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Born: Janet Spence Hope 1924 Scott's Close, Dalkeith

Bob and me we look good togetherIt was a tenement and we were on the top, three flights up. Our neighbours were Mrs Gibson, Mrs Quinn, Alex Cummins and Robbie Duff. All the families used the one toilet and we all took turns to clean it. It got very smelly. We had a room and kitchen. The laddies.Boys male siblings were at one side and we were at the other. There was Tommy, Bob, Jess, Agnes, me and John. MaMy dad worked at Newtongrange pit. Tommy Hope was his name. MaMy mother lot coming in. Our bath was moveable and we used to put it in the middle of the floor. There were big families in the Close. That oneBob and me getting married with the best man and maid of honour toilet could get very busy. Often, in they days, there wurniewas not a toilet roll and we used newspapers. You took your own newspaper. I went to the Burgh school in Dalkeith. Annie McRitchie and Nan Hope were mamy best pals. I was always very honest. MaMy mother didnae did not have much money but one day she gave me a halfpenny. MaMy sister Agnes said, “What's that you've got behind yeryour back”. So I told her and Agnes widnaewould not go to school. Her teacher Paddy Haston sent for me and asked me why Agnes was not at school so I told her the truth and the rest of the class laughed. I widnaewould not tell a lie. When I got home Agnes asked if Paddy Haston asked what was wrong and I told her the truth. She wisnaewas not happy.

Una and me a wis a proud mumI wisnae fair daftwas not that keen on school but a went. I did an early morning milk run. So did Agnes. We worked for McColl's. You never seen many folk on the go at that time. Yae didnae You did not get much money though, oh no. Then I would rush back for school. Agnes and Jess worked the potato fields as well. Agnes always stuck up for me cause of mamy quiet nature. For holidays, we used to go to Haine, Innerleithen with mamy Aunty Jess Aitken. She was burnt as a childand could not use one of her hands. But she crocheted and knitted lovely things. She was a gidgood person. She went to Wesley Hall regular. At Innerleithen we stayed with the Johnstons. They used to stay with us and we used to stay with them. That wiz yerwas your holiday.

oor wedding anniversaryI was 14 when I left school. That wiz yerwas your time of leaving. I got a job in the Little Wonder. It was a drapery in the High Street in Dalkeith. It was another family called the Johnstons that owned it. Then I worked in the pawnbrokers. The Johnston's owned that as well. I saw a few things then wiwith the folk that used the shop and I never came over it. I never telt mamy mother cause ye wurnaeye were not supposed to. It was their business. They needed the money. They would hand in jackets or coats for money and when they came back they had to pay interest on it. I then went to work in the black lead factory, where the auld carpet factory Widnell & Stewart was. That was during the war. I was made to go. Jean Orr fifrom Newtongrange worked there too.

Bob, me and fearless SamathaI knew Bob mamy husband when I was 14. Bob stayed in South Street in Dalkeith. When I worked in the pawn shop Bob would go for an early train into Edinburgh and we would pass each other in the morning. We just had eye contact. Bob went aboot wi maabout with my cousin Willie Hope and he asked Willie if I would go out with him. Bob wizwas a quiet nature and he didnae did not like doing it himself. We started dating when we were fifteen. Bob was called up when he was 18 and a half. Bob is a day older than me. He was three years in India and 6 months in Sri Lanka. I was still in the pawnshop but you just got on with your life. There were a lot of soldiers gawngoing aboot in the street. They were billeted to Lawson's shop in the High Street. There were Poles, Czechs, and English. I still went to the dancing wi' Nan mawith Nan my cousin. There wizwas more women at the dancing but the soldiers would come along as well. There wurnae onniewere not any there that I was interested in. Bob wrote to Willie Hope to ask me to write to him in India. I wisnaewas not pushy enough to do it. That was amazing 'cause Bob was quiet as well. So we started writing after that. Bob came hame wihome with Alec Laurie and Davy Peacock and arrived at 4.30 in the morning. I stayed in mamy bed. I met him later that day. I was fair pleased and happy. I thought he was still handsome. He never wizwas anything else. We got married on the 23rd September 1947. We had our reception in the Unicorn in Dalkeith. Our honeymoon was spent in a caravan at Oxen just up the road. We stayed with mamy mother. She had a four apartment in Woodburn Drive. Mrs Watson was below us and Bessie Pryde was next door. MaMy mother kept hens in the back garden. She had a lot oh patience mamy mother and had an easy gawngoing nature. She was always making soup. Bob got a job in the brick works and I was still working for the Johnston's. They stayed in 4 Glenesk Crescent. Mr Johnston became a councillor. He was a good boss.

Oor son winning the fitba trophyUna our daughter was born on17th September 1948 in the Drive. Nurse Smith delivered her. The queen was married the same year as us and she had Charles the same year as our first as well. Bob and I received a 60th anniversary card from the Queen last year. It sits on top of the unit. David was 4 years later on the 10th June 1952. Our first house was in the prefabsPrefabricated homes, popular after the second world war.. No.1 Woodburn Loan. Mrs Watt lived in Primrose Crescent. I was rushed into Simpson's Hospital 'cause my blood pressure was really high. But everything turned out well.

At the hotel in EyemouthWe used to go to Eyemouth for our holidays and stayed in caravans. They didnae did not have toilets in them then either. We loved it though. MaMy niece’s husband used to drive us down. Before one of the holidays, one morning I woke up and my nose was bleeding. I dreamt that Rob mamy youngest had fallen into water and I was quite distressed. When we went to Eyemouth, we had been there few days and we were all in the amusements and then I noticed Rob was not there. We all dived out and we saw him hanging onto the railings with the deep water down below. We just grabbed him. We don't know if it was a premonition but we were thankful.

Aw the family the togetherWe have three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. We love them to bits. Samantha our great-grandchild is wonderful. She is just fearless. She is only two and she jumps on the trampoline and she climbs the shoot the wrong way.

Bob and I have had a very good life together. We are really awfy weelvery well off with the love we have got. As the years go in it gets better and better.

 

 

 

Janet

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Adapted by Iain Tait