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 Peggy D’Arcy  1929 - 2007 Canongate, Edinburgh

John and me, he was a richt scallywagI was born at my granny’s house at World’s End close. Granny delivered all her grandchildren. I was put in the bottom drawer of the sideboard for the first week then went back to my mum’s house at Dunbar Close (no such things as cradles for us). The house was a single-end with a bed recess. There were five of us altogether, which was considered small in those days. Cooking, sleeping and washing was all done in the one room.

My grandad was a carter a person that loads merchandise onto a horse drawn cart and delivers product (horse and cart man) and my dad a monumental mason. I went to St. Anne’s school at the Cowgate. Me and my pals used to play in the close next to the poppy factory where disabled soldiers made wreaths, crosses, poppies etc. We would play at peevery beds and skipping. Chicken pox and ‘scabby heeds” was common in my day.

Whit di yi mean awd scare aw the bairnsI was 10 years old when the war broke out. It changed my whole life. My dad went to war and my mum had to go out and work. My sister and I became responsible for our weesmall brother, the cooking, cleaning and ironing.

I left school at 14 to become a furrier (making fur coats). The skins came from Russia, America and Canada. At night I worked at the Roxy picture house as an usherette. I loved the films and used to marvel at people like Carmen Miranda, Betty Grable, Alice Fay, Rita Hayworth. I had a crush on Clark Gable and Ronald Coleman.

The lady in redI met my husband at Dunedin Dance (a right dump). He took my pal home that night but ended up with me. We used to go to the Sheep's Heid at Duddingston for a drink and a sing song when we were courting. We married on December 14th 1951 in St Steven’s Street Stockbridge. I got married in a fur coat. John was miraculous. At night John and the best man took my fur coat to the pawn shop so they could have more drinking money. Mina, my best maid and myself got 2/6 to go to the pictures while they went boozing. I got the coat back six months later.

We moved to a single-end in Stockbridge, then to Granton where we had a three bedroomed house, a kitchen and a bathroom. I thought it was a palace. I have three sons Frank, John and Charles. We were great party folks, especially with the boys. We moved to Woodburn in 1976 and I have enjoyed my weesmall home ever since.

 

Peggy

Sadly Peggy passed away in December 2007

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Adapted by Iain Tait