and Stuart. Stuart was conceived even after I was sterilised.

Doad and I used to go to the Deana public house in Newtongrange. That wis oorwas our night. We would sit wi'with Big Archie an a woman fifrom Ninth street and play cards and have a drink. My daughter Libby used to sing like a linty sing like a songbird every Saturday up there as well.

Having a good partyWe would go campin' 'cause there wisnaewas not much money they days. We went to the Granites in Doad's weeSmall Skoda. We had all the tents, blankets, sheets everything in that car. One time there was a horse standin’ over the fence and it had sair sorelegs. The laddies.Boys male siblings who were wearing short trousers went right up to it and ah said to Doad to get them away 'cause the horse might have germs. Anyhow, Doad an me had a stand up fight so I got Mrs Broon's laddie.Boys male siblings to take us hamehome . I said “you can daedo what you like but that horse is no breathin' owerover my bloody bairnsYoung Children”.

Doad wis a gidwas a good man though. He was 65 years old when he died. He used to say “Betty am goin” and I widwould say “well you'll need to take me wi yaewith you” and he would say “yae cannae you can not go where am goin'I am going”. So he knew and he never said. When yeryour partner goes you feel you've naeno life left. If it wisnaewas not for my family I couldnae could not keep goin'. They are in every day and on the phone every day and now I’ve got ma weemy samll club in Woodburn. I get a laugh there.

 

Elizabeth

Back to top 

information for screen reader users or keyboard users.To return to navigation please press F5 key

Adapted by Iain Tait