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Born: Margaret Gallacher  1929 Bellshill

Me and ma maI was the second oldest of four boys and four girls. I was brought up in a single end with only one room and a kitchen. Grandma stayed through the wa'wall. She used to bang on the wa'wall if she wanted somebody. The inside walls were that thin. I went to school at Bellshill. MaMy teacher was an auldold bugger. She taught my dad when he was at school. I remember she used to scratch her head with a pencil. When I got the belt (which was often) she used to catch my wrist with the strap. It didnae did not half sting. When I got home I used to get another belting for getting the belt.

Jim and me on oor wedding dayI was 15 or 16 years old when I moved to 21 Woodburn Street. I had already left school. One of my brothers got a job at Gilmerton pit, but he was killed. He was only 23. We actually moved here to try and keep the brothers out of the pits, but there was no work.

My first job was at McVities & Guest Tea Room on Princes Street. I was paid 22/6 shillingsIn 2005 this would be worth about £41.60p, daylight robbery. I used to go to the Masonic Hall in Dalkeith for the dancing. There were a lot of Polish men around but I didn’t care too much for them. I was 16 when I met Jim in Dalkeith. I didn’t know if I liked him at first. My parents were really strict when I was winchen'To court, to keep company with one of the opposite sex.. I had to be back for a certain time or else. However, we were married when I was nineteen. It was a double wedding. My sister and I married in Buccleuch Church, which was demolished a few years after. We had our reception at the Corn Exchange. We went to Stirling for our honeymoon and stayed with my best friend’s parents, then went back home and lived with Jim’s Granny in Shadepark. I had to have a family first before I got on the housing list. My son Jim was born 10 months later. I got the house I have been in for 46 years. We only had the one child.

Jim, Jim and me aw the githerI worked as an auxiliary nurse for 23 years at the City hospital after leaving McVities & Guest. I enjoyed my work. Every Tuesday I used to meet at a weeSmall club in Woodburn where the Roman Catholic school is now, for a woman’s only group. We drank tea, ate cakes and had a good blethertalk continuously . Sometimes we took the elderly to the Unicorn for their lunch. That disintegrated years ago though. I suppose the Day Club is an extension to that, except I’m the auld yinold one now.

I have been bowling for years. We have a few trophies in our house and I even got to the championship one time. Six years ago I had an aneurysm in the brain. I was at the outdoor bowling when I collapsed and literally died. One of the women gave me the kiss of life. On the operating table I died again. It has completely changed our lives. I can’t play bowls anymore and miss it dreadfully. It’s not just the game, it’s the company. The day club is the only place I go to now. I like it there, you can have a laugh. The staff from the Western General hospital phone me up every year to see how I am progressing. I don’t think they expected me to recover as well as I have done.

Best bib and tucker eventI have the biggest smile Jim and me in the prime of our lives

 

 

 

 

 

I am now in Archview Lodge as I fell and broke the top of my thigh. Walking is very painful and I can’t manage the stairs. Jim comes in everyday and I still go to my weeSmall club.

The highlight of our lives was the birth of our grandson James. Jim and I have been married for 60 years; I suppose that’s another highlight.

 

Margaret

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Adapted by Iain Tait