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Born Alexander Reid 1938 Bell’s Quarry, Livingston

My dad was originally a miner and when the pits closed down, he got a job in security with the whisky bond in Edinburgh. Mum was a domestic for a judge who lived in a farm outside the Quarry. His name was Mr Stevenson. Mum and Dad lived in Bell’s Quarry all their lives. Mum did not have any more children. I went to a regular school where I lived. During my time at school my mum and dad were told that I had Down’s syndrome. They were shocked because it was not obvious. They did not speak to the GP again who told them. There is still a question mark on me having Downs. I was happy at my school though, and I mixed well with my school chums. My parents were very protective of me, and did not let me play with children outside school. There was not much support in those days for me or my parents. They were left to get on with it.

After primary school I went to Mid Calder special needs school. I don't remember much about it though and I left when I was 14 or 15. For a few years I stayed at home with my parents and did not do anything. The medical profession did not know much about learning difficulties then. When I was growing up we went on a lot of day trips, and to relatives in Sutton Coalfield. I have a good memory for remembering places.

We all look glakit


Bowling was a big part of my life. Me and my dad used go every week. We were members of the Polbeth bowling club. I never won any trophies then, but I have quite a lot now. I have won the Pairs Cup for the last 4 years. I get presented with the cup at the annual dance. It’s a good night and I get up to dance as well. Last year I got a special achievement award for taking part in the Special Needs Olympic games in Glasgow. I have two Olympic medals, gold and silver.

My dad died when I was in my forties. My mum did everything for me her whole life. She died when I when I was 52 years old. That’s when I came to Brewland’s Dell in London Road Dalkeith in 1990. Although I settled in very quickly, I was in for a shock, because I had to learn to do everything for myself. I learned to dress, wash, and bath, comb my hair, shave, clean my teeth, and put my falsersfalse teeth in the box. You see, my mum did all of that for me and I did not know till I came here that I could do all these things. I even got a job here as a street technician ascaffya refuse collector. Not long after I came to Brewlands I joined a training centre at Wedderburn. They taught me personal skills and road safety. My life is very good here. I have been here for 18 years now. This is my home. I can do the dusting, wash the pots, and set the tables. I go for the papers every morning and sometimes for the bread and milk.

I keep in touch with my family who live in East Calder and Bells Quarry. I go home for a few days every year with my cousin Dick.

Since I retired I am happy, and my life is still very busy. I go to the Woodburn Day Care Club on a Monday. On a Tuesday I go to Rena in Mayfield. Rena is my day carer. I have a day off on Wednesday but sometimes go to the pub for lunch. I like curries. On Thursday I go to the indoor bowling with the people from Cherry Road and I go to the Phoenix Club on Friday. That is a late night and I get home at 10.25pm. On a Sunday I go to Beeslack in Penicuik. I am not a churchy person. My Saturday is another day off so I do what I like. Where I live now, Mary my carer, took me to East Kilbride to pick somebody up. Mary got really lost on the roundabouts. I piped up and told her to go left instead of right. So Mary went left and there was the M8 she was looking for!

I have been lots of holidays since living here. I have been to Portugal twice, Malta three times, and Benidorm twice. I have been to lots of places in Scotland too. I also like Blackpool. I went there a lot with my mum and dad. I don’t like spending money though, I’m very thrifty.



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