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Born: Nina McGhie 1925 Bridgeton, Glasgow

I lived in Dalmarnock Road, Bridgeton in Glasgow. It was a single end with one room. We slept, ate, did everything in it. I was an only child. My dad was a boiler maker but during the depression he was idle. I remember one time he went to get his dole money, and they gave him sixpence. He threw it back at them. He ended up repairing the tram cars till he retired. My mum was in charge of an office during and after the war. She was about seventy before she retired. My dad was easy going, but my mother was a bit of a tartersomeone who is a bit sour. She was the boss. The family including aunties and uncles used to get together. We went a picnic this day, and during the meal I said to mamy dad: ‘Daddy would you please pass the fucking sugar’. Well mamy mother's face wiswas scarlet. She shouted ‘Nina where did you hear that word’. I didn’t realize I did anything wrong! I was four at the time.

Playing at being a mummyI didnae did not like the school atawat all. The teacher said to my mother that I had got it in for her, and if she does not like the subject she doesn’t even try. I loved science and history. I loathed maths but I liked compositions and making up stories. I used to play in the street cause there were no motors then, just horses and carts. We played rounders and statues and things. Statues was when somebody shouted stop and you had to stand like a statue. I remember one time when my uncle got married, and the reception was in this big hall. I was about 11 at the time and I went noseienlooking about about and went down these stairs, when I met a waiter coming up them. I ran away back up the stair. Later on in the evening they were serving ice cream and whoever had made the ice cream had put salt in it instead of sugar. I was terrified in case that waiter thought I had put the salt in ‘cause I shouldnaeshould not have been on they stairs. My parents came from big families, so I enjoyed being an only child.On holiday with my parents I got spoiled rotten. I had an aunt who was five years older than me. They used to dress the two of us the same and when she out grew hers I got them. I felt I was always wearing the same outfits.

Strathaven During the warThe war broke out in September 1939, I was 13 then. My grannie lived in StrathavenPronounced: Straven, and I got evacuated out to stay with her. I went to the high school in StrathavenPronounced: Straven and a teacher there used to call us the refugees. I didnae did not like that at all. I wanted back to mamy mother. I came back home after six months. Some children went to strangers. I widnaewould not have fancied that. I joined the WREN's when I was seventeen. I was an officer steward, serving the officers with their meals. I was stationed in Gosport. The army, navy and air force were combined there. We lived in a beautiful big house. I met a bloke, Alec Jackson. He got called Jacko. I went wiwith him for a while but it frittered ootout. I went with a soldier in the tank core. His name was Glyn Jones, he was Welsh. He was sent to Africa, and that was that. I remember the doodle bugs The Fieseler Fi 103, better known as the V-1 and Buzz Bomb, also colloquially known in Britain as the Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile. and we were sitten this day and we heard this noise and then it stopped. It went right passed the room window, quietly for about a mile down to where the ferry was, and it blew up. That was close. Civilians and servicemen were killed. The sirens used to go as often and we went down to the basement in this house. We would get fed up sitting there so we used to go up the back stairs into our rooms. We wouldnae do the same with our boyfriends, but we did have a wee winchsmall To court, to keep company with one of the opposite sex. outside the house. I was there till the end of the war. John and me happy togetherBefore I was stationed in Gosport I was sent to Inverness Cameron Barracks. There were combined ops again. A good mixture of men, Canadians as well. Most of these men were killed on D-Day. I was in Gosport on D-Day and we were all confined to barracks. We had a good idea what was happening but nobody would say.

I met John, my husband in the drama club in 1946. I had been in the drama club since I was 13. I wanted to be an actress but it never went any further than that. I hadnae did not have the guts to go and try. I went twice a week to the cinema. My mother used to take me. She was always at the cinema, and that's where it started wiwith me. Anyhow, I met John at the drama club. He was four years older than me. I used to meet him at the Palais as well. I went there twice a week taeto. He lived quite near it and we used to walk home together. John was an engineer then and I worked in the co-op offices. We got married in 1948 in the parish church in Bridgeton. We stayed with my mother for about a year, then we got our own house up the next close from mamy mother. You didnae did not go far these days. My mamother and dadad had moved by that time to Mill Street. It had a room and kitchen. Me and John's house had two rooms and a kitchen, and an inside toilet. Smashin, your ainown toilet! We felt like toffs. Janice Wilma, my only daughter, was born about a year after. My mother was Janet and my father was William so I called her Janice Wilma. John and I were together for 51 years. He was a selfish bastard but dinnae do not put that in. I shoulda left him long ago but yae didnae dae did not do that, no then. You stuck it out.Aw wis fair bonnie I was 72 when he died. Life was great after. I was released. I widnaewould not see a man in mamy road now.

Janice, like me, was spoiled by everybody. Before Janice was born I took preeclampsia Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy . You get high blood pressure, and the baby gets agitated. She went upside down so they used the clamps, and she came out bum first. I didnae did not want any more after that. I used the cap a method of contraception but it wasn't very romantic. It was too much effort for him to wear a condom a method of contraception .

John and I continued to go to the drama club but once the TV came all these clubs folded up. When Janice was about 2 years old I went back to work at the co-op. The man who took over the manager’s job did not believe in married women working, so he sacked all us married women. He was a bachelor and a bastard. So then I got a job in Sellyns, they sold clothes. It was the first place you could pay things up. They were Jewish. I ended up in charge of the office, and I was there for about 20 years. It had branches all over Glasgow. I was 58 then and I just decided I had worked long enough so I retired. I became a lady of leisure, John retired when he was 62. I used to sit in the living room watching the telly, and he would sit in the kitchen watching his telly. Happy families. I just ditheredcarry on living in aconfused state of mind on. The aunt that was more like a sister was my friend. She knew John through and through cause I used to tell her everything. The three of us used to go on holiday, that made it bearable. We went a lot to Benidorm, up north and Jersey.

Content with lifeStill got a spark in my eye A party what more can you ask for

 

I moved to Dalkeith four years ago. My daughter lives here, and I didnae did not have anybody left in Glasgow. This is the happiest time in my life, here in my own weesmall house. I can just do what I want with nobody to bother me. I quite enjoy my own company. I go to a couple of clubs and out with my daughter and her husband Mike

I am content.

 

Nina

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Adapted by Iain Tait